Running is a great way to get fit, but adding cross-training exercises can help take your running and overall fitness to the next level. Here are 5 exercises you can easily integrate into your fitness routine to build the strength and stamina you need to run faster and farther. Plus, these strength-building exercises can help aid in injury prevention as well – so you can keep running all year long!
Take a step forward, with one foot in front and the other behind. Lower down, bending both knees to a 90-degree angle. Keep your body centered between your legs, then rise and do it again on the other side. Do 5 on each leg, rest, and repeat.
Place your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down, keeping your back straight and your chest and shoulders up with your butt behind you – like you’re sitting down into a low chair. Aim for 10 reps, rest and then repeat.
Add a little pep to your squat and get your heart rate up by jumping your squats. This is the same as a squat, but with a jump up – shooting up from your heels and then gently controlling your descent. Keep your focus on a fixed spot to stabilize and maintain your form. Try do do 10, rest, and then repeat.
Your core drives everything, even your running, so try out this core-driven exercise that engages and stabilizes your whole body. Get into a push-up position, making a line from head to toe, with your hands supporting you directly below your shoulders. Engage your core to keep your hips level, and hold, and hold, and hold. Try different variations like side plank, or descend to your forearms, or lift one leg at a time. Try working your way up to 30 seconds, then a minute, then 2!
Build those calves with this simple exercise. Stand on one foot at a time with your other leg lifted with the knee bent and foot slightly flexed. Engage your calves and core for stability (use a wall or railing for balance support if needed) to lift your heel, rocking forward slightly to rise up onto the ball of your foot. Control your descent back down. Try to do about 10 reps on each foot before switching feet.
Start small by doing one or two of these after a shorter run, and then try doing the whole routine on a non-running day. As you build strength, add more reps – making sure to give your muscles a break in between to prevent injury. In no time you’ll be feeling stronger, faster, and fitter!