Unlock Your Running Potential: Top 6 Glute Exercises for Enhanced Performance

Glute Exercise

Are you ready to turbocharge your running performance, prevent those pesky injuries, and maybe even turn a few heads in those favorite jeans of yours?

Well, you’re in the right place, and we’re about to embark on a glute-powered journey that’ll have you sprinting, striding, and conquering the trails like never before.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why all the fuss about glutes?” Let me tell you, these powerhouse muscles are your secret weapon in the world of running. They’re not just your body’s natural shock absorbers; they’re the engines that propel you forward with every stride.

So, if you’re serious about taking your running game to the next level, it’s time to give those glutes the attention they deserve.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, I’ve got a glute-focused workout routine that’s about to become your new best friend. And guess what? You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get started.

But before we dive into this glute-tastic routine, let’s explore why these muscles are the real MVPs of your running journey and how neglecting them can lead to some unwanted setbacks.

The Glute Muscles Explained

The two most important muscles that make up the glutes include:

Gluteus Maximus:

Think of this as the Captain America of your glute team—the big kahuna. It’s all about hip extension, which is crucial for that powerful forward drive while you’re clocking in those miles. Ever wondered how you surge ahead with each stride? Thank your Gluteus Maximus!

Gluteus Medius:

Now, this muscle might be smaller, but it’s just as essential. It’s perched right at the top of your glutes and takes care of hip abduction—basically moving your leg out to the side. Plus, it’s responsible for the subtle tilting of your pelvis. It’s like your body’s own steering system.

The Road To Trouble

Studies have shown that if your glutes aren’t up to snuff, you could be cruising for a running-related bruising. We’re talking about the whole host of injuries that might come knocking at your door:

  • IT Band Syndrome: That pesky IT band can become your arch-nemesis if your glutes aren’t pulling their weight. It’s like a tug-of-war, and your IT band could win, leaving you sidelined.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: The Achilles tendon is like a rope connecting your calf muscle to your heel. If your glutes aren’t helping maintain proper form, this rope can fray, leading to discomfort and pain.
  • Shin Splints: Those sharp pains shooting down your shins? Yup, the glutes can play a role here too. Weak glutes can contribute to improper mechanics and the dreaded shin splints.
  • Knee Pain: Runner’s knee is a pain that many runners know all too well. When your glutes aren’t doing their job, your knees might take the brunt of the force.
  • Back Pain: Even your lower back isn’t safe from the consequences of glute neglect. Weak glutes can lead to poor posture and put extra strain on your lower back.

Glute Workout For Runners

Alright, it’s time to fire up those glutes!

No need for fancy gym equipment or complicated routines. I’ve got your back with these bodyweight glute-strengthening exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere.

Here’s the game plan:

  • Exercise Selection: We’ve got six fantastic exercises coming your way. Choose your favorites or tackle them all—it’s your call!
  • Sets and Reps: Aim for two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each exercise. Don’t worry; you’ve got this!
  • Frequency: If your glutes have been taking a siesta for the past few years, no worries. Start slow and steady. Aim to complete this glute workout two to three times per week.

Now, let’s meet your glute-busting squad.

Glute Exercises For Runners – 1: Bridge

If you want to unlock the secret to powerful running, your Gluteus Maximus should be your best friend. The bridge is your ticket to a stronger butt, and as a runner, that’s a game-changer.

Muscles Engaged:

  • Gluteus Maximus: The star of the show, responsible for hip extension and driving your legs forward while you run.
  • Rectus Abdominis: Your core is engaged to stabilize your body.
  • Hamstrings: These guys help lift your hips.
  • Hips: The hip joint plays a crucial role in this move.

Proper Form:

Get Comfy: Start by lying flat on your back. Your hands should be resting by your sides, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, and your knees bent.

Lift Off: Imagine pushing through your heels to lift your hips off the ground. Keep your back straight throughout this exercise.

Stay in Line: Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. No sagging or bending!

Squeeze Tight: Engage those glutes and tighten up your abs like you’re bracing for a surprise. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a full minute. Feel the burn!

Slowly Return: Ease back down to your starting position. Don’t rush it; control is key.

Glute Exercises For Runners – 2: Single-Leg Elevated Glute Bridge

The Single-Leg Elevated Glute Bridge is your golden ticket to stronger, more powerful running. It’s not just about your glutes; your hamstrings and core are in on the action, too!

Muscles Engaged:

  • Glutes: They’re the stars of the show, firing up to the max!
  • Hamstrings: These guys join the party, helping you lift your hips.
  • Core: Your core is engaged to keep you balanced and stable.

Proper Form:

  • Get Set: Assume the bridge pose with your feet flat on the floor. Engage that core!
  • Extend and Elevate: Now, here’s the fun part. Lift your right leg straight up toward the ceiling while keeping your thigh in line with your hips.
  • Reach for the Stars: Imagine you’re reaching for the stars with your extended leg. Drive through your heel and lift that butt off the floor. Go as high as you can!
  • Hold On: Hang in there for 5 to 10 seconds. Feel the burn as those glutes work their magic.
  • Switcheroo: Gently bring your leg back down and switch sides. Left leg, you’re up!

Glute Exercise For Runners – 3: Glute Kickback

The Glute Kickback exercise is your ticket to sculpted glutes, powerful hamstrings, and sturdy upper legs. Get ready to kick it like a pro!

Muscles Engaged:

  • Glutes: These are your powerhouses, working hard.
  • Hamstrings: They join the party to help extend your leg.
  • Upper Legs: Your legs are in action, creating stability.

Proper Form:

  • Get in Position: Start by gethttps://youtu.be/26qmCoP8IyAting on all fours with your back parallel to the ground. Make sure your hips are lined up over your knees and your hands are directly under your shoulders.
  • Get Ready to Thrust: As you take a deep breath in, it’s time to thrust your right foot backward like you’re giving a mighty kick, just like a horse in full stride.
  • Flex Those Glutes: Here’s the trick – flex your glutes at the peak of the kick for a quick one-count. Feel the burn!
  • Almost There: Bring your knee almost all the way down to the floor. You’re not touching the ground; this is all about control and balance.
  • Repeat and Switch: Go for eight to ten reps on one side, then lower your knee back to the starting position. Now, switch sides! Left leg, it’s your turn to kick up some heat.

Glute Exercises For Runners – 4: Step-up with Knee Raise

Looking to boost your core, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads? The Step-Up with Knee Raise is the exercise that’s got it all!

Muscles Engaged:

  • Abs: Your core muscles are working hard to maintain stability.
  • Hip Flexors: They’re essential for lifting your knee.
  • Glutes: Providing power for the step-up.
  • Hamstrings: These join the action for knee flexion.
  • Quads: They’re engaged during the entire movement.

Proper Form:

  • Position Yourself: Stand upright, facing a bench or box of challenging but appropriate height. This will be your stepping platform.
  • Step Up: Begin by stepping up onto the box with your right foot. Your knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle when your foot is on the box. As you straighten your right leg, you’ll rise to a standing position.
  • Balancing Act: Now, here comes the fun part! While you’re standing on the box, balance on your right leg and flex your left knee, raising it as high as you can in a controlled and deliberate manner.
  • Hold It: Pause for a brief moment at the peak of the knee raise. Balance and control are key here.
  • Return Gracefully: Slowly and steadily lower your left foot back to the ground, returning to the starting position. Now, you’re ready for the next repetition!

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Glute Exercises For Runners – 5: Side-Lying Leg Lift

Are you looking to target your gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and abductor muscles? The Side-Lying Leg Lift is your secret weapon for sculpting and strengthening these crucial areas!

Muscles Engaged:

  • Gluteus Medius & Minimus: These are the stars of the show, helping you lift that leg with control.
  • Abductors: These muscles work alongside your glutes to move your leg away from the midline of your body.

Proper Form:

  • Get in Position: Start by lying on your right side with your legs fully extended and perfectly aligned. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Engage the Core: Brace your core to maintain stability throughout the exercise.
  • Lift Off: Now, it’s time to lift your left leg. Keep it straight as you raise it upward toward the ceiling. Focus on using your glute muscles to perform this movement. Imagine lifting your leg against gentle resistance.
  • Pause and Feel the Burn: At the top of the movement, pause for a brief moment. You should feel a nice contraction in your glutes and abductors.
  • Lower Gracefully: Slowly lower your leg back down to its starting position.
  • Repeat with Control: Perform the desired number of repetitions on one side before switching to the other. Remember, quality over quantity is key here.

Glute Exercises For Runners – 6: Band Walks

Ready to strengthen those glutes and hip abductors while having a little fun with resistance bands? It’s time to get into Band Walks, an exercise that can take your lower body workout to the next level!

Muscles Engaged:

  • Glutes: Your glute muscles will be working overtime in this exercise.
  • Hip Abductors: These muscles are essential for moving your leg away from your body’s midline.

Proper Form:

  • Gear Up: Get yourself a resistance band and wrap it around your legs, just above your ankles. Make sure it’s secure but not too tight.
  • Find Your Stance: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You should feel a little resistance from the band even in this starting position
  • Engage the Core: Brace your core muscles. This will help you maintain balance and stability throughout the exercise.
  • Start Stepping: Begin by slightly bending your knees and shifting your weight onto your right leg.
  • Step Wide: Take a wide step sideways to the left with your left foot. The resistance from the band will make you want to pull your legs together, but resist it!
  • Alternate Steps: After stepping left, bring your right foot in to meet the left. This is where the magic happens! Your glutes and hip abductors are working hard to keep those legs apart.
  • Keep Moving: Continue this side-to-side motion, stepping ten times to the left and then ten times to the right.
  • Sets and Reps: Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions in each set. Complete three sets in total, and your glutes will thank you!

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

Glute Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it. This post covers some of the best glute exercises for runners. Now, it’s up to you to put them into action. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

David D.

Run Hard, Recover Harder: The Ultimate Blueprint for Runner’s Recovery

running recovery

Are you feeling sore, tired, and completely drained after your daily run? Then know you’re not alone.

Running can take a toll on both your body and mind. Fortunately, proper recovery after running is the key to achieving peak performance and avoiding potential injuries.

But it’s more than just resting or taking a break. It involves a series of actions that help your body and mind heal and rebuild after an intense workout. Studies have shown that proper recovery not only helps prevent injuries but it can also improve overall performance and endurance.

In this post, we’ll discuss the best post-running recovery tips to help you bounce back and avoid burnout. From nutrition and hydration to stretching and foam rolling, I’ve got you covered. Get ready to recover like a pro!

Post Running Recovery Defined

I hate to break it to you but recovery isn’t just sitting on the couch and binge-watching your favorite show (although that can be a part of it!). Recovery is about restoring your body to its natural state. This, in turn, occurs, by repairing any damage done during training and preparing your body for the next run.

In fact, study out of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that performing active active, light jogging for example or walking, after a hard session was more effective at soothing muscles soreness than sitting on the couch the whole day.

This means that simply resting on the couch isn’t enough. You need to be proactive in your recovery efforts.

So what exactly does proper recovery entail? It’s all about the 3 R’s: repairing, resting, and replenishing. Repairing your muscles and tissues, resting your mind and body, and replenishing your energy stores.

Let me discuss these in detail.

  1. Your Muscles Need Rest

Recovery is essential for repairing and rebuilding the micro-tears in your muscles that occur during running. These micro-tears are a good thing, as they’re what make you stronger, faster, and fitter. But without proper recovery, they can easily turn into painful injuries that can derail your training and send you to the sidelines.

  1. Avoid Overtraining

I love the energy burst I get from a challenging session, but more running does not always mean more energy.

I learned this the hard way.

The danger of overtraining cannot be overstated.

It causes a drastic drop in performance despite (actually because of) increased intensity and volume of training.

A planned once-a-week recovery day may be all you need to prevent an overtraining episode since it gives your body a chance to rejuvenate.

Err on the side of caution and make sure you’re listening to your body.

If you feel so sore that you dread sitting down, you need to dial it down.

Take as much rest as needed.

If you second guess the message your body is sending, you’ll end up hurt and discouraged.

  1. Prevents Overuse Injury

Running puts your muscles, joints, ligaments, and soft tissues under an immense load, and sooner or later, something is going to snap if you don’t take care of your body.

So what happens when you don’t take enough recovery? That’s when your body starts to break down in the form of overuse injuries such as stress fractures and Achilles Tendonitis.

You don’t want that.

Rest is crucial in protecting against all sorts of overuse injuries.

These are runners’ worst enemies and can put you out of commission for weeks, even months.

Post Run Recovery – How to Recover From Running

By now you should be sold on the importance of post running recovery. To help you get your things in order, here are ten practical strategies you can follow:

Running Recovery Rule – 1. Cool-down properly

One of the essential rules for running recovery is the cool-down, which is often neglected by many runners.

Think of the cool-down as the graceful finale of your running performance. It marks the transition from running to stretching and other post-run activities, and it’s a must-do for all runners. In fact, research shows that the cool-down window is critical and can significantly speed up or put a halt to your run recovery rate.

Skipping the cool-down is a big no-no. Stopping on the spot increases the risk of blood pooling and may cause your blood pressure to drop. This, in turn, may leave you feeling dizzy and disoriented.

Proper cool-down, on the other hand, efficiently transitions blood from the working muscles to the rest of the body, helping you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Not cooling down after a run can also put you at risk of injury and other problems. By stopping on the spot, your muscles are still in a contracted state, and suddenly halting can lead to cramping, soreness, and other issues. To avoid these problems, it’s essential to take the time to cool down properly before shifting from running to “normal life.”

So, how do you cool down after a run? It’s simple, really. First, slow it down to an easy jog around 5 minutes. This helps regulate your breathing and heart rate, and it’s also a great time to reflect on your run, celebrate your achievements, and learn from your challenges.

Next, walk slowly for three to five minutes. You should be also breathing deep and scanning your body from head to toe to make sure that everything is back to normal.

Running Recovery Rule – 2. Hydration

Let’s start by acknowledging that when you run, you sweat, and sweat like a lot. It’s a natural process that helps regulate your core temperature, but it also depletes your body of fluids and essential electrolytes.

This is where post-run hydration comes in.

Why is hydration so critical for recovery? For starters, water helps transfer nutrients and electrolytes throughout your body. Without enough of it, the delivery of nutrients to your muscles slows down, hindering recovery and even leading to injuries.

What’s more? Enough water intake aids in protein synthesis. This is the process by which your muscles repair and rebuild themselves. Studies have shown that dehydration can delay this process and even cause muscle breakdown. Yikes!

So how much is enough?

That’s a tricky question because it depends on factors such as your training intensity, sweat rate, and personal preferences.

But, overall, I’d recommend aiming for about half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.

To make sure you’re having enough, drink water through the day. You should also time your intake before, during and after your training. Research has shown that hydrating right after a workout can significantly speed up your heart rate recovery.

Additional resource – Can Running Help Cure a Hangover?

Running Recovery Rule – 3. Ice Baths

Ice bathe are used by elites athletes to reduce inflammation, flush out lactic acid, and kick-start the recovery process. But what’s the mechanism behind them?

Let me explain.

When you run, your muscles are working overtime, producing waste and breaking down fibers in the process. Ice baths help to reverse this damage by constricting your blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and allowing your muscles to heal and recover more quickly.

Research supports this. One study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that runners who took ice baths after their workouts reported significantly less muscle soreness than those who did not.

Of course, getting into an ice bath can be a shock to the system. To avoid the pain and discomfort that comes with the territory, it’s important to ease your way in slowly. Start by submerging your lower body in cool water, then gradually add ice until the temperature reaches around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Stay in the water for no more than 10-15 minutes. Keep your mind under control by focusing on something else other than the cold.

Not ready for a full-body ice bath? Then try applying ice packs to sore or achy areas, such as your knees, calves, or quads.

Running Recovery Rule – 4. Rest (Active Recovery)

Proper recovery is the key to unlocking your full potential as a runner. It’s the difference between being sidelined with an injury and achieving your personal best. Think of it as the fuel that powers your running machine. Without it, your engine will quickly burn out.

Research has shown that rest is essential for the body’s natural repair processes to occur. By allowing your muscles to rest, you’re giving them the opportunity to heal and recover. And when your muscles are properly rested, they’re able to perform better the next time you hit the pavement.

But rest doesn’t have to mean being a couch potato. In fact, active recovery is the way to go. This means performing relatively easy exercise that stimulates blood flow to your muscles without inducing additional stress on your body.

You could perform active recovery by going for an easy bike ride, a leisurely swim, or even a light jog. But if you really want to rejuvenate your mind, then join a yoga class.

Running Recovery Rule – 5. Eat for Recovery

Post-workout period is one of the most critical windows for nutrient absorption, and the choices you make during this time can make or break your recovery rate.

Think of your body as a high-performance sports car, and your post-run meal as the high-octane fuel that keeps your engine humming. During the recovery window, your body is like a sponge, primed to absorb nutrients that can help restore muscle glycogen and repair muscle tissue. But not all calories are created equal. If you skip post-run eating or opt for junk food, you’ll do more harm than good.

So, what should you be eating? The two big players are carbohydrates and proteins, which are the main protagonists for maximum recovery. Aim to consume a balanced meal within 30 to 60 minutes of your run, or carry a sports drink or milk-based shake if you don’t have the stomach for a full meal. Shoot for at least one-half gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, depending on your fitness level, training intensity, goals, and personal preferences.

But here’s the catch: not all carbohydrates are created equal, either. Aim for food that scores high on complex carbs, like sweet potatoes, peas, beans, lentils, and brown rice, to replenish your empty energy tanks. Quality protein, like eggs, lean meat, and dairy, provides your body with the building blocks and essential amino acids for the repair process.

If you’re short on time or can’t stomach food after a hard run, consider a sports drink or recovery shake. And if you want to keep things simple and convenient, reach for a glass of chocolate milk. This magical recovery drink is packed with natural sugar and protein, making it the perfect choice for busy runners who want to stock up on their energy stores and speed up the rebuilding process.

Running Heart Rate Zones

Running Recovery Rule- 6. Sleep Tight

Do you want to recover faster from your runs and improve your performance without spending a dime? Look no further than sleep! It’s the cheapest and most underrated recovery tool you have at your disposal. It’s not rocket science; just good old-fashioned sleep.

Proper sleep makes up at least 70 percent of proper recovery, according to performance experts, coaches, and professional athletes. It’s right up there with nutrition as the backbone of a good recovery. So, if you master these two, you’re on your way to proper recovery without worrying about any fancy equipment or expensive recovery tools.

When you’re running, you’re breaking down muscle fibers and draining energy levels. It’s during the non-REM deep sleep stage that your pituitary gland secretes the famous growth hormone, HGH, which promotes growth, cell regeneration, cell reproduction, and other vital bodily functions responsible for restoring bones and muscles.

Research studies have shown that getting enough quality sleep can improve athletic performance in basketball players and college tennis players. For instance, a Stanford research published in SLEEP, conducted at the Stanford University, revealed that maintaining a regular sleep routine of 10 hours for up to five to seven weeks improved athletic performance in basketball players.

Here’s the bad news. When you’re lacking on sleep, you’re limiting your body’s production of the growth hormone, which makes complete recovery tricky. Skimping on sleep also increases the secretion of catabolic hormones, like cortisol, and hinder the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and insulin-like growth factor. That’s why too little sleep can spell disaster for your fitness and overall health status.

What’s more?

Research has linked sleep problems with plenty of health issues such as heart disease, obesity,  chronic fatigue, impaired immune function, low productivity, and mental disorders.

So, what’s the ideal amount of sleep per night you need as a runner?

Again, I don’t have the answer since sleep needs vary widely by individual, depending in large part on activity level, age, environment, genetics, etc.

The fact is, you might even need different amounts of sleep at different stages of your life and through various stages of your training cycle.

So, if you still feel tired in the morning, you probably require more sleep.

But most experts recommend shooting for seven to eight hours during the night time is ideal.

Here are more sleeping tips.

No heavy eating. Avoid consuming high-sugar foods or alcohol and watching TV before hitting the sack. Research shows that this can disrupt our sleep patterns.

Schedule it. Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Sticking to a rigid schedule can help regulate your body’s internal clock, thus making falling asleep and staying so easier.

Make a routine. Set up a sleep routine in which you get ready to hit the sack in the 60 minutes before you go to bed. Make sure that your sleep routine consists of activities that get your body ready to sleep.

Some of these include getting rid of electronics (especially your Smartphone and TV), dimming the lights, meditating, reading fiction, stretching, self-hypnosis, taking a hot shower, and journaling.

Sleep in a cooler environment. Sleep in good temperature that’s roughly 65 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 or 19 degrees Celsius.

Add Naps

Power naps are a must since they can help you with recovery and feeling more energized for the rest of the day—especially after a lunch break run. Study suggests that taking a nap around two hours after a run can help your body access a deeper and more restorative state of sleep.

Even a 20-minute is better than none. Just make sure it does not go over an hour; otherwise, you will feel sluggish afterward and may even find it hard to fall asleep at night.

Running Recovery Rule- 7. Stretching

Studies have shown that runners are more prone to tightness than other athletes. It’s important to address this tightness through a proper stretching routine, especially after a hard run.

Although there is no conclusive evidence that post-workout stretching reduces soreness, from personal experience, stretching does help. Stretching after a run allows for the flushing out of lactic acid from the muscles, reducing stiffness and fatigue the following day. It’s best to stretch during the post-run period when your muscles are warmed up and loose.

A proper stretching routine should last between 10 to 20 minutes. The longer, the better. Focus on stretching your quads, calves, hips, hamstrings, and lower back.

If you have any soreness or a troubled spot in your body, focus on it, stretch it properly, and breathe into it to release the discomfort. Just remember to stay within the limits of pain and not force it, or you risk injuring yourself.

After your stretching routine, take five minutes to do leg drains, also known as legs over the wall or Viparita, in yogic circles. This involves lying next to a wall, bringing your butt to the wall, your knees into your chest, and straightening your legs up onto the wall. Wiggling your butt closer to the wall will give you a better stretch. Doing this will further promote blood flow and help your muscles recover quicker.

Running Recovery Rule – 8. Foam Roll

Foam rolling, oh boy, where do I even begin? It’s like having your own personal masseuse at your disposal, minus the hefty price tag.

I first discovered foam rolling during my P90X DVD program, and it completely changed my post-workout stretching game. I owe a huge shoutout to Tony Horton and the folks who came up with foam rolling because it’s an absolute game-changer.

But why does it matter so much? Well, in my opinion, foam rolling takes traditional stretching to a whole new level. In fact, in some cases, it’s even more powerful than stretching.

When you foam roll, you can alleviate tightness and knots that traditional stretching just can’t seem to reach. And the benefits don’t stop there. According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal, foam rolling can increase tissue repair, enhance mobility, and reduce soreness.

But how exactly does it work? You see, most of that post-run soreness and tenderness happens when your muscles and fascia, which is the connective tissue running throughout your body, become tangled and entwined. With a simple foam rolling routine, you can work out these troubled areas to get rid of those pesky knots and tightness. It’s like using a rolling pin on a ball of dough, kneading out all those pesky kinks.

But let me tell you, foam rolling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It can be a real pain in the butt, especially when you’re working on those troubled areas. You know you’re doing it right when it hurts and challenges you. You’re untangling muscle knots, after all. It’s not supposed to be a comfortable experience but trust me; it’s worth it.

Running Recovery Rule – 9. Limit the pills

Let me tell you, my friend; there’s nothing quite like that post-run soreness. But when the pain gets too much to bear, it’s tempting to reach for the quick fix of Advil or Aleve. But before you do, listen up.

Though these drugs may help soothe your pain, they also have their own downsides. They’re synthetic, man-made creations that can disrupt the delicate balance of your body’s natural healing process. And as a runner, relying too heavily on these drugs can actually hinder your recovery, leaving you feeling worse in the long run.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But I need them to push through the pain and hit my training goals!” I hear you. I really do. As a fellow runner, I know how hard it can be to listen to your body when you’re trying to achieve your next personal record.

Research has shown that NSAIDs can inhibit muscle growth, cause ulcers, and lead to a host of other health problems. And while small doses here and there may not be too harmful, crossing that fine line can lead to serious trouble. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a physician who understands the importance of proper exercise recovery before making them a regular part of your routine.

But don’t worry, my friend. There are other recovery tools out there that can offer the same relief without the negative side effects. Foam rolling, stretching, and rest are all essential components of a healthy recovery plan. And if you can make time for them after every run, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body bounces back.

Of course, I know we all have busy lives, and fitting into a full recovery routine isn’t always feasible. But even if you can only do a few stretches here and there, every little bit helps. Just remember the three essentials: hydration, refueling, and sleep. These are the building blocks of a healthy body, and ignoring them will affect not only your running but your overall quality of life as well.

Recovery For Runners – The Conclusion

I’m well aware that not everyone will have the time needed to perform this routine after every run.

But the more you do it, the faster you are going to recover between your hard runs and workouts.

In my opinion, this is the ideal recovery plan, but feel free to do and apply what you are able to fit in after each run.

But never forget the three essentials: hydration, refueling, and sleep. These are the backbone, and ignoring them not only hurts your running, but life quality as well.

The Secret to Pain-Free Running: Defeating Muscle Imbalances

BCAAs for runners

Have you ever wondered why your legs feel a bit lopsided after all those invigorating runs? You’re in good company.

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just dipping your toes into the running world, I’ve got something crucial to share with you.

Running, that exhilarating cardio adventure, does wonders for your fitness and those extra pounds. It’s like your legs are sculpted by the running gods themselves, right? Well, not quite.

There’s a sneaky culprit lurking in the shadows – muscle imbalances. They’re like the silent villains of the running world, and if left unchecked, they can turn your running paradise into a painful pitfall.

But fret not!

Today, I’m here to spill the beans on these muscle imbalances, understand what makes them tick, and, most importantly, discover how to outsmart them.

So, are you excited to dive into the world of balanced, pain-free running? Then let’s go.

Muscle Imbalances Explained

Muscle imbalances are like the yin and yang of your muscles.

Let me explain more. You’ve got muscles that do the heavy lifting, like the ones responsible for pulling off those impressive pull-ups at the gym. But what if these beefed-up muscles don’t have an equally tough opponent to spar with? That’s where the trouble starts.

Take our pull-up enthusiast, for instance. They’re nailing those upper body pulling exercises day in and day out. But bench presses or push-ups? Nah, it’s not their jam. The result? An upper body that’s like a seesaw, with one end doing all the heavy lifting while the other just chills.

Now, here’s the kicker – it’s not just the weightlifters who need to watch out. If you’re into any sport with repetitive moves, like our beloved running, you’re in the game too. Those marathon miles can be both a blessing and a curse, and the sneaky culprits are these muscular imbalances.

Here’s the deal: These imbalances are like tiny time bombs, ticking away as you hit the trails. They’re the reason you might feel those unnecessary aches and pains, and they can seriously cramp your running style.

The Solution

Alright, now that we’ve called out these muscle imbalances, it’s time to spill the beans on how to set things straight.

Here’s the deal – it might sound like Captain Obvious is in the room, but the best way to tackle these imbalances is by picking exercises that go head-to-head with those weaker muscles.

Let’s dive in.

A Fight of Planes – The Scoop behind the imbalances

Speedwork, hill sprints, and those long, glorious runs do wonders for sculpting your body into a lean, mean running machine. But there’s a catch, and it’s a hefty one. All this running comes at a cost – a rather substantial cost, if I may add.

You see when we lace up our running shoes and hit the pavement, our bodies rely heavily on a select group of muscles to propel us forward. These muscles are like the rockstars of the show, hogging the spotlight while the others play second fiddle in the background.

Enter the sagittal plane, the ruler of the running realm. This is where the action happens, where we move forward and backward like well-oiled machines. But hold on, what about the other two planes – the frontal and transverse? Well, they’re relegated to the sidelines during our running escapades.

And since we’re so fixated on that forward-backward motion, our calves and quads become the muscle MVPs, soaking up all the glory as they power us through. But what about the muscles in charge of the other two planes, like our shins and glutes? They’re left in the dust, growing weaker by the day.

Muscular imbalances can lead to a host of problems, from discomfort and pain to more serious issues like knee pain, muscle strains, Achilles tendonitis, piriformis syndrome, and IT band syndrome.

Problems linked to muscle imbalances

As you continue to rely on those dominant muscles, they start to put immense pressure and stress on various parts of your body.

Joints, ligaments, and even the very muscles you’re working so hard to strengthen become the victims of this one-sided affair.

The consequences? Well, they range from stalled fitness growth to discomfort and outright pain.

And let’s not forget about the more severe outcomes, like overuse injuries that can plague even the most dedicated runners.

We’re talking about the dreaded knee pain, bothersome muscle strains, Achilles tendonitis, the notorious piriformis syndrome, and the ever-persistent IT band syndrome.

It’s like a domino effect – one muscle group’s dominance leads to a breakdown in the harmony of your body’s movements, resulting in these unwelcome guests: pain and injury.

Common Muscle Imbalances in Runners

As you can tell now; muscle imbalances aren’t just an abstract concept. They can have a direct and tangible impact on your running and overall health.

Let’s break it down.

First up, let’s talk about those core muscles. I’m not just talking about washboard abs here; I mean the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, and even your glutes.

When these muscles are weaker than they should be, it’s like having a shaky foundation for a building. Your posture takes a hit, running efficiency goes down the drain, and before you know it, you’re stuck in the land of bad form. This domino effect can even affect your breathing, making it less than optimal, and it’s a one-way ticket to overuse injuries.

But wait, there’s more.

Another red flag is weakness in the hips and glutes.

According to a study conducted at East Carolina University, this kind of weakness is the culprit behind dreaded conditions like runner’s knee, the infamous IT band syndrome, and a whole host of knee-related problems. These issues can be a real game-changer when it comes to your running journey.

Now, what happens when certain muscles are overused, especially the hamstrings? Well, it’s like playing with fire. Overused muscles become susceptible to inflammation, nagging pulls, and chronic tightness – a triple threat that’s always bad for business.

But enough with the theory, right? It’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into some practical training guidelines that will help you address these imbalances head-on.

How to Fix Muscle Imbalance in Legs For Runners

Now it’s time to unravel the power exercises that specifically target the common imbalances that often plague runners. With consistent training, they’ll become your secret weapon for restoring equilibrium in your muscles.

But first, a word on how to integrate these exercises into your routine. Ideally, aim to perform this routine two to three times a week. You can seamlessly incorporate them into your regular strength training regimen or tackle them during your post-run cool-down.

Remember, consistency is key.

And here’s a pro tip: if you suspect that you’re battling some major muscle imbalances, it’s time to go all-in. Dedicate yourself to this routine on your cross-training days diligently until you start noticing those signs of improvement. Your body will thank you, and your running journey will be smoother than ever.

1. Seated Row

Why:

Most runners who do not follow a strict strength routine usually have the upper body strength of a 10-year-old.

The good news is that this exercise helps you develop the upper body strength you need to maintain a good running posture—stopping you from hunching over.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting as tall as you can with a slight arch in the lower back with legs extended.

Sit

Next, inhale and draw the handlebars towards your ribcage without shrugging your shoulders upward or backward.

Focus on “pinching” your shoulder blades together.

Make sure to perform the movement slowly, keep the elbows tucked at the sides, and lift your chest throughout the eccentric portion of the movement.

Release slowly and repeat.

Aim for two to three sets of 10- to 12-rep.

Additional Guide – A leg workout for runners

2. Single Leg Squat

Why:

The Single Leg Squat is one of the best functional exercises that build strength and mobility in the glutes, hips, and core, as well as improving balance and coordination.

It also builds stabilization in the pelvis.

When the pelvis is steady and firm, your entire body, gait, and stride become more balanced, too.

This is especially helpful for runners with foot pronation issues.

Additional Resource – 13 Exercises to improve running

Proper Form

Stand tall with feet hip-width distance apart, then find your center and shift your weight to your right foot.

Next, raise your left foot and balance on your right, then squat down by bending at the knee and sitting your hips back as if you are going to sit on a chair behind you.

If mobility is a big issue, then you can either hold on to a suspended rope or squat down to sit on a bench or a chair behind you.

Avoid bad form at all costs.

Squat down slowly on your supporting leg as much as you can (at least 90 degrees in your knee), then slowly raise yourself up and extend your leg back up to standing.

The key is to focus on balance and good form.

Additional resource – Your guide to Charleys Horse in runners

3. Superman

Why:

For building strength and endurance in the entire lower back—a key component of the core, as well as the transversus abdominis—or the deep abs.

Proper Form

Begin by laying face down with your arms and legs extended out so you look like Superman flying through the air.

Next, lift your left arm with the right leg about five inches off the floor.

Hold for a count of five, then slowly lower down and alternate sides.

Do up to 6 to 8 reps on each side to complete one set.

Aim for two to three sets.

4. Single-Leg Deadlift

Why:

The Single-Leg Deadlift targets the piriformis and the glutes—which are common runners’ fragile spots that can be overwhelmed by stronger quads and hamstrings.

By doing this exercise, you will be building your gluteal muscles and making them strong enough to they can be used when running—especially if you do any hard hill running.

Proper Form

Begin by holding a light dumbbell or a medicine ball for an extra challenge.

Next, balance on your right foot and slightly bend the knee with your left foot behind you and in the air.

While keeping your back straight and shoulders back, hinge forward from the hips and tap the weight on the floor.

To come back to standing, engage the glute and hamstrings of the leg planted on the floor and slowly press up to standing.

Shoot for 8 to 10 reps on each side.

Aim for three sets.

5. One-Legged Bridge

Why:

It’s one of the best core strengthening exercises out there.

This one isolates the underworked muscles in the lower back and can help you build balanced core strength.

It also strengthens and isolates the gluteus muscles—also known as the butt muscles—as well as the hamstrings.

Proper Form

Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees feet on the floor.

Then, raise your hips and back off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to the shoulders.

Next, squeeze your glutes, then slowly raise and extend your right leg while keeping your pelvis raised.

Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.

Release the leg down, and repeat on the other side.

Make sure to contract both lower back and abdominal muscles to hold your pelvis and keep it steady throughout the exercises.

Repeat 4 to 6 times to complete one set.

Do two sets.

6. Walking Lunge with Twist

This lunge variation is an impressive move that strengthens the core and builds lower body strength and balance while improving proprioception.

Proper Form

Begin by holding a medicine ball (or 10- to 25-pound weight plate) in your hands, elbows by the side.

Next, lunge forward until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is almost touching the floor. Then, while contracting the core, rotate your torso to the same side as the front leg.

Lastly, rotate your body back to the center as you press back to a standing position.

7. Toe Raises

Shin’s muscles are a vital muscle group that’s in charge of controlling foot landing.

And when it’s weak, the calves wind up absorbing the bulk of the shock, which can set the stage for shin splints.

The good news is that the toe raises exercise is a simple exercise that can help you build strength in this critical—and often ignored—area.

Proper Form

While using a chair for balance or sitting on it  with the knees bent and feet flat on the ground, slowly lift your toe off the floor as high as you can, then lower them in a controlled and slow manner

That’s one rep.

Do 16 to 20 reps on each leg to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

8. One-arm, One-leg Plank

The core isn’t just your abs.

It’s more than that.

The core usually includes the surface abs, the deep abs, the obliques, and the glutes.

The bad news is that the core isn’t working hard enough when running—expect when sprinting.

The good news is that a simple move like the plank can help you build total core power and strength.

For more challenges, try the one-arm, one-leg core variation below.

It will help you build strength as well as balance and total body endurance.

Proper Form

https://youtu.be/s1TN5d7AdSk

Begin laying face down, then prop yourself up onto your forearms.

Make sure your body is in a straight line from head to toe, core engaged, and back straight.

This is a basic plank position.

Next, if you are looking for more challenge, then reach out with your right arm in front of you while lifting the left leg behind you, hold it for a count of 10, then lower slowly down and switch sides.

Aim for 6 reps on each side to complete one set.

Do two sets.

Plyometrics for Runners: Explosive Workouts for Speed and Power

plyometric exercises

Can I just say how excited I am about plyometrics? It’s like the secret ingredient that takes your training to a whole new level. Trust me, once you experience the benefits, you’ll be hooked. So, let’s dive right into the world of plyometric training, shall we?

I first stumbled upon plyometrics a few years back when I embarked on a P90X program. Little did I know that this discovery would change my entire fitness game. Since then, I’ve made it a non-negotiable part of my workout routine. And let me tell you, the results have been incredible.

But enough about me, let’s talk about YOU. If you’re wondering how to get started with plyometrics, you’ve come to the right place. This article is your ultimate guide to all things plyometric. By the time you finish reading, you’ll not only have a solid understanding of what plyometric training is, but you’ll also have a killer plyo routine in your arsenal.

So, what can you expect from this adventure? Well, we’ll cover everything from the basics of plyometric training to its three fascinating phases. We’ll delve into the specific benefits that plyometrics can bring to your running game. And of course, we’ll discuss the nitty-gritty details like proper form, warming up, and when to add plyometric workouts to your training schedule.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve even prepared a fantastic plyometric routine tailored specifically for runners like you. It’s like a treasure trove of explosive exercises that will have you leaping and bounding with joy.

Now, here’s the deal. If you’re not really into the theory behind plyometrics and just want to jump straight into the training routine, no problemo! Just skip ahead and get ready to sweat it out. We won’t judge.

Other than that are you ready? Let’s get started.

When to Add a Plyometric Workout For Runners

So, when should you add a plyometric workout to your routine? The answer lies in having a solid foundation of cardio and strength. Aim to reach a point where you can comfortably run for half an hour without gasping for breath.

Additionally, ensure that you’ve completed at least eight weeks of bodyweight training, where you’ve built strength and mastered the foundational exercises. Once these milestones are met, you’re ready to introduce plyometric training into the mix.

How to Get Started With Plyometric Exercises

If this is your first foray into the world of plyo, it’s important to start with lower-impact moves and gradually increase both intensity and volume over time.

To begin, devote no more than 5 to 10 minutes for your plyometric circuit, once a week, for the initial couple of months. This cautious approach allows your body to adapt and minimize the risk of injury. It’s also a great idea to incorporate plyometric movements into exercises you’re already familiar with and can perform safely.

For example, if you’re comfortable with lunges, add a jump to the top of the movement, elevating your explosive power. If push-ups are a breeze for you, try incorporating plyo push-ups—adding a jump at the end of each rep.

Remember, form matters! Whether you’re grounded or airborne, maintaining proper form is crucial. Focus on executing each movement with precision and control.

Ready for some beginner-friendly bodyweight plyo exercises? Here are a few to get you started:

  • Burpees: A full-body exercise that combines a squat, plank, and jump. It’s a challenging but rewarding movement to ignite your plyometric journey.
  • Jump tucks: Explosively jump up, bringing your knees towards your chest mid-air. It’s like spring-loaded power unleashed.
  • Jump squats: Begin with a squat and then explode upward, propelling yourself off the ground. It’s a fantastic way to engage your lower body and improve your vertical leap.
  • Split lunges: Perform lunges with a twist by incorporating a jump-switch in mid-air. This dynamic movement works your lower body muscles in a whole new way.

Start with three sets of 10 to 12 reps of each exercise, gradually increasing the number of repetitions and sets as you gain strength and confidence. Listen to your body, take rest days as needed, and don’t be afraid to modify the exercises to suit your current fitness level.

Take Enough Rest

Let’s face it, plyometrics can be demanding on your muscles, bones, joints, and tendons. It’s like putting your body through an intense obstacle course that requires time to recuperate and rebuild.

As a beginner, it’s important to space out your plyometric workouts with ample rest days in between. Aim for a minimum of two to three days of rest, or even more if you feel the need. Trust me, neglecting recovery is a recipe for regret. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way myself.

Imagine your body as a finely tuned machine, and each plyo session as a rigorous test of its capabilities. Just like any machine, it needs time to cool down, recharge, and repair. By giving yourself sufficient rest, you allow your muscles to recover, your bones to strengthen, your joints to regain their flexibility, and your tendons to rebuild their resilience.

So, here’s a practical tip: if you’re already running three times a week, try incorporating one plyometric session into your routine, and reserve the remaining days for total body strength and core training. This way, you’re striking a balance between explosive power development and overall strength enhancement.

When I first started my plyo journey, I vividly remember feeling the soreness that lingered for days after each workout. It was a clear sign that my body needed ample time to adapt and adjust to this new form of training. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay! Everyone’s body responds differently, and it’s important to listen to yours.

In fact, during the initial months of my plyo training, I stuck to just one workout per week. I followed the plyometric DVD workout from P90X, and let me tell you, even with just that one session, I still experienced significant soreness. It was a clear indicator that my body required ample time to adapt, recover, and grow stronger.

Basic Plyo Gear

Keep in mind that you’ll need a few equipment to get the most out of plyometric training.

These include:

When it comes to plyometric training, having the right gear can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at some of the essential equipment you’ll need to maximize your plyo game.

Box Sets

First up, we have the star of the show—the box set, also known as the trusty plyo box. This versatile piece of equipment comes in various platforms of different widths and heights, offering you a range of options to level up your plyometric exercises.

When selecting your plyo box, make sure to choose one with a top and bottom surface that provides enough friction to prevent any unwanted slipping. Safety should always be a priority, so opt for a box with a sturdy steel frame that can absorb some of the impact, reducing the risk of injury. And remember, always keep your plyo box on a level surface to avoid any unexpected accidents.

Master The Basics First

Plyometric training is no joke—it’s high-intensity and can put you at risk of injury if you’re not properly prepared. So, start by honing your skills in fundamental movements such as push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges.

These four exercises lay the foundation for most plyometric moves and will help you build strength and technique. Once you feel confident in these key movements, you can gradually progress to more challenging exercises like jumping burpees or hand-clap push-ups. But before you jump into those, let’s go through the checklist:

  • Firstly, make sure you’re landing correctly from your jumps. Land on the forefoot, keeping your knees tracking over your toes, and distribute the weight evenly throughout your legs. This ensures a safe and stable landing that minimizes the risk of injury.
  • Secondly, it’s crucial to have a solid foundation of basic strength and endurance. Plyometrics require power and stamina, so make sure you’ve built up the necessary strength to handle the demands of these explosive movements.
  • Thirdly, focus on developing proper core strength and stability. Your core acts as a powerhouse, providing stability and control during plyometric exercises. Strengthening your core will enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
  •  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, ensure that you’re injury-free before diving into intense plyometric training. If you’re nursing any lingering injuries or discomfort, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional to address those issues before engaging in high-impact exercises.

Warming up For A Plyometric Workout

Before you ignite your explosive power and dive into the thrilling world of plyometric workouts, it’s crucial to lay the groundwork with a proper warm-up.

Think of it as priming the engine of a sports car, revving it up to unleash its full potential on the open road.

So, let’s rev up that engine and prepare your body for the exhilarating journey ahead!

To kickstart your warm-up, we’ll begin with a burst of dynamic jogging on the spot. This not only elevates your heart rate but also raises your core temperature, signaling to your body that it’s time to shift into high gear.

Once you’ve got your blood pumping and your body buzzing with anticipation, it’s time to delve into some dynamic stretching. But hold on a second, we’re not talking about the sleepy, static stretches of yesteryear. We’re diving into the realm of dynamic stretches that take your muscles on a captivating journey from your head all the way down to your ankles.

As you stretch dynamically, envision your body as a well-oiled machine, gracefully moving through a full range of motion. Embrace the fluidity of your movements as you release any tension lurking within your muscles..

Now, it’s important to note that certain plyometric exercises may require specific equipment to ensure your safety and maximize your performance.

One essential piece of gear is a trusty plyo box, a versatile platform designed to withstand the impact of your explosive jumps. Look for a plyo box with a solid steel frame, providing a sturdy foundation to absorb the forces you unleash.

And don’t forget about a well-padded mat that acts as a cushioning buffer, protecting your joints and providing a comfortable surface to perform your plyometric feats.

Top 7 Plyometrics For Runners

I recommend performing these exercises twice a week after a solid dynamic warmup.

Do this routine on your non-running days, since explosive training requires so much focused energy and effort.

Perform each exercise for 8 to 12 reps each.

Rest and repeat one more time before moving on to the rest of the routine.

To keep things challenging, change up the order of the exercises each time you do this plyometric workout.

1.     Jump squats

Ideal for strengthening the glutes, which can provide you with power on the run and reduce the risks of overuse injuries like runner’s knee and IT band syndrome.

This move also works the quads, hamstring, calves, and most core muscles.

Bonus benefit, shaping your butt.

Proper form

Start with your feet turned out slightly, toes pointing forward, arms extended and back straight.

squat down until your butt is just lower than your knees, then press up through the heels jumping off the ground as high as possible, then land softly without letting your knees fall in toward each other, then descend into the next squat.

Do 12 to 15 reps to complete one set.

Aim for two to three sets.

2.    Burpees

The burpee is a total body conditioning exercise per excellence.

This is one of the best exercises for the core muscles, thighs, shoulder, arms, and chest—and if you only have 5 minutes of free time for plyo training, then do the burpees, please.

Proper Form

Assume a feet hip-width apart stance, then bend your knees and place your hands on the floor.

transfer all of your weight into your hands, jump your feet back so that you end up in a push-up position.

Then, bring your knees to your chest, assuming a low squat position, and press up and jump as high as you can with hands overhead, feet going airborne.

Clap your hands overhead or even straighten your legs like air split for more challenge

Without delay, hit the ground again to perform the next burpee.

3.    Jumping lunge

This is one of the most running-specific exercises you can do since jumping lunges target all of your running muscles in the most efficient and explosive way.

Proper Form

Begin in a lunge position, weight distributed equally on both legs

Next, jump straight up into the air as high as possible, reversing the position of the legs and landing with your feet in the opposite positions, then immediately lower down into a deep lunge.

Make sure to land with a good lunge from—knees behind or in line with the toes—and to use your arms to help you jump higher.

Do three sets of 12 to 16 reps, alternating sides on each jump.

4. Side hops

One of the best plyometrics for runners that works all of your lower body muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads—all key muscles for running and most athletic activities.

Proper Form

Start by standing on your right foot with your right knee slightly bent and your left foot up.

Next, begin hopping on the right foot as fast as you can with minimal ground contact.

Imagine that you are jumping over a set of hot coals.

Hop in one place 12 times, then hop side to side for 12 times then hop forward and backward for another 12 times.

Aim for two to three sets on each foot.

Make sure to keep your hips steady and nearly motionless through the exercise.

Avoid bouncing around.

5.    Single-Leg Lateral Jumps

Along with increasing power in the legs, this plyo move also improves balance.

Plus, this plyo moves boosts ankle strength and stability as well as control and proprioception, which is your own sense of the relative position of your body and strength of effort being employed in each movement.

For those who have ankle instability, you may use an ankle brace.

Choose the breathable one.

Proper Form

Stand on your right foot with your left knee slightly bent and left foot off the ground.

Then, drop into a half squat and jump diagonally as high as you can to your left, landing in a half squat on your left foot.

Repeat, jumping diagonally while engaging the whole core to your right.

That’s one rep.

if this is too easy for you, then do it with eye closed.

Aim for three sets with 10 reps each.

6.    Box Jumps

These build explosive speed, rev up your body’s ability to absorb force, and they target the muscles that contract the most when running, the hamstrings and glutes.

Proper Form

Pick a jumping box of challenging height or stack aerobics steps 6 to 14 inches high.

Be careful.

From the ground, squat down and jump with both feet onto the box, swinging your arms forward to generate enough momentum.

Next, jump backward off the box, and land softly on the ground with knees slightly bent.

For more challenge, try with one leg.

Don’t try this without a steady posture and a nice balance.

Do 12 reps aiming to complete three sets.

7.    Bleacher hops

Another powerful exercise to add to your arsenal.

This one works you on all levels.

It’s also a great cardiovascular and endurance exercise—just like hill sprint on steroids.

Proper Form

Find a set of steps—whether at the nearby park or at your local high school stadium, stadium or even a building with a large flight of stairs—then with feet shoulder-width apart,  hop up the steps with both feet together and as fast as you can with no breaks until you reach the top.

Don’t rely on your flexibility, use your momentum.

Next, walk back down and repeat.

 

Plyometrics for Runners  – The Conclusion

There you have it.

Now not only you know what plyometrics training is all about but also have a plyometric workout you can start doing right away.

That’s pretty cool.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post.

Keep running strong.

Prevent Running Injuries with These 5 Hip-Strengthening Exercises For Runners

If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate hip-strengthening exercises to boost your running game and keep those pesky injuries at bay, you’ve landed in the right spot!

Today, we’re diving headfirst into the world of hip strength training for runners, and trust me, it’s going to be a game-changer.

Here’s the lowdown on what’s coming your way:

  • We’ll break down the hip muscles so you know exactly what we’re working with.
  • Discover how these hip muscles play a crucial role in your running performance.
  • Uncover the fascinating connection between hip muscles and running injuries (yes, we’ve got some science-backed insights for you).
  • Get ready for the main event – the top 5 exercises that’ll have your hip strength and mobility skyrocketing.
  • Plus, a whole lot more to keep you informed and inspired.

Excited? Well, let’s lace up those running shoes and dive in.

Anatomy of The Hips Muscles

Your hips aren’t just there to look good in yoga pants; they’re true workhorses. Nestled in your upper legs, the hip allows  you to strut your stuff, climb stairs, grab that fallen pen, or gracefully park yourself on the couch.

But here’s the real star of the show: the hip joint! It’s a nifty ball-and-socket setup, and it’s key to everyday movements.

Every time you take a stroll, conquer a staircase, reach for your dropped phone, or elegantly plop onto your favorite chair, your hip joint and its trusty muscle squad swing into action.

And guess what? We’ve got more hip intel coming your way, so stay tuned

The most important muscles of the hips include :

The Hip Flexors

The hips flexors play a vital role in the grand scheme of things. They’re like the supporting cast in your body’s blockbuster film, making sure everything runs smoothly.

And consist of five muscles:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae)
  • Iliacus
  • Psoas
  • Sartorius

These hip flexors are the MVPs behind knee elevation and keeping your pelvis and legs in perfect harmony during your runs.

Think of them as your body’s own mechanics for knee operations. But here’s the kicker: weak hip flexors could spell trouble, with the dreaded runners’ knee and iliotibial band syndrome lurking in the shadows

Adductors

The adductors are responsible for pulling your legs inward and orchestrating those nifty cross-body moves.

And consist of the following:

  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Pectineus
  • Gracilis

Think of them as your body’s graceful dance troupe, ensuring your legs move seamlessly in any direction you desire.

These performers add finesse to your legwork and contribute to the harmony of your hip movements. Without them, things might get a bit clunky on the dance floor—or, should we say, the running track?

Glutes

The Glutes are the powerhouse behind your backside and so much more!

Meet the Gluteal squad:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

These muscles are your body’s true all-stars, responsible for various functions, from extending your hip and moving your leg out to the side to ensuring your leg’s external rotation.

The Importance of hip Muscles While Running

Let’s dive deeper into the critical role of hip muscles while running.

Efficient and Injury-Free Running:

Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon enthusiast, strong and functional hips are your secret weapon. They keep you in the game, preventing those dreaded injuries.

Stabilizing Powerhouses:

These muscles aren’t just for show; they’re the guardians of your running stance. They ensure each leg is rock-solid during every step, maintaining stability in the process.

The Perils of Weak Hips:

Now, imagine weak hip flexors crashing this party. Your performance takes a nosedive, your form goes haywire, and injuries gatecrash your running journey.

Studies linking hip weakness to running injuries

There’s some compelling research highlighting the connection between hip weakness and running injuries.

Study 1: Hip Rotation and Iliotibial Band Syndrome

This study, published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, unveils a crucial link. It suggests that when hip rotation and inward collapse occur excessively during the gait cycle, the risk of Iliotibial Band Syndrome shoots up.

Study 2: Weak Hip Muscles and Lower Extremity Injuries

In another study featured in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, the evidence becomes even more compelling. It draws a strong association between weak hip muscles, including the abductors, adductors, and flexors, and a range of overuse injuries in the lower extremities.

Study 3: Runners’ Knee and Weak Hip Muscles

The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine presents evidence that links overuse injuries like Runners’ Knee to weaker hip muscles. Specifically, the hip abductor, adductor, and flexor muscles were weaker in individuals with these injuries compared to a control group. This underscores how critical strong hips are in preventing injuries like Runners’ Knee.

Study 4: Pelvic Instability and Runner’s Knee

Another study published in Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sports delves into pelvic stability and its role in Runner’s Knee among women. It was discovered that women who developed Runner’s Knee exhibited greater pelvic instability in their gait compared to those who remained injury-free. This insight highlights the significance of hip and pelvic stability for injury prevention.

Study 5: Hip Strength Training for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The study by Frederickson et al. focused on 24 distance runners dealing with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a common issue among runners. They examined the hip abductor strength in the injured limb compared to the healthy leg and a control group.

Notably, they found a 2 percent strength deficit in the Gluteus medius of the injured limb. However, after undergoing a six-week strength training program, 22 out of 24 injured runners were able to return to training with minimal or no symptoms. It underscores the potential of targeted hip strength training in rehabilitating running injuries.

The Evidence is Overwhelming!

It’s clear that hip strengthening exercises should be a priority for every runner to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Ignoring hip strength can lead to a host of problems that no runner wants to deal with.

The great news is that there’s a wide array of effective hip-strengthening exercises available. These exercises are a proactive approach to injury prevention and overall improved running performance.

By dedicating time to strengthening your hip muscles, you’re investing in your long-term running success.

Remember, once your hip strength is improved, you’re not only less likely to experience pain and injuries, but you’ll also find your running form and efficiency improving.

5 Hip Strengthening Exercises For Runners

Consistency is key when it comes to strengthening your hip muscles. Starting with one set of 8 reps and gradually progressing to three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps is an excellent approach.

It allows your body to adapt and grow stronger over time, reducing the risk of injury and improving your running performance.

Remember, patience and persistence pay off when it comes to fitness and strength training. Keep up the good work, and you’ll undoubtedly notice significant improvements in your hip strength and overall running abilities in just a few weeks

Hip Strengthening Exercise – 1. Single-Leg Bridge

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, Lower back, Calves, Quads, and Hamstrings.

Proper Form

Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms pressed against the floor by your sides.

Then, lift your hips, engage your thighs, and squeeze your glutes.

Next, raise your right leg in the air as straight as possible, keeping the foot flexed, and extend it while raising your lower back and butt.

Lift your hip as high as possible by engaging your abs and pressing down through the left heel.

Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds; lower your hips to lightly touch the ground, then switch legs.

Number of sets: Three to four sets

Number of Repetitions: 8 to 12 reps.

Hip Strengthening Exercise 2. Donkey Kicks

Targeted muscles: All three butt muscles — gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, plus the lower back

Proper Form

Get on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under the hips, wrists aligned under your shoulders.

Next, draw your abdominals in you gradually lift your leg behind you until it’s almost parallel to the floor, with knee bent and foot flexed.

Hold the position and pulsate your flexed foot toward the ceiling by engaging and squeezing your glutes.

Keep the motion small and controlled with the muscle doing most of the work.

Focus on the muscle, and avoid using momentum.

And make sure to keep your back straight and spine in a neutral position.

Last up, return to the starting position to complete one rep.

Number of sets: Two to three sets

Number of Repetitions: 12 to 15 reps

Hip Strengthening Exercise 3. Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Targeted muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus and Tensor Fascia Lata.

Proper Form

Lie down on your side on the floor or the mat.

Make sure your hips and feet are stacked in a neutral position—Meaning the right hip is directly over the left hip (or the other way around).

And keep your body in a straight line from ankles to head.

Next, place your lower hand on the floor in front for support, and your upper hand resting upon your upper hip.

Keep your pelvis in a neutral position.

Engage your core muscles to support the spine.

Then, exhale and extend and raise your top leg off the lower while keeping the knee straight and your foot in a neutral position.

No hip rolling—forward or back—is allowed.

Raise the top leg as high as possible.

Inhale and slowly return the leg to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

After finishing the set, roll over and repeat on the other side.

Number of sets: Two to three sets

Number of Repetitions: 8 to 10 reps

Hip Strengthening Exercise 4. Bird Dog Hip Strengthening Exercise

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, Lower Back Muscles, and Rectus Abdominis Muscle.

Proper Form

Get down on all fours on your hands and knees with palms flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, with knees directly under the hips and hands beneath the shoulders.

Make sure to keep your lower back and abdomen in a neutral position.

Next, engage your core to keep a good balance; raise your left arm and extend it straight out in front of your body as you raise your right leg and straighten it behind you.

Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat.

Number of sets: Two to three sets.

Number of reps: 6 to 8 reps.

Hip Strengthening Exercise 5. Single-Leg Deadlift

Muscle engaged: Glutes, Hamstrings, Spinal Erectors, and Abs

Proper Form

Stand on your left leg with your right leg behind you and in the air.

Then, while keeping your shoulders back and back straight throughout the movement, hinge forward at the waist and raise the right leg behind you, then reach your hands toward the ground.

Last up, come back to the starting position by engaging your glutes and hamstring of the left leg.

For more challenges, use weight or a medicine ball for added resistance.

Number of sets: Three to four sets

Number of reps: 10 to 12.

Here are more strength exercises for runners.

 Bonus Hip Strength Exercises For Runners

Seated hip Flexion

This simple move activates the hip flexor past a 90-degree angle to condition the muscles throughout their range of motion.

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on a chair with good posture.

Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, core engaged, and back flat.

Next, while bending your right knee to about a 90-degree angle, raise it toward your chest without letting your thigh roll in or out or leaning back, pause, then slowly lower it to start position.

Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.

Add weights for more challenges.

Lunges

Another fantastic move for strengthening the hip muscles as well as the lower body.

To make the most out of lunges, make sure to include different variations of this standard lunge, including static, backward, and plyo versions.

Proper Form

Begin in standing position, feet just slightly apart, looking straight ahead with back flat and core engaged.

Next, place your hands on your hips, then take a giant step forward with your right foot.

Make sure your hips are hanging straight on either side of your body.

Then, once you ensure heel contact with the floor, bend the right knee over the ankle while bending the left toward the ground.

Last up, press back into the starting position, pushing off the ground with your leading foot.

Changes sides to complete one rep.

Skater Squats

This is one of my favorite squat variations, focusing specifically on the hips instead of every muscle in the lower body.

Proper Form

Begin by performing a mini-squat, bending from the hips and knee and lowering your butt toward the floor while keeping your chest lifted and back flat, then transition your weight to the right side and lift the left leg slightly off the floor, toes pointed ahead.

This is your starting position.

Next, slowly squat by pushing your hips and butt backward.

Keep squatting until your right knee is bent to a 90-degree angle, if possible.

Perform  10 to 12 reps on each side to complete one set.

Shoot for three sets.

Clamshell

You’ll often find this move on most lower body rehabilitation programs, the reason being it works.

Not only does it strengthen your hips and glutes, but it also stabilizes your pelvis muscles and helps soothe tightness in the lower back, which is key for injury-free training.

Proper form

Begin by laying on the mat on your side, hips stable, heels together, and legs stacked up on top of each other.

Your shoulders, hips, and heels should form a straight line.

If it’s uncomfortable to lay in this position, lie with your back against a couch.

Next, open your top knee so that it points at the ceiling.

Keep your feet stacked together and allow for no rolling backward throughout the movement.

Raise the top knee as far as possible without rotating your hip or lifting your bottom knee off the floor, then pause for a moment.

To complete one rep, close the leg.

Perform 16 to 20 on each side to finish one set.

Shoot for three sets.

For more resistance, wrap a resistance band around your lower thighs.

Standing hip flexion

Another excellent move for isolating the hip flexors while improving muscle control and balance.

The movement is easy to perform but provides the lower body a good workout.

Proper Form

Begin by assuming an athletic position, back straight, core engaged, and feet hip-width distance apart.

Next, while keeping your left foot planted in the ground, raise your right leg off the ground so that you form a 90-degree angle at the hip.

Then, hold for a count of five to ten, then slowly lower the leg.

Switch sides to complete one rep.

Perform five reps to complete one set.

For more challenges, use weight or slowly flex your hip forward.

Additional resource – Clamshells for runners

Hip Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above hip strengthening exercises should make a huge part of your resistance training if you’re serious about improving performance and preventing injury.

Whatever you do, make sure to stay within your fitness level the entire time. Doing regular exercises to strengthen your hips is a good thing, but overdoing it is not the way to go.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong

David D.

How to Increase Running Stamina For Beginners – 12 Ways

Running VS. Strength Training

Are you ready to take your running stamina to the next level? Buckle up, because we’re about to embark on an exhilarating journey towards building endurance and crushing those running goals!

Now, let’s get real for a moment. Improving your running endurance isn’t a walk in the park. It takes effort, dedication, and a whole lot of sweat. But fear not, my friend, because I’m here to guide you with the best advice and strategies that will transform you into an unstoppable running machine.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s address the elephant on the road. Yes, building running stamina requires time and miles on the road. It won’t happen overnight, but with the right mindset and training strategy, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can see progress.

So, without further ado, let’s unleash the 12 ultimate strategies that will have you soaring to new heights of endurance. These tried-and-true methods will help you build stamina, get fitter, and stronger without risking injury or burnout. It’s time to lace up those running shoes and put these strategies into action.

1. Gradual Progress

The ultimate secret to building your running stamina without risking injury or burnout comes down to one powerful concept: “train smart.” But what does that really mean?

Training smart means embracing the art of gradual progression. You start small and steadily increase your mileage and speed, all while maintaining consistency over the long haul. It’s a simple yet effective approach that harnesses the power of the gradual adaptation rule.

Now, let me tell you, this rule is no joke. It’s a universal principle that applies to every runner out there, from the newbie taking their first brave steps around the block to the seasoned marathon enthusiast aiming for that elusive personal best. But here’s the kicker: it’s not just about running. The gradual adaptation rule is a mindset you should adopt in every aspect of your exercise routine.

Once you fully embrace this principle, the doors to success swing wide open. Whether you’re striving for a faster 5K time, conquering a challenging trail run, or even venturing into the realm of ultramarathons, the gradual adaptation rule will be your guiding light.

2. Run-Walk

If you’re just starting your running journey, I’ve got some crucial advice for you on how to boost your running stamina without falling victim to injury or overtraining.

Here’s the secret weapon for beginners: the run/walk method. It’s like having a trusty sidekick that guides you through the early stages of your running adventure. Here’s how it works:

  • Step one: Begin with a brisk 10-minute walk to warm up those muscles and get your body ready for action. You’re setting the stage for something great, my friend.
  • Step two: Alternate between easy-paced jogs for around 30 seconds and recovery walks for 30 seconds to a full minute. Picture it as a dance between running and walking, finding your rhythm as you go. This gentle cycle allows your body to adapt and progress at a pace that suits you.
  • Step three: Keep repeating this process until you can confidently run for a solid 25 to 30 minutes without gasping for air like a fish out of water. You’ll be amazed at the progress you make, my friend. It’s all about persistence and gradually pushing your limits.
  • Step four: As you start feeling fitter and stronger, it’s time to level up. Gradually increase the duration of your running intervals and decrease the length of your recovery walks. It’s like unlocking new levels in a video game—each achievement propels you forward.

3. Add a Long Run

Once you’ve built up your running stamina, it’s time to take it to the next level and add some distance to your runs, especially when it comes to your longest run of the week. Trust me, these long runs are like a secret weapon for your running journey. They bring a whole host of benefits that you won’t want to miss out on.

Why are long runs so crucial, you ask? Well, it’s simple yet incredibly powerful. Long runs target your heart like nothing else. They make it stronger, pumping that blood through your veins with vengeance.

Not only that, but they also act as a cleanse for your tired muscles, flushing out all that waste and leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Plus, they even have the magical ability to improve your running form.

I could go on and on about the wonders of long runs, but you get the idea, right?

Now, you might be wondering how to fit these long runs into your existing running program. Here’s the secret formula: aim to allocate at least 25 to 30 percent of your weekly mileage to the long run.

Of course, the exact percentage will depend on your overall mileage, training goals, and fitness level.

Now, here’s a sample workout to get you started on your next long run adventure. Stick to a comfortable and consistent pace for a minimum of 50 to 70 minutes. As you gain strength and confidence, aim to gradually increase your long run duration by no more than 5 minutes each week.

4. Tempo Runs

Tempo workouts have one main mission: to elevate your lactate threshold level and take your performance to new heights.

So what exactly is this lactate threshold? Picture it as the tipping point where lactic acid starts to accumulate in your hard-working muscles.

By pushing this threshold further, you unlock the ability to run longer and faster, like a turbo boost for your running prowess.

Now, let’s talk about the ideal tempo pace. During your tempo runs, you want to find that sweet spot where the effort feels challenging, but not so hard that you’re gasping for breath. It’s like dancing on the edge of your limits. And guess what? This magic pace is slightly slower than your 10K race pace. So, get ready to discover a whole new level of speed and endurance.

To give you a taste of the tempo run experience, here are a couple of sample workouts to try on for size:

Variation I: After a nice and cozy 10-minute warm-up, where you can ease into the rhythm of your run, it’s time to shift gears. Go all out and tackle the next three to four miles at your steady tempo pace. Feel the exhilaration as your body adapts to the challenge. And as you wrap up this thrilling portion, don’t forget to cool down with a gentle 5-minute jog, letting your body savor the accomplishment.

Variation II: Start off your long run at a comfortable pace, settling into a rhythm that puts a smile on your face. Then, once you hit the midway point, gradually unleash your inner speed demon and pick up the pace. Let your tempo pace shine as you conquer the last three to four miles with gusto. And when you cross that finish line, don’t forget to treat your body with a soothing 10-minute cooldown jog, like a cool breeze after a thrilling adventure.

5. Interval Running

Experts are singing praises about interval training, calling it the closest thing to a fitness miracle. And guess what? It’s backed by science too. Studies have shown that interval training improves cardiovascular capacity, enhances endurance, and even sparks metabolic changes that torch calories long after your workout is done. It’s like turbocharging your body’s engine for optimal performance.

Now, let’s dive into the structure of an exhilarating interval run. The beauty of interval training lies in its versatility. It can be tailored to suit your fitness level and goals, whether you’re a beginner runner or a competitive athlete chasing podium dreams.

For beginners, start with shorter sprints at a moderate effort. Feel the rush as you push your limits and gradually build up your endurance. Competitive athletes, on the other hand, can customize their interval workouts to align with their racing objectives, honing their skills with precision.

To maximize the benefits of interval training, it’s crucial to combine it with your regular running routine. Think of it as a harmonious blend of easy runs, tempo runs, and long runs. Together, they create the perfect symphony of training methods, enhancing your overall fitness and performance.

But where should you perform these magnificent workouts? Simple. Any smooth, flat surface will do the trick. If your established running loop fits the bill, great! However, be cautious about taking your intervals to the trails. Safety and optimal performance are the priority, so save the trails for another adventure.

Are you ready for your next interval run? Head to your local track and get set for an epic workout. Start with a proper warm-up, gently awakening your body and preparing it for the challenge ahead. Then, it’s time to rev up the engine. Sprint at 85 to 95% of your maximum effort for 30 glorious seconds. Feel the surge of power as you push through the intensity. But don’t forget to catch your breath. Take one minute to recover, jogging at a comfortable pace.

Repeat this exhilarating cycle six to eight times, feeling the rush of achievement with each round. And when you’ve conquered the intervals, it’s time for a well-deserved cool-down. Jog slowly for 5 minutes, allowing your body to gradually return to a state of calm.

If you’re seeking an even greater test of your mettle, we’ve got Variation II for you. Take on Workout I, but this time, embrace the hills. Find a route that boasts a 6 to 8 percent grade, a challenge that will take you 20 to 30 seconds to conquer at top speed. Feel the burn as you power up those inclines, and let the hills become your ally in building strength and resilience.

6. Perform Yasso 800s

Are you ready to supercharge your stamina and conquer that marathon like a boss? Well, I’ve got a simple yet powerful method for you: Yasso 800s.

So, what exactly are these Yasso 800s all about? Picture this: You’ll be pushing yourself to the limit with hard-hitting 800-meter run intervals, followed by a rejuvenating recovery jog that lasts one minute or even longer.

Now, let’s talk about where to unleash the power of Yasso 800s. To make the most of this workout, I highly recommend finding a track or hopping on a treadmill. Why? Well, it’s all about precision and measurement. On the track, you can easily gauge the 800-meter distance, which is roughly two laps around a standard track. And on a treadmill, you can control the speed and distance with ease.

Before you jump into the intensity, give yourself a solid 10-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the challenge that lies ahead. Once you’re warmed up and raring to go, it’s time to embark on the 800-meter challenge. Push yourself at a challenging pace, perhaps even a tempo pace, feeling the burn and the exhilaration with every stride.

Once you’ve completed your 800 meters, take a well-deserved recovery jog for one to two minutes. Catch your breath, let your muscles regroup, and prepare yourself for the next round. Repeat this cycle, always staying true to your fitness level and within your capabilities.

If you’re new to Yasso 800s, start with no more than four sets per session. Listen to your body, gauge your progress, and as you become stronger and more fit, gradually add more sets to your repertoire. Remember, the key is to challenge yourself while also respecting your limits.

race warm-up

7. Cross Train To Increase Running Endurance

Becoming a top-notch runner isn’t just about hitting the pavement day in and day out. Oh no, my friend. If you want to unleash your full potential, you need to level up your game with a well-rounded approach to training. That means not only logging those road miles but also embracing a variety of activities that will push your limits and enhance your running endurance.

First up on our cross-training adventure is the magical realm of swimming. Picture yourself gliding through the water, your body engaged from head to toe. Swimming isn’t just a refreshing escape from the pounding of the pavement; it’s also a total body endurance and strength workout. Dive in and make the most of it by focusing on proper technique and incorporating interval swims.

Now, let’s shift gears and hop onto two wheels. Whether you prefer the open road or the thrilling trails, biking is a cross-training gem that shouldn’t be overlooked. Just like running, biking offers a range of possibilities to explore. Go for those epic long weekend rides, challenge yourself with interval bike workouts, conquer hills that make your legs scream, and don’t forget those easy recovery rides to keep your body in balance. Remember, safety first. Put on that helmet, follow the rules of the road, and remember to have fun.

But wait, there’s more! It’s time to pump some iron and embrace the power of strength training. This isn’t just about looking like a Greek god or goddess (although that’s a nice bonus); it’s about fortifying your body from head to toe.

By incorporating total body exercises like squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups, you’re strengthening your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The result? Improved performance and a decreased risk of injury.

Let me explain more.

8. Weightlifting

Let’s start with the burning question: how does weight lifting actually boost your endurance? It’s as simple as tying your shoelaces.

When you incorporate a regular weight lifting routine into your training, you’re giving your running muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones the royal treatment. It’s like fortifying your body’s foundation, enhancing your running efficiency, and unlocking a whole new level of total body endurance. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

So how do you make the most out of the iron?

First up, embrace the power of compound moves. These are the bread and butter of weight lifting, engaging multiple muscles in one go. Think squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and step-ups. These powerhouse exercises will skyrocket your strength gains way better than those isolated moves like bicep curls or leg extensions.

But wait, there’s more. If you’re up for a real challenge, crank up the intensity by lifting weights at a lightning-fast pace. This not only builds strength but also adds an exhilarating endurance element to your strength workouts.

Now, here’s a little secret for you. Mixing and matching is the name of the game. Try combining aerobic exercises with your strength training routine. For example, kick things off with a challenging 400-meter run at a pace that makes your heart race, then grab those dumbbells or kettlebells and dive into some strength-building exercises. It’s a potent blend that will ignite your endurance and sculpt your muscles simultaneously.

To give you a taste of what a killer workout might look like, here’s a sample routine to get your gears turning. After a thorough warm-up that gets your blood flowing, aim for 12 to 16 reps of the following exercises with a weight that truly challenges you. And don’t forget to take a well-deserved minute of rest between each set:

9. Embrace Plyometrics To Increase Running Stamina

After a few months of strength and interval training, you’re ready for some more action, and plyometric exercises are just the ticket.

What are they and how can they help you become a better runner?

Plyometric training is all about doing explosive movements.

It can help you become a better runner by improving your running form efficiency.

Being more explosive benefits runners for many reasons.

Once you start becoming more explosive, your entire body will start moving faster without you putting in any additional effort.

Sample Workout

After a thorough dynamic warm-up, do 45 seconds to a minute of any of the following exercises

  • Burpees
  • Box Jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Jump knee tucks
  • One leg hops (30 seconds on each leg).

Rest for one minute, then repeat the cycle two to three times.

10.  CrossFit Training

Still looking for more endurance-building strategies? Give CrossFit (CF) a try.

CF is a diversified training program designed to improve all facets of fitness.

These include speed, strength, agility, endurance, coordination, and stamina.

CrossFit is commonly referred to as functional fitness.

This is achieved through the use of bodyweight training, plyo exercises, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics rings, sled pushes, Kettlebell exercises, interval-style cardio workouts, and much more.

I enjoy doing CF, and still do WODs (Workout Of the Day) at least a couple of times a week.

A standard WOD might include sprinting, rope climbs, power cleans (an Olympic weightlifting move), and slamming a medicine ball against the floor or a wall.

Sample Workout

Here’s a beginner-friendly WOD called the Cindy (CrossFit workouts have universally-used names).

In a 20-minute period, do as many reps as possible of the following circuit: 5 Pull-ups -> 10 Push-ups -> 15 Squats

11. Don’t Forget Recovery

Taking the time to rest is an absolute game-changer. It’s not just a luxury, but an essential part of your training routine.

In fact, the right recovery strategy is just as crucial as the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your workouts. It’s the downtime that allows your body to bounce back, rebuild, and repair all those hardworking muscles that have been pushed to their limits.

Now, I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but if you skimp on recovery, you’re basically throwing a wrench in your fitness progress. And trust me, you don’t want that.

So, let’s talk action steps to ensure you give your body the TLC it deserves.

First and foremost, give yourself enough time to fully recover. Your body needs its fair share of rest to come back stronger than ever. One effective approach is incorporating a reload week into your training every third or fourth week of intense workouts. During this magical week, you reduce your mileage by around 40 to 50 percent. It’s like pressing the reset button, allowing your body to catch its breath and recharge.

But hold on, even if you’re not in the midst of intense training, a reload week is still a must. It’s a way to show your body some appreciation and prevent burnout. And here’s another tip: after a particularly challenging session, treat yourself to a recovery run. It’s a gentle, therapeutic jog that helps flush out the toxins and promote healing.

Oh, and let’s not forget about those early warning signs of overtraining.

Your body is a master communicator, and it won’t shy away from sending signals when it’s had enough. So, keep an eye out for an elevated heart rate, chronic fatigue, persistent soreness, and even those dreaded sleepless nights.

If you notice any of these red flags, it’s time to listen to your body and give it a well-deserved light week. It’s like hitting the brakes before you crash.

12. Be Consistent

When it comes to improving your running endurance, two key players steal the show: consistency and patience. They’re the dynamic duo that can unlock the potential within you. But here’s the catch: they only work their magic if you’re willing to embrace them day in and day out. No shortcuts or quick fixes here, my friends. It’s all about the long game.

So, listen up and listen well. The workouts and training guidelines we’ve discussed are like gems in a treasure trove. They hold immense power to transform your running prowess. But here’s the secret sauce: you’ve got to be consistent. Just like any other skill in life, practice makes perfect. There’s no way around it. If you think you can improve your running endurance by lacing up your shoes a couple of times a week, well, you might want to rethink that strategy.

Now, let’s get down to business and talk action steps. If you’re serious about achieving mind-blowing training consistency, here are a few things you need to have up your sleeve:

First off, turn your running program into a habit. Make it as automatic as brushing your teeth or scrolling through your social media feeds (we all know how addictive that can be). It’s all about ingraining running into your daily routine until it becomes second nature. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Next, consider finding yourself a trusty training buddy. Think of them as your partner in crime, your running confidant. Having someone by your side who shares your goals and can keep you accountable is a surefire way to stay on track and keep those running shoes pounding the pavement.

But wait, there’s more. Shake things up and keep your running program fresh. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Explore new routes, try different training methods, and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible. It’s like adding flavor to your running journey and keeping the fire burning within.

Feeling a bit lonely on your running quest? Fear not. Joining a running club can be a game-changer. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for pounding the pavement. Not only will you find a supportive community, but you’ll also gain access to valuable resources, training tips, and maybe even a few running buddies to accompany you on your adventures.

And finally, for the truly dedicated, consider running twice a day. But tread carefully. This is an advanced strategy that requires proper planning and recovery. So, consult with your running coach or experienced runners before embarking on this double-dose of running goodness.

How To Increase Running Stamina For Beginners – The Conclusion

That’s all you need to know about how to increase running endurance, both for the short run and the long run, literally and figuratively.

Feel free to leave your comments below, or send me your questions and suggestions.

Thanks for reading my post.

Cheers.

How To Breathe While Running

woman running

Whether you’re a beginner runner, a 5K fanatic, or a marathon junkie, the way you breathe while running matters.

To most runners, learning to breathe may seem like an exercise in triviality. But what if mastering proper breathing techniques could improve your performance?

Research has shown that endurance athletes—including runners, cyclists, rowers, etc.—can experience small but important improvement in performance.

Would you like to learn how to take your running breathing to the next level? Then you’re in the right place.

How To Breathe While Running

In this article, I’ll dive into:

  • The importance of proper breathing while running
  • How to master deep breathing
  • Is rhythmic breathing worth it?
  • Nose Vs. Mouth breathing – Which one is better?
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

Enter The Right Pace

The best way to keep your breathing under control while running is to stick to a conversational pace—a pace in which you can hold a conversation or recite the pledge of allegiance without panting for air.

As a rule, beginner runners should perform their workouts at this conversational and relaxed pace.

If you find it hard to talk, you’re pushing it too hard.

Slow down and get your pace under control. By controlling your exercise intensity, you’ll be able to regulate the rate at which you breathe.

Beginners – Slow Down

Let’s start with the crucial step on your journey to breathing like a pro while you hit the trails – Beginners, Slow Down!

Now, before you start beating yourself up for feeling out of breath, take a deep breath and relax! Trust me, it’s not about your lung capacity or your running form. It’s just that you’re taking off like a racehorse right out of the gate!

So, what’s the secret to conquering this pesky breathlessness? Easy peasy! Gradually build up your mileage over time, and you’ll witness your stamina skyrocketing.

But hold your horses, speedy sprinters! At the beginning of your running adventure, let’s keep it chill and cozy. Picture this: you and your buddies having a laid-back chat, casually reciting the pledge of allegiance without gasping for air.

That’s the perfect conversational pace you need to embrace!

Now, if you’re huffing and puffing like a steam engine on steroids, it’s time to ease off the gas pedal. Slow down, my friend, and regain control of your pace. By keeping your training intensity in check, you’ll have a magic wand to control your breathing rate.

Synchronized Breathing

Once you’ve graduated from the beginner stage and have a few months of running under your belt, it’s time to upgrade your breathing technique. Picture this: with every footstrike, your breath flows rhythmically, like a symphony playing in perfect harmony.

Sure, it might sound a bit daunting at first, like mastering a powerful incantation, but trust me, it’s the secret potion to becoming a breathing maestro while you run. And don’t worry, we’ll take it step by step.

First things first, slow down the pace a bit to give yourself some breathing room (pun intended). Practice synchronizing your breath to your foot strikes like a dance partner in perfect sync.

Finding The Ideal Breathing Ratio

Now, let’s talk about the golden ratio – the key to unlocking your breathing mastery. Most running experts, recommend the 3:2 ratio for beginners. Here’s the magic formula: inhale on the RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes, then exhale like a dragon releasing fire on the LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes.

But hey, as you gain confidence and unleash your inner roadrunner, you can experiment with different ratios. Try a 2:2 or 2:1 ratio for those lightning-fast training sessions like interval training or tempo runs.

And when it’s time to cast that final spell of speed and power in a race, go all out with a 1:1 ratio! It’s like unlocking the ultimate power-up to rocket towards the finish line.

Deep Breathing While Running

Let’s unravel the secret to Deep Breathing, a magical technique that unlocks the full potential of your lungs, like a treasure chest filled with pure energy!

In this enchanting art, you’ll be tapping into the depths of your core, engaging every inch of your lungs to breathe like never before. Say farewell to those quick, shallow breaths we take when at rest, and embrace the power of deep breaths that fuel your body with pure vitality.

As you inhale, your rib cage and belly gently expand sideways and forward, like a graceful dance of air within your very being. With each exhale, you release any tension and fatigue, as if you’re casting away negative spells.

But wait, there’s more magic in store! Deep breathing isn’t just a charming display; it brings real benefits to your running journey. It keeps your muscles relaxed and nimble, ensures a steady flow of oxygen, and banishes the weariness that may try to hinder your progress.

And fret not, brave souls, for mastering this art isn’t reserved for the wizards alone. I’ve got a delightful surprise for you! An awesome YouTube tutorial awaits, guiding you on a journey to practice deep breathing right in the comfort of your home.

Nose Vs. Mouth Breathing

The Nose Vs. Mouth breathing is a topic that’s old as running itself. But when it comes down to it, it’s really up to the individual and the pace.

If you’re sticking to an easy and relaxed pace, breathing in through the nose should be enough to meet your oxygen needs. But as you pick up the pace, you might find doing so harder because you simply can’t get enough oxygen to your working muscles. When it’s the case, you’ll have to breathe in from both your nose and mouth.

But what about the exhale?

In my experience, inhaling through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth is much more efficient for running.

Inhaling through the nose allows for deeper breaths and warms the air on its way to the lungs, whereas breathing out from the mouth helps eliminate as much carbon dioxide as possible. It also relaxes the body.

How to put this into practice? Simple.

During your run, the mouth should be held slightly open in what’s known as the “dead fish” (the name speaks for itself).

Here’s how to breathe properly in cold weather.

How To Breathe While Running – The Conclusion

Breathing is key part of every movement—running is an exception. How to breathe while running is a must skill for every runner who is serious about optimizing their performance and comfort. There’s no way around that.

I hope this blog post was helpful.

It covers all you need to know about how to breathe while running.

Please feel free to leave any comments below or send me any questions you may have.

I’ll be happy to answer ASAP.

Thanks for reading my post.

Top 11 Weight Loss Rules For Runners

lose weight while running

Most people take up running for mainly one reason: To Lose Weight. Truth be told…that’s what got me into it in the first place. Years ago, I was fat and out-of-shape, but after taking up running everything changed for the better.

Just don’t get me wrong. Running does shed mad calories, but it’s not a guaranteed recipe for success.

In fact, unwanted weight gain can happen despite regular training, and I know many of a consistent runner still struggling with their weight. I can’t deny that… No one can… With that said, don’t throw your running shoes away yet. Today you are going to learn how to reach success with your weight loss running routine.

 Weight Loss Rules For Runners

As a result, here are 9 rules for maximum weight loss for runners.

1. Just Do it

It’s simple as it sounds. You just need to do it. But that does not mean that’s going to be easy. Simple does not always mean easy. As a beginner, you need to slowly introduce the habit of running into your life. Don’t worry about mileage nor calorie burn. All you need to concern yourself with is trying to get fit without getting hurt.

That’s the motto you need to keep in mind. Enter The Run-Walk Method Start off with the walk-run-walk method. If you are overweight and/or out-of-shape, begin your running journey by mixing slow running intervals—30 seconds for the seek of the argument—with sets of walking period of no more than a minute. As you get fitter, aim to increase the time you spend running while taking less and less for recovery.

Want more? Check my posts: The 8-Week Beginner Runner Program & Absolute Beginners’ Guide To Running. The good news is that, on average, and in less than 8 weeks, you’ll be able to run for at least 30 minutes without much huffing and puffing.

Nonetheless, once you are passed that mark, your body, being the amazing and smart machine it is, will eventually adapt and get used to that level of stimulus. This means that you won’t be burning as many calories as before. This is what’s known as plateau territory And once that happens, you’d need to up the ante by doing interval training to break through the plateau.

Note – Here’s your guide to calories burned running one mile.

2. Pass the Plateau

Plateaus are part and parcel of any training process. Running for burning belly fat is no exception. That’s why you need to get ready for them and know exactly what to do to get pass them.

Do Intervals Intervals are ideal for shedding belly fat, and boosting metabolism. They are challenging and will increase the amount of oxygen you use to perform and recover, leading to a greater calorie burn.

For me, getting on the interval training track was a big game changer. Not only did interval training help me shed those extra pounds

I was struggling with for some time, but also improved my running on all levels.

If you have never tried intervals before, then don’t be swayed by their power. Instead, be careful and take it gradually. As a beginner, start off your interval run by doing sprints at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum effort for no more than 30-second, then jog for one full minute for recovery. Repeat the cycle 8 to 10 times and end the session with a cool-down.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Once you know your daily calorie needs, it’s time to set goals.

Not any goals though. Your goals have to be realistic. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.

Losing weight while running is going to take you a while. Many runners, especially enthusiastic beginners, fall into the trap of setting a stereotypical goal weight, regardless of their fitness level, lifestyle, and body type.

Here’s the truth. Everybody and every BODY is unique, and your ideal weight for optimum energy, performance, and health might not be what society says it should.

Since roughly 3500 calories is needed to shed a pound of weight, it’s likely that you’ll drop no more than a couple of pounds per week.

Instead of setting unrealistic goals, go for achievable goals. Aim to lose no more than two pounds a week. As weight can fluctuate on a daily basisit might also be helpful to expand beyond the scale and overall weight to also include goal body fat and a few body measurements to keep motivated and objective on your journey.”

4. Know your Calorie Needs

When it comes to it, weight loss is a matter of doing your math.

Weight loss is a numbers’ game, really.

To lose weight while running, you have to burn more calories than you are taking in; that’s why you must know how many you need in the first place. Here comes the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Calculate Your BMR The basal metabolic rate (BMR) a rough estimate to set your basic energy needs and describes the number of calories you would need to keep your organs and body ticking each day if you did nothing but sleep for 24 hours.

Here are two resources to help you calculate BMR without much hassle:

Link One

Link Two T

o shed the pounds, you must reduce your total caloric intake, whether by burning calories through running or following sound diet practices.

The best way is to do both for maximum results. As a general guideline, to stay on the safe, healthy side, aim to cut no more than 200 to 300 calories per day. The progressive approach always works way better.
couple running trying to lose weight

5. Set Good Weight Loss Goals

Goals are the specific markers you need to keep your fat loss resolution going strong.

They provide you with clarity, a sense of direction, and will help propel you forward, especially when you feel that all the odds are stacked against you. Henceforth, make sure to write and rewrite them on a daily basis.

Your goals should be challenging, but they also must be realistic. That’s why I always run my goals though a reality check. And you should be doing the same. As a result, before you set that substantial weight loss running goal, ask yourself (and be honest) whether it’s actually achievable. Believe me, it pays, both for the short and long term, to have the right fitness goals.

Additional Source – Does Running Burn Belly Fat?

6. Do Your Own Thing

Don’t fall into the trap of setting a common weight loss goal.

The truth is, we are not the same. I’m different. You are different. Everybody is different. What works the best for me regarding optimal health, energy and performance may not be the same of what works the best for you. That’s why you need to set your own goals.

Have a say in your life. Don’t let society dictate what’s best for you. And keep mind that skinny is not always good, even if it looks good.

Add a Deadline Also, put a time limit on your goals. The sense of timing adds urgency to your goals, making their achievement more likely. A major reason why most don’t make it down the road is the lack of a sense of urgency, a symptom of overthinking the process and not taking action. Classic case of paralysis by analysis.

7. Stay Fueled

To run your best, you need to stay well fueled. But that’s no invitation to overeat. You just need to opt for the right foods that can help you perform your best while shedding the extra pounds for good.

In other words, eating should be about fueling you up, not filling you up, period. Opt for a breakfast that’s high in protein, healthy fat foods like low-fat yogurt, oatmeal and especially eggs (they are my favorite!).

Make sure also to eat plenty of vegetables, nuts and limit your intake of fruits—they score high on fructose, a form of sugar that can lead to weight gain. Steer clear of fat-free processed foods, which often score low on nutrients and high on chemicals. If you want more, maybe you need a radical lifestyle change.

For that case… Try The Paleo Lifestyle Something that worked like a miracle for me is following the Paleo diet ( I know it’s more than a diet ;-). This eating philosophy has helped clean my act when it comes to the everyday diet decision I make.

So it didn’t just help lose weight, it also helped me eat much healthier and develop and maintain healthy eating habits—the cornerstone of optimal nutrition. And most people who tried it have reached similar conclusions. You just need to give your body time to adjust to it. That’s the hardest part.

Additional link – Slow running vs fast running for weight loss 

8. Go Long

Among more than 120,000 runners, the ones logging the greatest amount of weekly mileage were the leanest, according to the National Runners Health Study.

Hence, if you are serious about getting into the best shape of your life—look and endurance wise—aim to extend your weekly mileage.

It’s no secret. The more miles you log in, the more calories you are going to burn off. As a general guideline, an average person burns off about 100 calories per mile while running. As a result, if you opt for a 7-miler run, you’ll burn roughly 700 calories. It’s simple math. Just don’t freak out. You don’t need to opt for long runs every day of the week. In fact, just one long run a week, preferably on the weekend, can help you get the max calories burning benefits.

Any run that’s more than 45 minute can be considered a long run. Nonetheless, this rule is not written in stone. That’s why the exact duration varies from one person to the next.

That’s why you ought to find what works the best for you and build on that. I know this goes against what I said earlier about the power of intervals, but you still need long runs—at least one per week—for a balanced running program.

Additional resource – Here’s how long does it take to lose 100 pounds.

9.Keep a Journal

You cannot improve on what you can’t measure. This quote is one of my favorite management quotes. It also works very well for managing your calorie intake.

One of the best ways to prevent mindless eating and stealth calories intake is to keep track in a journal of everything you’re putting in your mouth.

Doing so might sound tedious, but it pays off. Believe me.

Plenty of studies found that people how monitor their food intake via a food journal lose more weight and keep it off for longer than those who don’t take notes.

A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health reported that subjects doubled their weight loss when they logged their food intake regularly.

Keeping track of your daily diet choices and reviewing it regularly will help you see and get a bird’s view of where your diet needs improvement.

When you see how that donut or bag of cookies adds to your daily caloric intake, it might be easier to eliminate.

Assessing these details on a regular basis will help glean vital information about your habits and what needs changing. It will also highlight ways you can make healthier choices.

Start by logging everything you eat for at least one month, making sure to keep tabs on important details such as macro breakdown, calorie intake, timing of the meal, etc.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to run faster

10. Add Strength Training

Strength training will not only help you build a leaner and stronger body, but it’ll also help you become a better runner.

In fact, athletes who strength train regularly—two to three times per week—increased their leg strength and boosted their endurance, which is vital for weight loss and top performance, according to study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. That’s why you ought to supplement your road work with a proper strength training program.

Additional resource – How to measure body fat percentages

11. Be Patient

If you are anything like me, high expectations and short-term thinking is deeply ingrained within the way you think about the world and how things “ought” to happen. In fact, that’s how we are wired in western civilization.

When we want something we want it now, not tomorrow, not a week from, and definitely not a year from now. And this type of thinking has got us into all sorts of trouble. Check this excellent post on the dangers of instant gratification thinking. Delaying instant gratification is a hard pill to swallow especially when it comes to fat loss expectations.

Blaze Your Own Path Trying to follow in the footsteps of these overnight makeovers is often overwhelming and will only get you frustrated.

To dodge the silver bullet myth, make small changes, one at a time, and build on them. For starters, make running a habit. Then try eating a healthy breakfast every day. And so on. You get the picture.

These habits will eventually add up until you build that desired lifestyle.

Therefore, if you are not there yet, trust just be patient, and it will happen. The universe abides by the law of cause and effect, and as long as you opting for the healthy path (cause), you’ll definitely get to your desired destination.

Additional resource:

How to cut sugar intake

Guide to running terms

Conclusion The key to getting the weight loss results you are after is your speed of implementation. So make sure to start applying the above running guidelines as soon as you can. In the meantime, feel free to leave your comments below, or send me your questions if you need any help. Thank you for reading my post. Image Credit – Ed Yourdon Through Flick Enregistrer

6 Fat-Burning Running Workouts to Torch Calories and Boost Fitness

trail running

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of fat-burning running workouts?

Well, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect place to do just that!

Let me tell you, my friend, I have a deep love affair with running. The exhilaration of pounding the pavement, the wind in my hair, and the rhythm of my feet—it’s pure magic. And if you’re a fellow runner, you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?

My own journey with running began about 8 years ago when I made the life-changing decision to shed those extra pounds and get into tip-top shape. And let me tell you, weight loss is often the driving force behind many people’s decision to lace up their running shoes. It’s a common goal—to shed the weight and keep it off for good.

But here’s the thing, my friend. To truly maximize your weight loss potential with running, there are two key factors at play.

First, you must follow a sound and healthy diet (but that’s a topic for another time).

Second, and the star of today’s discussion, is the running routine itself—a carefully crafted plan designed to torch those calories in the most efficient way possible.

So, if you’re eager to supercharge your calorie burn on your next run, you’re in for a treat. I’ve got six incredible run workouts that will take your fat-burning potential to new heights. These workouts are specifically tailored to help you achieve maximum results in the shortest time possible.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the heart-pounding, sweat-inducing world of fat-burning run workouts. Trust me, your body will thank you for it!

Fat Burning Running Workout 1. Intervals

If you haven’t heard of intervals, you’ve been missing out on the ultimate calorie-burning secret in the running world. These short bursts of intense exercise paired with recovery periods are like dynamite for torching those extra calories.

Let’s dive into the science, shall we? A study conducted at the University of New South Wales in Australia revealed some eye-opening findings. Running intervals can burn up to three times as many calories as running at a comfortable, easy pace. That’s right, three times the calorie burn! Talk about maximizing your efforts.

And hold on tight, because there’s more research to back it up. Another study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that individuals who incorporated interval running into their workouts burned more calories in the 24 hours following their exercise session than those who stuck to slow, steady mileage.

But that’s not all.

The interval runners also experienced a significant decrease in body fat, around 4 percent, while the other group saw no changes. Now that’s what I call a fat-burning victory!

I could go on and on about the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for runners, but we’ll save that for another day. Trust me, it’s a topic worth exploring.

Getting Started

Now, let’s talk about getting started with your interval run workouts. The intensity and duration of each sprint will depend on your fitness level and training goals.

So, here’s a general guideline to get you on the right track:

First things first, warm-up is key. Spend a good 5 minutes jogging slowly to get your body primed and ready for action. Follow it up with dynamic exercises that engage your muscles and prepare them for the hard efforts ahead.

Once you’re properly warmed up, it’s time to kick it into high gear. Sprint for a glorious 20 seconds, giving it your all. Feel the wind in your hair, the power in your legs, and push yourself to the limit. Then, take a breather and jog for a well-deserved 30-second recovery period.

But we’re not done yet, my friend. Repeat this exhilarating cycle six to eight times, pushing yourself to new heights with each sprint. And when you’ve completed your final sprint, don’t forget to cool down. Jog slowly for another 5 minutes to gradually bring your heart rate back to normal, and make sure to stretch your entire body afterwards to keep those muscles happy and healthy.

Oh, and one last thing—don’t forget your trusty stopwatch. It’s your best friend for keeping track of your run intervals, ensuring you stay on top of your game.

Additional resource – Here’s how to reduce body fat.

Fat Burning Running Workout 2. Weighted Sprints

Are you ready to take your sprint game to the next level? Then it’s time to introduce the secret weapon: the weighted vest. Picture yourself strapping on this vest of power, adding a whole new dimension of intensity and calorie-burning fire to your sprints.

But hold on, it’s not just about the extra weight. There’s science behind it. According to a fascinating article published in Fitness Magazine, walkers who wore a weighted vest equivalent to roughly 20 percent of their body weight burned a whopping 14 percent more calories. That’s like turning up the heat on your calorie-burning furnace!

But here’s the icing on the cake: the benefits go beyond just torching calories. Runners who incorporate weighted vests into their training drills often experience a significant boost in performance once the weight is removed. It’s like training in a higher gravity environment, preparing your body to perform at its peak when the vest comes off. Talk about leveling up your running game!

Now, let’s talk about how to incorporate the weighted vest into your sprint routine. Stick to the same sprint pattern we discussed earlier, but this time, amp up the intensity and resistance by strapping on that vest. Start with a weight that feels comfortable, around five to ten pounds, or aim for a vest that’s about 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight.

Fat Burning Running Workout 3. Hill Runs

Are you ready to conquer the hills and take your sprint sessions to new heights? Get ready for the ultimate challenge because we’re about to dive into the world of hill sprints. Brace yourself because when it comes to intensity, hill sprints reign supreme.

Imagine this: hills are like the mighty dragons of the running world. They demand respect, but they also offer great rewards for those brave enough to conquer them. Fitness experts and training coaches consider hill sprints to be the pinnacle of running workouts. They are the crucible where champions are forged and limits are shattered.

So, what makes hills so superior? It’s simple, really.

When you tackle a hill, you’re engaging a whole army of muscles that would otherwise be taking a leisurely stroll on flat terrain. The increased effort and resistance of running uphill translate into a higher calorie burn and a killer full-body workout. It’s like unleashing the forces of nature within your own body.

But that’s not all. Hill sprints also work their magic by strengthening your lower body muscles, transforming you into a speed demon with explosive power. You’ll feel your fitness levels skyrocket as you conquer those inclines like a true champion.

If you’re itching to dive deeper into the world of hill running, make sure to check out my post dedicated to this epic topic. You’ll find even more tips and insights to help you conquer those hills like a seasoned warrior.

Now, let’s talk about how to get started with hill interval runs. If you have access to a treadmill, set it at a 5 percent incline to mimic the challenge of a hill. But if you’re feeling adventurous and crave the real deal, venture outside and find a gentle hill to conquer.

Before you charge up that hill, make sure you warm up properly. Spend around 5 minutes jogging on a flat surface, preparing your body for the battle ahead. And don’t forget some ballistic stretching to awaken those muscles and get them ready to tackle the incline.

Once you’re warmed up and primed for action, it’s time to face the hill. Dig deep, my friend, and run up that hill at a hard but sustainable pace for 20 seconds. Feel the burn, embrace the challenge, and conquer that hill with all your might. Then, jog back to the starting position, take a moment to recover, and prepare for your next ascent.

Repeat this epic cycle of conquering the hill six to eight times, adjusting the number of repetitions based on your fitness level and training goals. And when you’ve conquered that final hill, it’s time for a proper cool-down. Slowly jog back to your starting point, allowing your body to recover and soak in the glory of your triumph.

Running VS. Strength Training

Fat Burning Running Workout 4. The Stairs

Imagine stairs as the stairway to fitness heaven, a simple yet challenging path that leads to greatness. And the best part? Stairs are like a universal gym, offering endless opportunities for bodyweight exercises that will sculpt your muscles and push your limits.

When you step onto those stairs, you’re entering a realm of fitness possibilities. It’s like having a secret training ground right at your feet, waiting for you to unlock its full potential. With every step, you’re not just conquering the stairs, you’re conquering your own limitations and pushing yourself to new heights.

What I love most about stair workouts is the versatility they offer. You can incorporate a variety of bodyweight exercises into your stair routine, turning each step into an opportunity for strength and endurance. Elevate your push-ups by placing your hands on a step, feel the burn in your legs with stair lunges, defy gravity with explosive stair squat jumps, and challenge your core with plank holds. The stairs become your playground, and your body becomes a masterpiece in the making.

Finding the right stairs for your workout is easier than you might think. In almost any city, you can discover a multitude of suitable outdoor steps just waiting to be conquered. Whether it’s the grand staircase at the local school stadium, the stairs in your office building, or even the stairs in your own home, there’s a perfect flight of stairs out there for you. Just make sure they’re safe and ready to unleash your potential.

Now, let’s dive into the workout itself. But first, don’t forget to warm up properly. Take a leisurely stroll up and down the stairs, allowing your body to awaken and prepare for the intense challenge ahead. Give yourself at least five minutes to get those muscles primed and ready for action.

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to unleash your inner stair sprinter. Picture this: you’re at the bottom of the stairs, a fiery determination burning in your eyes. With a burst of energy, you sprint hard from the bottom to the top as fast as humanly possible. Feel the rush of adrenaline, the power of your legs propelling you upward. And as you reach the top, take a moment to soak in your accomplishment before gently jogging or power walking back down for recovery.

Repeat this cycle of stair sprints and recovery for at least 15 minutes. Challenge yourself, push your limits, and let the stairs become your training partner, pushing you to give it your all. And when you’ve conquered your final sprint, it’s time to bring your session to a close with a proper cool-down. Take a moment to slowly descend the stairs, allowing your heart rate to gradually return to normal. And don’t forget to stretch afterward, giving your hardworking muscles the love and care they deserve.

Additional resource – How to measure body fat percentage

Fat Burning Running Workout 5 Tabata Protocol Runs

Get ready to unleash the beast within with my all-time favorite running workout: the Tabata protocol. It’s like tapping into a hidden well of power and intensity that will leave you breathless and exhilarated. The Tabata session is a straightforward and no-nonsense approach to pushing your limits and taking your fitness to new heights.

Here’s how it works: for twenty seconds, you become a force of nature, giving it your all with maximum effort and output. And just when you think you can’t go any further, a brief ten-second rest allows you to catch your breath and prepare for the next explosive round. You repeat this cycle eight times, unleashing your inner warrior with every repetition.

But wait, there’s more! With the Tabata protocol I’m about to share with you, we’re taking things up a notch by incorporating bodyweight exercises into the mix.

This combination of Tabata sprints and bodyweight exercises will push your physical limits and leave you with a sense of accomplishment like no other.

The beauty of Tabata is that almost any exercise can be integrated into your sprints. Think squats, pull-ups, lunges—the options are endless. By using your own body weight in conjunction with running, you’re not only testing your stamina and endurance, but also building functional strength that translates to real-life movements.

Now, let’s dive into the routine. Remember, the basic recipe for Tabata training is twenty seconds of intense effort, followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated for a total of eight rounds. Brace yourself for the ultimate test of willpower and determination.

First, start with a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the intensity ahead. Engage in some light jogging, dynamic stretches, and mobilize your joints to get the blood flowing and your muscles primed for action.

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to unleash the fury. Choose an exercise—let’s say squats—and give it your all for twenty seconds. Feel the burn, feel your muscles working, and give it everything you’ve got. Then, take a well-deserved ten-second breather to recover and prepare for the next round.

Repeat this cycle for eight rounds, pushing yourself to new limits with each repetition. Embrace the burn, embrace the challenge, and tap into your inner strength. Remember, it’s not just about the physical exertion—it’s about pushing past your mental barriers and realizing your true potential.

When you’ve completed the Tabata sprints with squats, it’s time to move on to the next bodyweight exercise. Whether it’s pull-ups, lunges, or any other exercise of your choice, the same rules apply: twenty seconds of maximum effort, ten seconds of rest, and eight rounds of pure determination.

As you reach the end of your Tabata protocol, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve conquered the challenge, you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits, and you’ve proven that you are capable of extraordinary things. Take a moment to cool down with some light jogging or walking, allowing your heart rate to gradually return to normal. And don’t forget to stretch those hardworking muscles, showing them some love and promoting recovery.

After a decent warm-up (5-minute jog and some light stretching) do the following:

  • Exercise One: Sprint 200 meters, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Two: Tabata push-ups as many as possible in 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Three: Sprint 200 meters, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Four: Tabata squats as many as possible in 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Five: Sprint 200 meters, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Six : Tabata sit-ups as many as possible in 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Seven : Sprint 200 meters, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Eight: Tabata burpees as many as possible in 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest.
  • Exercise Nine: Sprint full effort until you can’t do no more.

Finish off this powerful session with a proper cool down.

Jog slowly for five minutes and stretch your whole body.

Additional resource – How to eat less sugar

Fat Burning Running Workout 6. Go Long

Forget what you’ve heard about long runs being the ultimate solution for weight loss while running.

While it’s true that a 30-minute sprint workout will torch more calories than a leisurely 45-minute jog, long runs still have their rightful place in your training program—no matter your fitness goals. Let me break it down for you and reveal why incorporating long, slow distance runs (LSD) into your routine can be a game-changer.

First and foremost, long runs are not just about burning calories in the moment. They serve a greater purpose by improving your overall fitness foundation, setting the stage for more effective high-intensity workouts. Think of them as the sturdy pillars supporting the structure of your running performance.

But that’s not all. Long runs work wonders for enhancing your cardiovascular capacity and strengthening your ligaments, making you more resilient and capable during intense sprints and shorter runs.

And let’s not forget about form and mechanics. Long runs provide the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your running technique. With each stride, you can focus on maintaining proper posture, engaging the right muscles, and optimizing your efficiency.

Now, before you lace up those shoes and hit the pavement for an epic long run, let me clarify a few important details. One session per week is sufficient to reap the maximum calorie-torching benefits. Keep the pace conversational, allowing yourself to comfortably hold a conversation while running. Aim for a duration of no more than 45 minutes, gradually increasing the time while adhering to the golden 10 percent rule: avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent to prevent overuse injuries.

So, there you have it—a balanced approach that combines the power of high-intensity workouts with the endurance-building benefits of long runs. It’s a recipe for success in your weight loss and fitness journey.

Give these fat-burning running workouts a try, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or questions in the comments below. If you’re hungry for more strategies on losing belly fat while running, be sure to check out my comprehensive article on the topic.

Thank you for joining me on this running adventure. Keep pushing your limits, celebrating your progress, and embracing the joy of the run.

Additional resource  – Trx for runners

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The Ultimate 8-Week Beginner Running Plan: How to Go from Zero to 5K

Free beginner running plan schedule

Are you ready to start a running plan? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Running not only improve your fitness and strength, but also helps reduce stress and improve your mood.

But where to start? As a beginner, the thought of starting a running routine may seem daunting. But fear not, because I’ve got your back with my eight-week beginner running plan that will take you from couch potato to avid runner in no time.

Think of yourself as a sloth-turned-speedster, with each day bringing you one step closer to your goal. And with my plan, you won’t have to worry about the risk of injury along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Lace up those sneakers, grab a water bottle, and let’s hit the ground running.

Trust me, with a little patience and perseverance, you’ll be crossing the finish line in no time.

The Benefits of Running

Running is good for you and has a lot to offer. Here are a benefits to consider:

Improved endurance

Regular running can improve your cardiovascular endurance, which is essential for overall health.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that six weeks of regular running improved the VO2 max (a measure of cardiovascular fitness) of sedentary adults by 17%.

Another study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that regular running improved the aerobic capacity of older adults by 25%. You also run a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes when you improve your endurance.

Helps you Lose Weight

Running burns calories and lots of them. A 150-pound person can burn around 250-300 calories by running at a moderate pace for 30 minutes.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage than sedentary folks.

What’s more?

Logging the miles on a regular basis helps you increase metabolism, leading to more calories burned throughout the day.

Improved Fitness Level

Running can improve your overall fitness level by strengthening your muscles and bones, improving your balance and coordination, and increasing your flexibility and range of motion.

Again, don’t take my word for it. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, regular running can improve muscular endurance and lower body strength.

Increased Bone Density

Running is a weight-bearing exercise that can help increase bone density. This, in turn, makes your bones stronger and guards against osteoporosis. My beginner plan gradually increases the intensity of your workouts, which can help stimulate bone growth and maintain bone density.

Of course, study backs this up. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that running can increase bone mineral density in premenopausal women.

Better Sleep

Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that moderate-intensity exercise, such as running, improved sleep quality and reduced the time it takes to fall asleep in older adults with insomnia.

Social Support and Community

Many people find that joining a running group or community can be a great way to stay motivated and committed to their exercise routine. A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that runners who trained in groups were more likely to stick to their training program and achieve their goals than those who trained alone.

Running And Mental Health

Running does your mind good. Research has found that regular exercise, especially running, can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Another systematic review published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that aerobic exercise, such as running, can effectively reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When you run, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters that can help alleviate stress and improve overall well-being. Adn that’s we often refered to as runners high in the running world.

What’s more?

Running provides an opportunity to clear your mind and engage in mindfulness, which can help reduce stress and promote mental clarity. The proof to this isn’t something you can find in a study, but has to be experienced first-hand.

What’s not to like, really!

Now that we have the reasons to start running out of the way, let’s actually get into the ins and outs of my beginner running plan.

Start Slow

Listen up, rookie runners, because I’m about to drop some truth bombs. You see, the biggest mistake new runners make is thinking they’re Usain Bolt on day one.

I hate to break it to you, but your body is not a machine built to withstand excessive pounding without consequences. You’re not the Terminator; you’re a human being with ligaments and joints that need to ease into things.

Trust me, I’ve seen it all. People who go from couch potato to marathon runner in a week. And what happens? They end up with more injuries than an NFL team during playoffs. I’m talking Runners Knee, shin splints, and other unpleasant surprises that’ll have you limping for days.

“But David, I’m in great shape! I’m basically a Greek god!”

That’s fantastic, but let me remind you that running is no walk in the park. It’s high-intensity, high-impact, and it can take a toll on even the most seasoned athletes.

But don’t worry my dear friend, there is hope. The key to success is simple: start slow and gradually increase your intensity. That’s right, the old tortoise and the hare story holds true here. Slow and steady wins the race.

If you’re not willing to follow this golden rule, then you might as well take up knitting or underwater basket weaving. Because let me tell you, there’s nothing more demotivating than getting injured early on and having to sit on the sidelines while your friends are out there breaking personal records.

So take it from me, your friendly neighborhood running guru. If you want to avoid the pain train and actually enjoy this whole running thing, take it slow and let your body ease into it. Your knees and shins will thank you later.

How Long Does it Take?

Well, my crystal ball is out of batteries, so I can’t give you the exact answer. But here’s the deal: becoming a runner is like making a smoothie. Everyone has different ingredients, different blenders, and different tastes. Some people like kale, while others prefer spinach. Some use a Vitamix, while others stick to the $20 blender from Walmart.

In other words, it depends on several factors.

These include:

  • Your current shape—or how to fit you where before you take up running.
  • Your age. The younger you are, the quicker you can get in shape.
  • Your current body weight. If you are overweight or many pounds heavier, then chances are it’s going to take you a little bit longer than someone with a healthy weight.
  • Your running program. If you follow my free beginner running plan, there’s a strong chance you can make it ASAP.

The Run-Walk Method

Running can seem daunting to beginners, but fear not! The walk/run method is here to save the day. It’s like dipping your toe into the running pool without diving in headfirst and risking injury.

The brainchild of Jeff Galloway, a legendary running guru, this method can help you build enough cardiovascular power to run straight for extended periods without risking injury and/or overtraining.

So what is it all about?

The run-walk method mixes running/jogging and walking for set periods. For example, you alternate one minute of jogging with one minute of walking for 20 to 30 minutes. As you get fitter, you simply increase the time spent running while shortening the duration and frequency of your walk breaks. And voila!

Additional resource – How to run a faster mile

Walking to Running Ratios

To make the most out of the walk/run method, you’d need to choose the right recipe to follow. And that entirely depends on your starting point. Choosing the right walk-to-running ratio is like choosing the right balance of milk and cereal. You don’t want to drown your cereal, but you also don’t want it to be too dry.

Here are three walk-to-running ratios to experiment with.

  • The Newbie: Jog for 20 to 30 seconds. Then walk for one to two minutes. It’s like testing the waters with a cautious toe-dip.
  • The Intermediate: Jog for three to five minutes. Then take a two to three minutes walking break. It’s like diving into the shallow end of the pool.
  • The Experienced: Jog for eight to ten minutes. Then walk for 30 seconds to one full minute. It’s like jumping off the diving board with confidence, knowing you won’t belly flop.

What’s more?

Another thing to keep in mind is to take walk breaks before the no-return point; otherwise, it might be too late for you to keep going. It’s like making sure to catch your breath before you start hyperventilating.

The Conversational Pace

Your training intensity also matters when following the walk-run method. That’s why, as a rule, run at an easy pace during the running intervals.

Your pace should be only slightly faster than your walking pace. This should be slower than you might think. And then slower still.

To achieve this, most experts recommend sticking to a conversational pace, the pace at which you keep a conversation with your buddy while running without much trouble. This is considered a moderate-intensity pace, or around 60 to 70 percent maximum heart rate.

Enter the Talk Test

This is the best way to monitor your training pace and effort. The Talk Test has been around for decades and is still here because it’s simple and works like a charm.

The principle is that if you can carry on a conversation with your training partner, you’re not overly challenging your cardiovascular system.

Distance Matters

TIME first, DISTANCE later. Make that your motto. It’s like building a strong foundation before you start building the house.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but only add distance and intensity once your body has properly adjusted to running’s high impact.

Remember that you have the rest of your life to work on getting fit. Don’t let unrealistic expectations dictate the pace of your workouts.

woman starting a run

Rest

And don’t forget to take plenty of rest between workouts, with two days off every week. It’s like giving your body a much-needed break after a tough week at work. Cross-training on recovery days is also a great idea. It’s like having a cheat day but for your running routine. Cycle, do some yoga, or go for a swim to switch things up.

And if you’re feeling sore after a running workout, just remember that pain is just weakness leaving the body. Keep pushing yourself, and you’ll get stronger.

For more on proper recovery, check my article here.

The 8-Week Running Plan For Beginners

Now, let’s talk about our 8-Week Running Plan for Beginners. This program is designed to take you from a complete beginner to being able to run a 5K distance comfortably.

But, it assumes that you’re a beginner runner who can already walk briskly for one hour four to six times per week.

Now, if you think that my beginner program is too much for you, don’t worry! You can always slow it down and repeat the workouts before cranking up the intensity. And if you can already run for more than half an hour with ease, then skip this and move on to something more challenging.

Experienced runners may up the ante by doing other forms of running, such as sprints, hill reps, or working on increasing mileage for the long run. But if you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with the basics and gradually building your endurance.

Remember, the beginner running plan is just the beginning. Once you reach your 5K goal, you can keep pushing yourself and set new goals. The sky’s the limit!

P.S. – You can also Try this couch to 5K plan On The Treadmill.

Beginner Running Plan – Week 1:

Warm up by walking for 5 minutes at a brisk pace.

Then alternate running for one minute at an easy pace followed by three minutes of brisk walking.

Example: Run 1 minute, walk 3-minute.

Repeat the cycle 5 to 7 times.

Finish off the sessions with a 5-minute easy walk.

Do three sessions per week.

Beginner Running Plan – Week 2:

Run 2-minute, walk 2-minute. Repeat six times.

Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan – Week 3:

Run 3-minute, walk 1-minute. Repeat five times.

Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan – Week 4:

Run 5-minute, walk 90-second. Repeat four times.

Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan  – Week 5:

Run 8-minute, walk 1-minute. Repeat three times. Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan  – Week 6:

Run 12-minute, walk 1-minute. Repeat three times. Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan  – Week 7:

Run 15-minute, walk 1-minute and run another 15-minute. Do three workouts.

Beginner Running Plan  – Week 8:

Run 30-minute at an easy and controlled pace. Do TWO workouts.

This is a basic beginner plan, so feel free to adjust this program to meet your own needs and fitness level.

More Resources for The Beginner Runner

I hate to break it to you but this just your first step in the world of running!

If you stay consistent and committed, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Here are more resources.

That’s it for today.

Thank you for stopping by

Cheers.

David D.