The Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Whether you are new to running or have been running for years, have you ever considered the benefits of adding strength training to your weekly regime? Regular strength training for runners has many positive benefits including the following:

  • Improved running economy. Running economy is essentially how efficient you are whilst running at a given speed.
  • Faster time trial performance. A study that implemented a 6-week running specific strength training twice weekly found an improvement in 5km time trial performance.
  • Faster maximal sprint speed, one study showed improvements of 2-8%.
  • Reducing injury risk and incidents of running injuries, increasing a runner’s capacity to withstand greater training loads and keep doing what you enjoy.

So now you know the evidence here are some tips to help you get started with a strength training program:

  • Seek advice from an Exercise Physiologist; the gym can be an overwhelming place. Seeking advice from a health professional can help to perform the correct assessments and set up a plan that works for you and your individual body.
  • Lift heavy; a common misconception is that runners need to lift lighter weights with high repetitions.
  • Two sessions a week is optimal to improve running performance
  • Include plyometrics; which basically means jumping exercises.

If you would like assistance in getting started with a strength program, chat to one of our friendly staff to book an assessment with one of our Exercise Physiologists at Pro Health Care.

Pro Exercise SA Zoe Toland, Exercise Physiologist


  1. Beattie, K, Carson, BP, Lyons, M, Rossiter, A, and Kenny, IC (2017). The effect of strength training on performance indicators in distance runners. J Strength Cond Res 31(1): 9–23.
  2. Karsten B, Stevens L, Colpus M, et al. The effects of sport-specific maximal strength and conditioning training on critical velocity, anaerobic running distance, and 5-km race performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2016;11:80–5.
  3. STØREN, Ø., Helgerud, J. A. N., Støa, E. M., & Hoff, J. A. N. (2008). Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(6), 1087-1092.
  4. Yamamoto LM, Lopez RM, Klau JF, et al. The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res 2008;22:2036–44.

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