The Best Workout for Runners

Struggling to find the perfect workout for your running goals? You’re not alone. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, this article offers the best workout for runners to help you reach your peak performance.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Runners

  • ✅Mixing up Your Workouts can Improve Running Performance – Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School)
  • ✅Doing Strength Workouts Can Increase Running Speed – American Council on Exercise
  • ✅Incorporating Yoga into a Running Training Program Can Improve Performance – US National Library of Medicine
  • ✅Plyometric Training Can Help Increase Performance – Runner’s World
  • ✅Long Slow Distance Training is Effective for Distance Runners – British Journal of Sports Medicine

Pre-Run Warm-Up

Warming up before a run is essential for avoiding injury and getting the most out of your workout. A warm-up helps increase the heartrate, improves blood flow to the muscles, and raises the body temperature. It is especially important for runners to warm-up because running places a significant amount of stress on the body.

Let’s explore the best pre-run warm-ups for runners:

Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that involves continuous and fluid movements. This type of stretching is beneficial for runners as it helps to warm up and improve range of motion without any sudden changes in direction. Dynamic stretches engage the muscles used for running and can help reduce any chance of injury before a run.

Examples of dynamic stretches include:

  • Skipping
  • Toe touches
  • Leg swings
  • Lunges
  • Shuffles

Performing dynamic stretches prior to a run can help you increase your speed and performance while also reducing the chance of sustaining an injury. Warming up with dynamic stretches wakes up the muscles before the actual movements are performed during a run which can lead to improved coordination and strength.

Mobility exercises

Mobility exercises are an important part of any pre-run warm-up routine. As runners, it’s important to keep our bodies moving efficiently and injury-free. Mobility exercises help improve range of motion, flexibility, and coordination. As a result, mobility exercises can also help increase performance as well as reduce your risk for injury.

Mobility exercises typically include dynamic stretching, foam rolling or lacrosse ball smashing, dynamic postural drills, and other mobility movements that focus on one specific muscle group or joint at a time. Typically these movements will involve both active and passive ranges of motion and can include:

  • Squatting to open up the hips
  • Reaching over head for shoulder mobility work
  • Banded distractions for the ankles or wrists
  • Thoracic spine mobilization work with a roller or foam ball/block/barbell, etc.

The goal is to focus on any restrictions you may have while running either in terms of range of motion (ROM) or tightness in certain muscles that could affect your performance and put you at risk for injury while running. Mobility exercises should always be completed before beginning your run warm-up routine as they will not only help enhance performance but also reduce your risk for injury during your run!

Strength Training

Strength training is an important part of any runner’s workout routine. It helps to develop the muscles used in running and can reduce the risk of injury by improving the stability and strength of the muscles. Furthermore, strength training helps to improve running performance and increases the power output of the muscles.

In this article, we will discuss why strength training is essential for runners and how to incorporate it into your workout routine.

Core exercises

Core exercises are an important component of strength training for runners. A strong core and torso makes it easier to run with good form and efficient technique. Core exercises help to keep the spine and pelvis stable while running, allowing the arms and legs freedom of movement. This can help reduce fatigue during a race or long-distance run.

Common core exercises include planks, squats, lunge variations, and side bends. While there are no specific sets/repetitions, aim for 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions per exercise to increase muscular endurance and improve overall performance.

It is essential to ensure that you use proper form when performing these exercises to avoid potential injury. Make sure that your back is straight, your chin is tucked in towards your chest, your abs stay tight throughout the move, and you maintain full range of motion – from fully contracted muscles down to full extension – throughout each exercise.

Upper body exercises

Upper body exercises are an important part of any runner’s workout routine. By building strength in the arms, shoulders and chest, runners can improve their form and efficiency while running. Upper body exercises can also help to prevent muscle imbalances, which can lead to pain and decreased performance.

Some of the best upper body exercises for runners include:

  • Push-ups
  • Triceps dips
  • Bent over rows
  • Bicep curls
  • Lateral raises

All of these exercises target the main muscle groups used during running: chest, shoulders and arm muscles. Repetitions should be kept relatively high (15-20), but weight should remain light enough to ensure proper form throughout the entire movement. It’s also important to take time between sets to allow for adequate recovery before repeating these upper body exercises in order to prevent injury or overtraining.

Lower body exercises

Strength training your lower body is an essential element for any runner and helps you become a faster, stronger, and healthier athlete. Lower body exercises target the leg muscles such as the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves. Exercises such as squats, lunges, and step-ups improve the strength of these muscles and protect against injuries while running.

Squats and lunges also help with running form by teaching how to maintain a powerful and efficient push off from the ground. Additionally, strengthening your lower body can improve running efficiency by engaging more muscles when pushing off from each stride which will have a direct effect on your speed.


Cardio is an important part of any fitness routine for runners, as it can help you to increase your aerobic capacity and improve your endurance. Along with traditional running, there are a variety of other cardio workouts that can help you improve your running performance.

Let’s take a look at some of the best cardio workouts for runners:

Interval training

Interval training is a popular and effective type of aerobic exercise for runners. It involves alternating short periods of higher-intensity “work” with briefer, lower-intensity “rest” periods. This type of workout is great for improving speed, endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

When running intervals, it is recommended to start with a warm up consisting of 2–5 minutes at a lower intensity, followed by several sets of shorter work intervals alternating with brief recovery periods. During work intervals, the heart rate should increase significantly and maintain that level until the end of the interval before using the recovery period to bring it back down again before starting the next interval. A cool down period should also be included after completing each interval session to allow for gradual lowering of heart rate back to its resting state.

Hill sprints

Hill sprints are an excellent workout choice for runners who want to build strength and endurance. This type of exercise involves running up a steep hill as fast as possible, usually for distances of less than 200 meters.

Hill sprints increase your running speed, power and strength, while simultaneously improving coordination and balance. By running uphill, you not only challenge your muscles but also engage different muscle fibers that are not used when running on a flat surface. As a result, you build stronger muscles and tendons to help protect against injuries.

In addition to this physical benefits, hill sprints can also improve mental toughness as they require focusing hard during the short period of time that it takes to complete them. The extra effort can be rewarding for runners as it will teach them how to push through difficult tasks with confidence.

Tempo runs

Tempo runs are a type of workout used by runners to improve speed and endurance. The basic premise of tempo running is to run at a pace that is slightly slower than your race pace for a set distance or a set amount of time. This type of run will not only allow you to build up your endurance and speed, but also teach your body how to better handle the stresses that come with running long and fast races.

This type of workout is typically done once or twice a week, with the distance and duration depending on the individual runner’s ability and goals. Tempo runs are usually done in pieces ranging from 10-20 minutes each, though it may be extended further depending on the runner’s fitness level. The goal is to run at an even pace throughout the entire session, so it’s important not to start too quickly or push too hard during the session. Tempo running allows runners to build endurance while still pushing themselves in their training sessions without going full out every time they hit the track.

Post-Run Cool-Down

After a long run, it’s important to cool down your body in order to avoid post-run fatigue and injuries. Cooling down helps to gradually bring your heart rate down and transition your muscles from their intense workout into rest.

This article will explore the best post-run cool-down methods for runners:

Static stretching

Static stretching is a type of stretching exercise where each stretch is held for a period of time, usually between 10 to 30 seconds. It’s an effective way for runners to cool down after their run without having to slow down and lose momentum.

Some examples of static stretching exercises include:

  • Quad or hamstring stretches
  • Calf stretches
  • Chest or arm stretches
  • Lower back stretches
  • Hip flexor exercises

Static stretching is best done after your main workout when your muscles are warm and receptive to the stretch. It’s important to remember not to push yourself too far – only stretch until you feel a slight discomfort in the muscle group but never force it past that point. Static stretching can help reduce muscular tension and improve flexibility, which can help prevent injury.

Foam rolling

Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that uses a foam roller to target muscles, knots and trigger points in the body. As runners use a lot of their legs and core, it can be beneficial for them to practice foam rolling after their run.

Foam rolling helps break up any muscle tension or knots, provides temporary relief from soreness, stimulates blood flow to the areas being rolled, improves range of motion, and helps eliminate lactic acid build-up. It can also help reset the nervous system and promote relaxation.

Foam rollers are available in various shapes, sizes and firmness levels to suit individual needs. The most popular types are cylindrical foam rollers that measure 6”-36” in length. When starting out with foam rolling it is important start slowly and work within your own comfort level – you should always be aware of how your body is feeling while performing this activity.


Recovery is an essential part of a runner’s workout routine. After a hard workout or race, it is important to give your body time to heal and repair. This can be done through rest, foam rolling, stretching, and other forms of active recovery.

Let’s explore some of the best methods for recovering after a run:


Getting sufficient and quality sleep is an essential part of any runner’s recovery process. Sleep helps your body restore its energy levels and repair itself. Without good sleep, your performance can suffer, you’re more likely to get injured, and you won’t be able to reach your peak performance level. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults (18 to 64) get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

To help maximize the benefit of each night’s rest for runners, it is important to ensure the environment is conducive to quality rest. This means the bedroom should be as dark as possible, a comfortable temperature should be maintained, noise should be kept to a minimum, and no electronics should present in the bedroom. Additionally, setting a regular sleep schedule—retiring for bed at the same time each night—can help regulate body clock rhythms and ensure consistent quality recovery cycles.


Nutrition is key to recovery after a run, and maintaining a balanced diet will go a long way in helping your body stay healthy throughout your running journey. Carbohydrates are one of the most important elements for runners because they help restore energy stores that have been depleted during exercise. It’s also important to make sure that you’re eating enough protein, which helps with muscle repair and rebuilding, essential vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats.

It’s important to fuel your body while running with energy gels or bars, but it’s even more important that you replenish your body afterward. Eating a proper post-run meal will help replenish glycogen stores and increase muscle repair. Eating meals or snacks containing protein and carbohydrates within 45 minutes of finishing your workout can help make up for any loss of energy during the run. Not only does proper nutrition aid in immediate recovery, but it can also pave the way for future runs by helping strengthen muscles over time.


Hydration is an important factor in recovery for runners. It helps to replace the fluids lost through sweat during exercise and can also help to restore electrolyte balance and reduce inflammation. Water should be the main source of hydration; however, sports drinks can be consumed during and after exercise to replenish essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Other post-run hydrating beverages include milk and coconut water – both of which offer additional benefits such as protein and carbohydrate for muscle repair and energy restoration.

To properly re-hydrate after running, aim for 16–24 ounces of fluid per hour of running or walking. Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline and athletes should adjust their hydration strategy based on individual needs, environmental conditions, as well as sweat rate and intensity of the run.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Runners

Q: What are the best exercises for runners?

A: The best exercises for runners include running drills and plyometric exercises to improve speed and agility, strength training to build lower body muscle and core body strength, and stretching to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

Q: How often should runners workout?

A: This depends on the individual runner and their experience level. Novice runners should start with 2-3 days of running per week and gradually build up mileage and intensity as their fitness level improves. Experienced runners may work up to 4-5 days of running per week.

Q: What other activities are beneficial for runners?

A: In addition to running, activities such as swimming, cycling, and yoga can be beneficial for runners. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that can help build overall endurance, while cycling and yoga can help improve flexibility and range of motion.

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