Run And Become | Weight Training For Runners

Written by Jamie Bantleman

Runners often come across many joint pain and muscle tears when competing or when training becomes intense. While weight training  for muscle gain or fat loss may not be at the top of the agenda of a runner, they will definitely see performance improvement when they are physically stronger.


Periodising your training programme is a key point in anyone’s workout plan, whether you are a bodybuilder, marathon runner or the average gym go-er. Get the most out of your training time, plan ahead and periodise your training. If you’re taking on a challenge,  slowly increase your distance over time, this will reduce the likelihood of injury and help you go that extra mile!
If you are training to run a marathon, take note. Don’t run yourself to the ground, break your training up and slowly increase the volume and intensity. Give yourself the best possible preparation with our 20 week  training programme below.


Training Programme: Train And Prepare

Week 1 – 2: 3 Miles (three times per week)

Week 2 – 4: 4.5 Miles (three times per week)

Week 4 – 6: 6 Miles (three times per week)

Week 6 – 8: 7.5 Miles (three times per week)

Week 8 – 10: 9 Miles (three times per week)

Week 10 – 12: 10.5 Miles (twice per week)

Week 12 – 14: 12 Miles (twice per week)

Week 14 – 16: 13.5 Miles (twice per week)

Week 16 – 18: 15 Miles (twice per week)

Week 18 – 20: 16.5 Miles (once per week)

Week 20 – 22: 18 Miles (once per week)


runners training

A marathon is gruelling and hard work, you don’t always need a trial run at this, if you can complete the 18 miles in weeks 21 and 22 successfully, you will be able to use the adrenaline and sheer determination to push your body through the pain of a marathon to complete it in good time.


You may look at this plan and think, “wow, that’s a long period of time”. You are right, this is not an easy task, running a marathon is hard work and can be dangerous if you are unprepared due to dehydration, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and stress on the heart. Therefore taking time to prepare is key.

runners training

Also, rushing through the phases of training won’t help you in the long run. Mix your training up with the addition of weight training. Whilst you may be running that specific mileage 3 times per week at the beginning of your training, you can be doing specific weight training exercises to improve performance and aid you during a long distance run.


Maintaining muscular balance is a very important factor in building a solid foundation to long distance running and being successful in reaching your goal. To do this, a programme following a unilateral movement into a bilateral movement can be very effective twice per week.


Training only twice per week will ensure you are also having enough rest and recovery between sessions. This is another key component to being successful when training for a long distance run. Often muscle and joint injuries come from repetitive strain problems through a lack of rest. It is important to use one of the following sources of recovery on your rest days:


» Sports Massage

» Heat Treatment inc. sauna, steam room, fire and ice room, hydro pools, ice baths.

» Swimming

» Yoga or Pilates

» Healthy diet plan inc. high protein and carbohydrates

» Sufficient sleep/rest


runners training


Weight Training


When weight training for any sport, it is mainly about reducing the risk of injury to ensure you can be at an optimal level of fitness throughout the season, in this case throughout weeks 1-22. Strengthening the hamstrings, glutes and quads to avoid tears and to reduce muscular atrophy is key in this plan.


   Session 1        
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Front Foot Elevated Cable Split Squat 5 8 3110 30s
A2 Nordic Raises 5 8 4010 120s
B1 High Step Up 5 10 3010 30s
B2 RDL 5 10 3010 120s
C1 Bulgarian Split Squat 5 12 3010 30s
C2 Lying Leg Curl 5 12 3010 120s
Session 2
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Single Leg Press 5 8 3110 30s
A2 Deadlift 5 8 4010 120s
B1 Standing Leg Curl 5 10 3010 30s
B2 Heels Elevated Dumbbell Squat 5 10 3010 120s
C1 Dumbbell Walking Lunges 5 12 3010 30s
C2 Leg Extension 5 12 3010 120s


runners training


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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