As a runner you probably put the miles in each week but why should you also build up your strength? Basically it will help to prevent injury, may also improve your efficiency as a runner and also improve your running economy.
For runners it is important to focus on single leg exercises. This is because as a runner you only have one foot on the ground at any given time. So single leg exercises best reflect what you will be doing when running. But also it will help you to build two equally strong legs. The truth is that when you exercise on two legs the stronger leg will do more of the work. When you are starting single leg exercises try to start with your weaker leg. Exercises to focus on include:
Holding a kettlebell in one hand, stand on the leg on the same side and bend at the hip extending your free leg behind you
Lift one foot off the floor, put your arms in front of you. Lower yourself into a squat so that your lifted leg is straight out in front of you.
This is an exercise machine exercise. Plant one foot on the platform and fully extend the knee then return to the starting position
These exercises help to build strength in the hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes. All critical muscle groups for runners. The hips in particular are very important when running as they will help to create a consistent cadence. Exercises here include:
With feet shoulder width apart bend at the hip, so you grip the bar at shoulder width. Lower your hips and flex the knees until your shins contact the bar. Keeping your chest up move the weight upwards, as you pass the knees pull the bar back and then lower the bar.
Hold the barbell just below shoulder height, your feet should be shoulder width apart, descend into the squat then drive back up through your heels.
Supporting the barbell on the top of the traps, keep your back straight and head up descend then drive the weight back upwards.
You may also think of plyometric as jump training. Essentially plyometric is all about jumping and or hopping but crucial to it is the understanding that a concentric muscle contraction (take off phase) is much stronger if it immediately follows an eccentric contraction (landing phase) of the same muscle. Plyometric exercises are all about explosive actions and they are really good at building power. Why is that important in running? Well because it will make you a more efficient runner particularly building efficient strides. Exercises that can be good for runners include: