Skip to content
Join Life Time
collage of photos for a running and strength workout

Explore this workout:

Workout Overview  ⋅  Warm-up  ⋅  Set 1  ⋅  Set 2  ⋅  Set 3

Whether you’re a 5Ker or a marathoner, getting strong can be a boon. “Runners need to strength train in order to develop the different muscle groups that are involved in running,” says Olivia Cotton, CPT, a Life Time coach and personal training lead in Atlanta. This has been shown to improve running economy as well as protect against injury.

But fitting in resistance training with a running routine — not to mention with adequate recovery — can be a challenge.

Not only is it difficult to make time, but it can be tricky to get the maximum benefits from either modality. That’s because running and strength training deplete muscles of the energy necessary for significant gains in one or the other, explains Cotton.

To get around this, she advises, combine strength training with speedwork rather than with long, low-intensity endurance runs. Strength training and sprinting typically recruit similar fast-twitch muscle fibers, so doing both in one workout can be effective. “Combining running intervals with strength exercises is an efficient way to work strength, speed, and power if you don’t have a lot of time,” says Cotton.

What does a strength–speed hybrid workout look like? Think intervals: running up to two minutes at a time between dynamic, full-body strength moves and plyometric exercises.

Workout Overview

Cotton designed this workout to be done on a treadmill, on a track, or anywhere else you can run and secure space nearby for basic strength moves.

  • You’ll need a stopwatch, mat, and bench.
  • A pair of dumbbells is optional.
  • Try the strength exercises first with just your body weight and add weights only if you are able to maintain good form for the duration of a set.
  • Perform this workout once a week.

Tip: Choose footwear that supports your feet sufficiently while running short distances and allows for ground feel and lateral motion. If possible, avoid sneakers that are heavily cushioned as well as those with zero support and hard, flat soles.

Warm-up

This warm-up will prepare you for running and for the full-body, explosive moves in this workout.

  1. Begin by walking or jogging, gradually increasing the speed to a steady running pace (not a sprint) for six minutes.
  2. Then perform three rounds of the two warm-up exercises (below) to activate the glutes and core-stabilizer muscles.

Increasing Running Pace

a man jogging

Perform for 6 minutes.

Full Instructions
  • Begin by walking or jogging, gradually increasing the speed to a steady running pace (not a sprint) for six minutes.

Hollow Body Hold With Hip Abduction

Perform 20 reps. Make sure to breathe. (If your low back starts to arch or come off the ground, reset and continue.)

Full Instructions
  • Lie on your back with legs extended and arms by your sides. Engage your core to press your lower back to the ground.
  • Keep your abs contracted as you lift your feet a few inches and then lift your head and shoulders slightly. You can keep your arms at your sides — or extend them overhead for a greater challenge.
  • Hold this position as you open and close your legs, moving from legs together to a wide V-shape, for 20 reps. Make sure to breathe. If your low back starts to arch or come off the ground, reset and continue.

Explosive Single-Leg Glute Bridges

Perform 8 reps on each side.

Full Instructions
  • Lying on your back, bend your knees so that your feet are directly beneath them. Extend your left leg out in front of you.
  • Exhale and quickly press your right foot into the ground to lift your hips while keeping your pelvis level. This movement should be snappy and powerful, but don’t let the planted foot leave the ground.
  • Inhale as you slowly lower back to the ground.
  • Repeat for eight reps. Switch sides.

Perform three rounds of the above two warm-up exercises to activate the glutes and core-stabilizer muscles.

↑ Back to Top

Set 1

  • Perform three rounds of the following two strength moves.
  • Run for one minute after each round. Your pace should be around a 7 out of 10 on an effort scale of 1 to 10.
  • Rest for 60 seconds between rounds.

Single-Leg Deadlift With Knee Drive

This exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings with emphasis on the lateral hip; it helps improve balance and stability.

Perform 10 reps per side.

Full Instructions
  • Stand on your right foot and inhale as you hinge at your hips, bending your knee while keeping your shin vertical. Reach your left arm toward your right foot and allow your right arm to extend behind you.
  • Exhale as you quickly drive through your right foot and drive the left knee forward to rise to standing. Bring your right arm forward and allow your left arm to extend.
  • Repeat for 10 reps. Switch sides.
  • Progress this move by holding a pair of dumbbells.

Snap Downs With Vertical Jump

This exercise helps build power in the large muscles of the lower body as well as in the core.

Repeat for 5 reps.

Full Instructions
  • Stand tall on the balls of your feet with your feet at hip width and arms extended overhead.
  • Drop quickly into an athletic position, pulling your arms down in front of you. You’ll land in a partial squat, knees over the toes and upper body leaning slightly forward, with your arms extended behind you. This is the snap down.
  • Hold for a moment, then jump straight into the air, bringing your arms overhead again. This is the vertical jump.
  • Transition from the vertical jump back into the snap down. Land softly on the balls of your feet as you powerfully drive your arms down. Again, hold the partial squat in the bottom of the snap down before repeating the vertical jump.
  • Repeat for five reps.

Run 1 Minute

running

Run at 70 percent effort.

Perform three rounds of the above two strength moves.
Run for one minute after each round. Your pace should be around a 7 out of 10 on an effort scale of 1 to 10.
Rest for 60 seconds between rounds.

↑ Back to Top

Set 2

  • Perform three rounds of the following two strength moves.
  • Sprint for 30 seconds after each round. This should be significantly faster than your one-minute pace and closer to your max speed.
  • Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between rounds.

Rear-Foot Elevated Eccentric Split Squat With Tempo (4/2/1)

This exercise strengthens the quads, glutes, and hamstrings with emphasis on the lateral hip.

Perform 8 reps each side.

Full Instructions
  • Stand on your right foot two to three feet in front of a bench, with your left foot elevated on the bench behind you.
  • Inhale as you sit back and bend your right knee to lower on a count of four into a split squat. Keep your knee tracking over your middle toe — don’t let it cave inward.
  • Hold the bottom position for two seconds.
  • Exhale, then drive through your right foot to rise to standing.
  • Repeat for eight reps. Switch sides.

Progress this move by holding a pair of dumbbells.

Skier With Transverse Broad Jump

This exercise trains muscles in the core and hips to move and stabilize in the lateral and transverse planes of motion.

Perform 5 reps on each side.

Full Instructions
  • Stand on your right foot with your knee slightly bent.
  • Exhale as you push off laterally to hop toward your left and land softly on your left foot. Inhale.
  • Exhale, then quickly rotate your body 90 degrees as you hop off your left foot.
  • Land softly on both feet.
  • Repeat for five reps. Switch sides.

Sprint

sprinting

Sprint for 30 seconds. This speed approaches your max effort. Aim for 8 to 10 on an effort scale of 1 to 10.

Perform three rounds of the above two strength moves.
Sprint for 30 seconds after each round. This should be significantly faster than your one-minute pace and closer to your max speed.
Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between rounds.

↑ Back to Top

Set 3

  • Perform four rounds of the following two strength moves without running in between.
  • Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between rounds.

Body-Weight Thruster

Perform 6 reps.

Full Instructions
  • Stand with your feet at hip width and place your fingertips on your shoulders.
  • Inhale as you lower into a squat, reaching your hips back. Keep your core engaged and your elbows up.
  • Exhale, then drive your feet into the ground as you extend your hips and knees and simultaneously extend your arms to reach overhead.
  • Perform six reps.

Progress this move by holding a pair of dumbbells.

Inchworms With Pushup

Perform 6 reps

Full Instructions
  • From standing, walk your hands out to a plank position.
  • Perform a pushup: Inhale as you bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle and lower your chest toward the ground, keeping your core engaged and back flat. Exhale to press back up to the start position. Lower to your knees, as needed, to perform a full-range pushup.
  • Walk your hands back toward your feet and rise to standing.
  • Perform six reps.

Perform four rounds of the above two strength moves without running in between.
Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between rounds.

↑ Back to Top

This article originally appeared as “Run Strong” in the March/April 2023 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Looking for More Running Workouts?

Photography: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Model: Danny King
Nicole
Nicole Radziszewski

Nicole Radziszewski is a writer and personal trainer in River Forest, Ill. She blogs at www.mamasgottamove.com.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More From Life Time

A dynamic personal trainer in a training session with a client.

Dynamic Personal Training

Go further, faster. Available only at Life Time, this revolutionary approach to training fully engages your mind, body and spirit to help you achieve more than you ever thought possible.

Book a Dynamic Personal Training Session

ADVERTISEMENT

More Like This

man running on treadmill

5 Strength Exercises for New Runners

By Callie Fredrickson

Running is about more than just speed and miles. Strengthening your body can help you push the pace and go the distance.

a man running

The Murph Challenge

By Maggie Fazeli Fard

This challenging workout — 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats bookended by one-mile runs — is more popular than ever. World-record holder Alec Blenis talks about how to tailor it to your unique skill level.

Back To Top