With the onset of winter, the weather conditions can make it hard to stick to your running schedule. But don’t worry – a total gym workout for runners can help you stay in shape and improve your running.
A complete workout
A good workout for runners will focus on developing the core and legs – the two muscle groups used most in running.
Here’s an hour-long gym workout which could help improve your running performance:
- Warm-up (5 mins) – a gentle jog on the treadmill
- Stretching (5 mins) – try 5 exercises focussing on your legs to get the muscles warm
- Running training (40 mins) – on a treadmill try to follow your regular training or mix it up with interval training
- Strength training (10 mins) – to finish spend some time doing 5 exercises focussing on core stability
Warming up and stretching
Runners often do without stretching as it’s not always convenient to do exercises in the park or on a street corner late at night. But if you’re training indoors, there’s no reason not to spend some time getting your muscles warm and stretched before you get started.
As a rule, try to do 5 to 10 minutes of jogging on the treadmill first to warm up before you do your stretching exercises. This way you’ll avoid stretching ‘cold’ muscles and will reduce the risk of injury.
A basic stretching routine for runners should include these exercises:
- Calf and Achilles tendon stretch
- Hamstrings stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Inner thigh stretch
- Groin stretch
And if you’re injury-prone, try to stretch muscles in those areas too to minimise the risk of the problem recurring during a workout.
Explore all stretching exercises for runners
Running on the treadmill
For many runners, the treadmill can seem boring when compared to running outside. But when the temperature drops outside or there’s snow on the ground, it’s better than not running at all.
The treadmill may actually provide a welcome relief from the pounding your knees and ankles receive with each road run. Offering much more bounce, the treadmill can reduce the risk of injury.
You can follow your regular training plan on the treadmill. Or if you find that too monotonous, you can mix it up with interval training. For example, try 10 sets of 2 minutes at a higher speed with an easy jog of 1 minute in between.
As a base level, make sure you set the treadmill’s incline to at least 1 – 1.5 to simulate the right amount of resistance for road running.
Core stability exercises
Strength training helps you become a more complete runner, and it’s also a great way to lose weight and tone your body.
The most important muscles to train are your core muscles to stabilize your spine and pelvis. These muscles consist of your shoulders, back, and abdomen . Having good core stability helps you maintain a correct running posture, especially when you get tired.
Here’s a few exercises you can try to improve your core stability:
- Front plank (30 sec)
- Side plank left (15 sec)
- Side plank right (15 sec)
- 15 push-ups
- 15 straight crunches
From here you can build up your exercise load step by step. You can also add exercises for your leg muscles to help build the strength you’ll need for running.
See all strength exercises for runners
Read more about how strength training benefits runners
Get the right gear for the gym
It's okay to use your regular running shoes for training on the treadmill. However, if you're thinking of getting an extra pair specifically for the gym, keep in mind that they require less cushioning as the impact of the treadmill is much less than on the road.
If you’re planning on spending plenty of time in the gym this winter, you might want to think about getting clothing designed especially for gym training. Gyms tend to have a more comfortable temperature so there should be no need for windstoppers, hats, gloves, GTX shoes or any of the warmer clothing you’ll need outside.
Check out our collection of running shoes and clothes