Most runners prefer to complement their running routine with alternate workouts in order to work on those muscle groups that are not used to their full potential while running. Strength workouts are particularly important, as they not only develop muscle power but also help in building running speed. Whether you’re a short or long distance runner, you’ll see a visible change in your pace after a few weeks of following a dedicated strength routine. The kind of exercises you choose should ultimately help you build the necessary power in your cores to give you the needed kick-start before your run. Here are some routines that help in building speed and endurance, when you hit the gym along with your marathon training.

Straight-leg deadlift

Keep a pair of heavy weights on the floor ahead of you. Bending from the hips and with your back straight, lower your torso and pick up the weights. Remember to keep your cores and glutes firm and tight as you straighten up. Hold and then slowly lower the weights onto the floor. Do 12-16 reps in two sets.

Benefit: This routine helps develop power in the glutes and hip extensors, translating in a better push off whenever you increase your pace.

Overhead lunge
Stand with a pair of weights above your shoulders. Your arms should be straight with the elbows tucked in. Now step forward on one leg and lower your body until the front knee of the extended leg is perpendicular to the ground. Slowly return to the start position and proceed to repeat the same with the other leg. Do about 10-12 repetitions.

Benefit: This workout strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and cores and adds more power to these essential muscle groups.

Dumbbell Squats
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes straight ahead, dumbbell in each hand. With arms bent 90 degrees, hold dumbbells at shoulder-height. Sit back like there’s a chair behind you, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Driving through your heels, return to the standing position, ensuring your lower back stays in a neutral position. Perform 10 reps.

Benefit: This strengthens your hamstrings, quads and back, helping you keep perfect running form through your training.

Step-up with knee raise
Hold weights on both hands and step up on a 2-3 ft high bench or platform. With one foot on the bench, bring the other foot all the way up, with the knee being perpendicular to the floor. Hold for two seconds and then lower your foot down. Do 10-12 reps for both sides.

Benefit: The routine engages the core and the glute muscles and improves lateral strength and mobility in the lower body.

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