There are more ways than just hitting the trails or local track to improve your cardiovascular conditioning for running. You can improve your running speed and endurance with dynamic and fun movements in the gym or at home with little to no equipment.
Here are some top exercises for runners who want to improve their strength, speed and stability while out for a long run. Each exercise should be done for 30 seconds, working up to one minute, or more, depending on how you feel. Repeat each exercise 2-3 rounds.
Warm-up (1 minute each)
- Jog on the spot kicking your butt
- Jog on the spot with knees up
- Jumping jacks
- Side-t0-side hops
1. Squat Jump
- 30 seconds
- Why do this? Plyometric power will help you improve your running economy, reducing your need to use up much needed energy.
- Start in a lowered squat position, arms in front of you, burst up into a jump, land back in a squat position.
- Repeat for 30 seconds.
2. Lunge With Hop
- 30 seconds per side
- Why do this? This exercise strengthens hip stabilizers while also giving your heart rate a jolt. Strong hip stabilizers are key to running posture and gait.
- Start by dropping one leg back into a 90-degree bend, split stance, keeping your torso upright and engaging your core.
- Drive your back leg forward and up, reaching the knee towards your chest as you hop up off the ground.
- Repeat one side 30 seconds, then switch.
3. Bench Run-ups
- 30 seconds per leg
- Why do this? This move will challenge your leg muscles and agility, while increasing your heart rate.
- Find a medium-sized box, or step bench with3-5 risers/side.
- Stand behind the bench and run up and down, one leg for 30 seconds, then switching to the other leg for 30 seconds.
4. Jump Rope
- 30 seconds to four minutes
- Why do this? The constant motion will get your heart rate up while your legs are working, building strength in your lower body.
- Grab a jump rope and start skipping!
- Start with 30 seconds and work up to four minutes at a time.