Many runners have a goal of clocking faster finish times. And while you might turn to speed workouts, like intervals, and tempo runs to make that happen, there’s another key component to pushing your pace: weight training.
Lifting weights not only builds strong muscles, but also a more powerful stride that allows you to create force and forward propulsion with less effort. “Strength training makes our body more resilient, and the more resilient we are, the more load our body can handle,” Danielle Hirt, a.k.a Coach D, NASM-certified personal trainer and RRCA-certified run coach based in Arlington, Virginia, tells Runner’s World. “Running is an extremely high-impact sport, so the stronger our muscles are, the better we can absorb that load.”
Thankfully, Hirt designed a full 20-minute weight-training workout to increase your speed and help you tap into your strength, power, and resiliency, with moves chosen specifically to upgrade your pace. “These exercises are excellent power moves. Being able to move through an exercise quickly and with control creates power,” Hirt says. “Through these movements, we generate that neuromuscular response and develop movement patterns that translate to the run.”
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One thing to keep in mind before you jump into this routine: Master the movement first, before you add in speed. You want to feel strong and stable through each exercise, Hirt says, so don’t rush it. Also, start with lighter weights to get the movements down, and then start to increase that load the more comfortable you become with each exercise.
This is especially important for those new to weight training. You don’t want to conquer this strength workout to increase speed without first mastering a squat, deadlift, and lunge—three main movement patterns you’ll see throughout