Wherever you are on your running journey, building some simple gym or home exercises into your schedule is guaranteed to maximise your performance. And once you start establishing those routines and seeing those benefits, it’s so much easier to keep your motivation levels high.
Read on for a quick and easy exercise routine that’s perfect for runners, and requires very little equipment – win, win!
Super simple runner’s exercise routine
High-intensity interval training is something we hear a lot about as runners. HIIT sessions are a great way to boost your cardiovascular system, burn fat, raise your stamina and build strength. This super simple runner’s exercise routine incorporates plenty of HIIT, as well as some core strength work and flexibility – all vital for powerful, injury-free running.
Ready to workout? On your marks, get set, let’s go!
Start with a full body warm up – stretches and movements that work every muscle group. Remember to include dynamic stretches – so leg swings, one-legged deadlifts and lunges – as well as static moves – e.g. shoulder, calf and hamstring stretches. In need of some more guidance? We’ve got plenty here.
The HIIT section
For this section, you’ll need to work out what work to rest ratio (so the amount of time you spend working hard as opposed to amount of time you spend resting) feels good for you. Beginners might start with 1:1, e.g. 30 seconds work followed by 30 seconds rest, before building up to 2:1 e.g. 30 seconds work followed by 15 seconds rest, or 1 minute of work followed by 30 seconds of rest.
|Exercise||Tips and Technique||Timing/reps|
|Running on the spot||High knees. Aim for at least 80% of your maximum capacity.||Start with 30 seconds. If that feels too easy, step it up to a minute. Rest and repeat.
Complete 3 cycles.
|Squats||Keep feet shoulder-width apart. Don’t let your knees go in. Variations can include a squat with a side kick (kick high as you come out of the squat, alternate legs each time) or plié squats (place your feet a little wider than shoulder-width and turn out your toes – great for your thighs)||Start with 30 seconds, then 1 minute. Focus on form over speed – certainly at first. Rest and repeat.
Complete 3 cycles.
|Burpees||From standing, crouch down into a low squat with your hands on the floor. Thrust both legs back straight behind you so that you’re in a plank, then jump them immediately back to your hands. Then stand back up – or jump if you’re feeling brave.||30 second will feel challenging at first!
Complete 3 cycles.
|Jumping Jacks||Back on your feet! Stand with feet a few inches apart, then jump them outwards while punching your arms out and upwards. Jump your feet back in and bring your arms back to your body. Do these as quickly as you can manage without compromising technique.||Complete 3 cycles|
|Lunges||Standing with hands on hips, step one leg straight behind the other and bend the front knee. Then bend the back knee down until it almost touches the ground. Straighten the back leg and repeat. Swap legs halfway through your interval.||Complete 3 cycles|
|Walkouts||From standing, bring your hands down to the ground and then step them forward in a walking motion until you reach a raised plank position. Then walk them back to your feet and return to standing before repeating. Try not to wobble too much.||Start with 30 second intervals, then a minute. Complete 3 cycles.|
|Leg raises||Lie on your back with straight legs and arms by your side. Raise one leg high off the mat in a smooth, controlled motion. Keep it straight. Then lower – again, in a controlled manner – and repeat. You can alternate legs or lift and lower both legs together.||Start with 30 second intervals, then a minute. Complete three cycles.|
|Plank with shoulder taps||Get into a high plank position – your body should be raised off the floor and your hands and toes should be the only part of your body making contact with the mat. With your hands directly below your shoulders, lift your right hand from the mat and bring it across your body to tap your left shoulder. Replace your right hand to the mat and repeat with the opposite hand and shoulder. Try not to swing too much!||Start with 30 second intervals, then a minute. Complete three cycles.|
|Dead bugs||Lying on your back, raise your arms and legs straight above you. Extend your left arm back and your right leg down simultaneously until each one is only a couple of inches off the floor. Your other arm and leg should still be extending straight up in the air. Return back to your starting position and perform the same exercise with the opposite arm and leg. The slower you go, the more this will work your core muscles.||Start with 30 second intervals, then a minute. Complete three cycles.|
|Russian twists||Sit down on the floor, bend your knees and lift your hands and feet off the ground. Extend one leg out straight in front of you at a time while simultaneously twisting your upper body and arms in the opposite direction – so if you’re extending your right leg, twist your upper body and reach both arms around to the left. Return to starting position and repeat the opposite way.||Start with 30 second intervals, then a minute. Complete three cycles.|
After all of that hard work, don’t forget to cool down!