Running is one of the best ways to get your heart pumping, and your muscles warmed-up. Most people consider running as part of their regular cardio workout, but most don’t consider how to make themselves a more efficient runner. There are vast benefits to adding strength training to your running routine, not only to become a better, faster runner, but also to reduce the chance of hurting yourself. Today we will give you some basic steps to becoming a stronger runner overall.

Step 1 – Plan a routine.

Planning out how you are going to be the best you is a very important step. Give yourself milestones to achieve, and write these things down so you can see your accomplishments in a tangible form. Use this guide from CrazyBulk to help keep you on track. Sticking to a new routine is never easy, so having something to show you that you are doing well will encourage you to keep up the good work. You can even decide to treat yourself for each milestone you hit, as extra motivation.

Step 2 – Don’t be in a hurry.

Looking in the mirror and seeing that buff, sculpted body you have always wanted won’t happen in a day, a week, or even a month. These things take time, dedication, and effort on your part. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the results you want immediately, remember, hard work will bring rewards. The worst of it will be while your body is adjusting to your new routine, it is more work than your body will be used to doing, so expect to be tired, and likely even sore for the first while.

Step 3 – Don’t skip leg day.

You may hear about a lot of people that just “skip” leg day at the gym, you do not want to be this person. Leg day is an imperative part of keeping up the muscle mass in our legs, which you will need to sprint you across that finish line. There are a multitude of leg workouts to do at the gym, from the leg press, to the cycling machines, but even if you are at home you can try workouts like squats, chair pose, or kick a punching bag to get a solid burn happening. Whichever way you choose to do it, the bottom line is don’t skip leg day, your legs are just as important as any of your other muscles, especially if you are looking to become a better runner.

Step 4 – Diet

You can’t run if you don’t have energy right? Our body uses the food we put in it as fuel for our activities for the day. Make sure you get plenty of all 4 food groups for each meal to ensure that you have the energy you need to take on that race, run, or marathon. Diets will vary depending on each person, so it is best to consult a dietitian to see what would be appropriate for you.

These are just basic steps on how to strengthen your muscles for running. Everyone can improve themselves when it comes to strength training, just be smart and safe while doing so. Nothing will pay off more than hard work and sweat in the long run, keep at it, and you are guaranteed to see progress.