Running a marathon can be extremely difficult for beginners. People train for years to compete in such running events. Yet, some of them fail to complete the race. While some experienced runners prepare for a marathon by running six days a week, you may need to focus on strength training as well to stay strong and reduce the risk of injury.
Strength training can be immensely beneficial for marathon runners. If done correctly, it can help you boost your running performance. However, if you injure yourself while training, you can make things difficult for you and your personal trainer. Unless your gym has small business insurance for fitness professionals, your trainer may have to cover the expenses to treat the injury. So, it is better to perform these exercises safely.
Here are the top strength training exercises for marathon runners:
The squat can help strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, adductors, quadriceps, calves, hip flexors, and core. Your body uses these muscles while running. Thus, it is a crucial strength training exercise for marathon runners. While regular squats are great for beginners, you may want to try some variations like Bulgarian split squats, isometric squats, single-leg squats, sumo squats, etc.
Lunges can help you correct muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injury. This unilateral exercise works your quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstring, and core. If the exercise seems easy to you, you can add weight to it. There are also a few variations of this exercise, including side lunges, forward lunges, jumping lunges, curtsey lunges, and walking lunges (forward and backward). You need a stronger lower body while training for a marathon.
Deadlifts are considered complicated because of their tricky technique. However, this is the key exercise to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. A Romanian deadlift is the ideal one for beginners. Before you add weights to the exercise, practice the technique in front of the mirror. Ensure your back remains straight so that there is no unnecessary pressure on your back. You can also try single-leg deadlifts and deficit deadlifts if you want some variations.
4. Hip Thrusters:
Hip thrusters help you strengthen your glutes. If you are unaware of this exercise, it is quite similar to glute bridges, except the position is different. Here, the upper body remains elevated, making it challenging for you with an increased range of motion and hip flexion. You are allowed to add weight to the exercise to raise the difficulty level. However, you should always seek guidance from your trainer before adding weights.
5. Calf Raises:
In this exercise, you will need a step or stair for an extended range of motion. You will have to lower your heels down as far as you are able to below the step. Then, you will have to do the opposite movement and push yourself up on your toes, pausing at the top. You can add weight to the exercise by holding dumbbells in either hand for added resistance. In order to hit every part of the calf, you may try different variations of this exercise.
In order to strengthen your core, you should perform planks on a regular basis. This is a total-body exercise since it works your upper body, core, and your lower body. You need to ensure that your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in a straight line, shoulder-width apart. To make the planks more challenging, you should bring your feet close to each other. However, separating your feet further can help with stability. There are several variations of plank that you can try.
Along with these aforementioned strength training exercises, you also need to run several miles to build your stamina. The combination of strength training and cardio can do wonders for your running career. However, it is important to understand that marathon runs are extremely strenuous. While preparing for it, you should not overestimate your abilities.