Strength Training for Marathon Runners
Find out how to adjust your strength training to fit your marathon training plan.
Phase 2 (Weeks 5-8)
Marathon focus: Aerobic Endurance
Training focus: Strength
During the Aerobic Endurance Phase of marathon training, the overall mileage begins to slowly increase, and runners may choose to focus one or two days a week on faster runs. The purpose of this training phase is to slowly push the cardiovascular system and begin to prepare for harder and longer runs.
The Strength Phase in the weight room picks up where the Stability Phase left off. With the proper coordination and movement patterns in place, runners can start to add weight to exercises and work harder throughout the set. The increased intensity in the weight room helps to improve a runner's relative strength—that is their strength relative to their body weight. Since running is a body-weight sport, an increase in relative strength means less chance of injury with each footfall.
During the Strength Phase, runners should focus on bilateral exercises like the barbell squat and barbell deadlift. Whereas unilateral exercises may be the focus in the Stability Phase, it's important to choose exercises during the Strength Phase that can be loaded up to a challenging intensity. Instead of opting for higher repetitions, runners should choose a load that is challenging for five to eight repetitions. The increase in intensity also requires a longer rest period (1-2 minutes).