Runners don't always have the best track record (sorry, couldn't resist) when it comes to avoiding injury. Part of the reason? You run—and that's pretty much it. "When you do the same motion over and over, odds are you'll develop strength and flexibility imbalances as you overwork some muscles and ignore others," says USA Track & Field Level 2 endurance coach Carl Leivers.
As those imbalances increase, so does your chance of injury, whether it's shin splints, tendonitis, runner's knee, or any other common running ailment. That's where this workout comes in handy. The exercises here will target movements that are neglected when you run to help correct any muscle imbalances you've created over time. But, other exercises in the routine will do the opposite—they'll emphasize running-specific movements to train your body to recruit the correct muscles when you run to maximize your performance.
Duration: 10 minutes in all. Once you're comfortable with the exercises, work up to three total circuits for a 30-minute strength workout that'll leave you healthy, strong, and ready to tackle training for your next big race (even if that's just the race to the bagel shop).
Directions: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between. When you work up to three circuits, take one min max rest between sets.
Prescription: Leivers recommends doing this routine three to four times per week, usually on the day of a harder workout or long run. That may seem counterintuitive, but Lievers says: "You can help jumpstart the recovery process from your workout and allow your easy, recovery days to be truly easy."
*Whether you're lacing up for a run or hitting the gym to do this routine, make sure you have a great workout playlist loaded on your phone or music player (plus, a great pair of headphones like these from Beats!). Per research, the right music can make your workout more efficient—and even make it feel less tough. For info on how to create an awesome workout playlist, go here.*
Ready to become a faster, stronger, more dynamic runner? Let's get started.