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5 Injury-Preventing Exercises for Marathon Runners to Include in Their Training Plan and Crush Their Race Day Goals

What about marathon training is insanely easy?

Not much, I know.

But I'd like to change that for you.

You work so hard on finding time in your schedule to show up for you despite work, family, other obligations...

And sometimes whether we like it or not, strength training can slip onto the "nice-to-do" list instead of the "real-real-to-do" list.

The BIG problem with this?

You'll break.

And then be forced to stop and train because you end up in physical therapy.

So let's make strength training INSANELY EASY to add to your "real-to-do" list.

I want to give you a heftier circuit than normal.

One that's loaded with injury-preventing exercises that I think every marathon runner should incorporate into their training plan so they can crush their race day goals.

What's DIFFERENT about this circuit compared to my other ones?

It has plyometrics already worked into it.

Followed up with strength exercises specifically picked for runners, not some generic squats and lunges.

('s a sneak peak inside of RACE READY, my 16 week strength program for marathon runners looking to run their best, strongest, most injury-resilient race yet).

Let's go.

5 Injury-Preventing Exercises for Marathon Runners

Circuit 1: Plyometric Warm up

2 sets each // body weight only + soft box/foot stool/sturdy chair

Jump Squat

  • 8 Reps

Bulgarian Split Squat Jump

  • 6 Reps ea leg

Circuit 2: Strength

3 sets each // HEAVY weights // RPE 8/10

Deficit Reverse Lunges

  • 8 Reps ea leg

Feet Elevated Bridge with Weighted Arms Overhead

  • 8 Reps (both legs on box/chair)

Curtsey Lunges

  • 8 ea leg

Crush Your Race Day Goals with These Strength Exercises for Marathoners

Plyometrics as a Warm Up

  • TOP TIP: always do plyometrics FIRST.

  • Before running OR before strength. At first you might feel that these are a huge energy-suck. (at least I did in the beginning and I couldn't possibly understand how I was supposed to lift after these.)

  • That's why the reps are so low. Plyometrics are high impact, which is GREAT for training and preparing your body to handle the high impact load of running. But they also require a lot of energy (which is why you do them first).

  • But while we may get stuck thinking we "can't workout effectively" afterwards, the opposite is true. Plyometrics are a FANTASTIC way to prime your muscles for ANY workout. Get ready to soar ;)

Deficit Reverse Lunges

  • I know these are evil and I'm sorry ahead of time...

  • WHY YOU WANT TO DO THEM: if you have a hilly race coming up, you MUST train your quads to handle the downhills (obviously both in running and strength training).

  • By working on ECCENTRIC quad strength, the exact strength you need to control your hill descent, you'll not only run better and finish stronger, but you won't be as sore afterwards.

  • These specific lunges help you train your body to handle the insane challenge of being slammed back down to earth by gravity while going down a hill.

Feet Elevated Bridge with Weighted Arms Overhead

  • Because hamstrings matter. I see a billion run-fluencers and PT's suggest banded bridges and single leg bridges to runners all over the internet...and they're not wrong, but they're not 100% right.

  • Hamstring strength is MANDATORY for runners and I understand not every runner has a gym available to them where they can deadlift 200 lbs.

  • This variation allows you to continue to progress your bridges, strengthen your hamstrings WHILE also working on upper body stability (something necessary for good running form as you fatigue during your race.)

  • CHALLENGE: make this spicy and look like running on your back by making it a single leg bridge ;)

Weighted Curtsey Lunges

  • Because a little extra booty strength never hurt anyone.

  • THE PURPOSE: This exercise challenges your glute muscles with a bias on your glute medius, a very important muscle especially as you fatigue.

  • Can you also see how this exercise looks running? It challenges glute muscles, strengthens your quads in an elongated (read: ECCENTRIC) position and challenges your single leg balance. Not to mention core control as you bring that leg back to the starting position, something you (again) need with every stride!

  • When you train like a runner and get deliberate with your strength exercises, you become a stronger, faster, better, more injury resilient runner.


THE BEST PART? This won't take you nearly as long as you think.

The plyometrics: maybe 5 mins.

The Strength workout: 25+ mins including resting 1-2 minutes between sets.

Strength training for your marathon doesn't have to daunting or take up hours of your time.

If it's laser focused and looks like running, it can be wildly effective.

And you can blow your own mind with how strong you feel on your runs ;)


If you're looking to get RACE READY and want to become the best, strongest, more injury-resilient runner you can be...and even shave some time off your PRs, then apply for RACE READY HERE to be the first to know when strength coaching spots become available!

I can't wait to see YOU on the inside and cheer you on as you unlock your full running potential and crush your race day goals!

Dare to Train Differently,

Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //

P.S. need more examples of what strength training looks like for runners? Grab my FREE strength guide for runners HERE!

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