July – Day 10: Back to Basics + a Bonus Burner!

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We’re not dancers attempting the grande jete or a pirouette, but we can apply the the same principles. Let’s face it, they might not be fun but the “basics” are a tried and true way to get stronger in the most specific way runners need the most.

Today’s workout is back to the basics with a simple, effective full body strength routine specific to a runner’s needs.

What are the best strength exercises for runners?

According to Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:39 marathoner, USATF-certified coach, and author of the #1 selling running book on Amazon Running for Health & Happiness, the best strength exercises for runners have two characteristics:

  • They prevent injuries by focusing on the specific needs of runners (hip and glute strength)
  • They are compound, multi-joint movements like squats (the machines in the gym do NOT count)

Here is a list of the best strength exercises for runners:

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push-up
  • Plank

Notice anything about these exercises? They’re simple, basic movements that all runners should be able to do. We can do squats and push ups by ourselves, but it’s easier to follow along with someone else and push through the workout together. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today! When you’re done with the basics, give yourself another 10 minutes to make that booty burn! Just a little extra hip and glute work. You got this!

Day 10 exercises:

  • Follow Along Running Strength Workout
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60
  • Bonus – Donkey Kick Workout

Follow Along Running Strength Workout

Bonus: Donkey Kick Workout – You read it…the most important area for runners to build strength in is our hips and glutes. Today’s workout had some of this, but we can always do a little bit more. If you have the time today, this 10 minute donkey kick workout is a great way to fire up those glutes just a little bit more!


Speed Work: Tempo Run

After a few tough weeks of speed work ladders, we’re switching it up and again, going back to the basics with a simple tempo run. Even though it is simple, a lot of people get confused when talking about tempo runs. In fact, the term gets thrown around a lot and the way it’s used most of the time is incorrect.

The term “tempo run” was popularized by Jack Daniels, Ph.D., about a decade ago. Daniels defined a tempo run as: “A tempo run is nothing more than 20 minutes of steady running at threshold pace.” Without getting too technical, threshold pace is the effort level just below which the body’s ability to clear lactate, a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism, can no longer keep up with lactate production. Daniels states that this pace is, for most people, about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than current 5K race pace.

The “tempo run” does not include your warm up and cool down. Tempo is the 20 minutes inside the run where you hold that steady pace (:25 – :30 slower than current 5K pace). So if someone says they did a 3 miles tempo run, and their entire run was 3 miles then they did not do a tempo run. They might’ve had some great negative splits, or an even steady pace for 3 miles, but it is not a tempo run.

Here’s the workout:

  1. Easy warm up for 1-2 miles (don’t skimp on your warm up. Remember you have 20 minutes at tempo pace coming up)
  2. 3-4x Strides (If you’re still not sure about strides or missed last weeks posts about them, let me know and I will tag you in the videos)
  3. 20 minute tempo run @ :25 – :30 slower than your current 5K race pace or :10 faster than goal marathon pace. The goal here is to keep the 20 minutes very steady and consistent. You don’t want the first mile 20 or 30 seconds faster or slower than your 2nd or 3rd mile.
  4. Easy cool down for 1-2 miles

If you are a run/walker (like me) this is the day to let go of the walk breaks and just run. 20 minutes….you can do this! If you need to back off the pace to get in the full 20 minute workout, back off just a little bit. But challenge yourself…don’t give in too easily to backing off.

Remember, the one real requirement of tempo running is that you stick to a steady, specific, planned pace.

Another reminder, if you are running less than 20-25 miles a week, this is your one chance to go faster than your easy pace so have fun with it and give it your all!

Questions? Please ask!

Back to basics today Crew. Don’t make it harder then it needs to be. Make a plan to get it done then knock it out and have a great Tuesday!

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