Running is a fabulous workout and it offers amazing health benefits. While few practice running for short distances, some might go that extra mile of 5 kilometres a day, at least thrice a week, in order to build up stamina and muscle power.

Besides running regularly, participating in a half (21.1 km) or full marathon (42 km) or a 5k or 10k run is a fad among all age groups but it’s no easy task. You must train consistently, with an undeterred focus on improving your speed, muscle strength, balance and stamina.

Also Read: 5 Superb Ways To Build Lean Muscle Mass

exercises for long distance runners

Quite often, people tend to think that running a considerable distance every day will suffice to complete a long-distance challenge. However, it is important to bear in mind that a strong core of 5 central muscle groups is also vital, to supply more oxygen to muscles and help achieve this feat.

The 5 Central Muscle Groups:

Glute Muscles:

Present in the region of the buttocks


Found in the front of the thighs


Muscle groups at the back of the thighs

Calf Muscles:

Run down the lower leg, from knees to ankles

Hip Flexors:

Flexible tissues in the pelvis, lower back and spine

In addition, fitness experts suggest proper warming and cooling down exercises before and after the feat, in order to avert muscle-related complications in the future.

Performing certain simple strength training exercises twice a week will help build power in these muscle groups. In this way, injuries can be averted, along with improved body balance and enhanced endurance capacity.

If you love running for long distances, read on how you can prepare your core muscles with these simple exercises.

5 Effective Exercises For Powering Through A Long Distance Run:

Perform each of the below-mentioned routines for ten iterations.

1. Squat To Overhead Press:

Stand erect, with feet a little apart. Hold small weights in both hands. Squat down completely and then raise your body and hands all the way up, putting pressure with the weights.

2. Forward Lunge:

Stand straight, with hands on the hips and feet wide apart. Place right foot forward and bend the knee all the way, bringing it back slowly to the initial position. Alternate with the left foot.

3. Rotating Shoulder Press:

Be in an upright position, holding down weights in both hands. Slightly spread your feet. Turn your hip towards the left, raising the right arm fully above, pressing on the shoulder. Do the same sequence to the right, raising the left arm.

4. Full Body Plank:

Lay flat on your front. Slowly lift your feet, balancing on the toes. Now, gradually heave your upper body with your hands and balance the torso in a steady position, like a plank.

5. Hip Twist:

Be seated on the floor, with legs stretched out front. Slowly bend your body backwards and hold this posture. Now, twist your hips to the right, bring it to the centre and twist to the left.

Improves Performance And Efficiency

Proper alignment and movement of the body are essential not only while being seated at work or standing erect during workouts but also for running activities. Strength training exercises make the core muscles of the arms, legs, hips, thighs and abdomen quite sturdy and flexible. This effectively supports body motions during intense long-distance marathons and helps deliver more energy, speed for completing the run at a faster pace.

Lowers The Risk Of Injuries

During a gruelling run, both the legs are utilised continuously and hold nearly three times the normal bodyweight of the individual, due to the constant pressure being applied on the lower body to propel forward swiftly. Strength training workouts significantly enhance the power, durability of leg muscles, which enables them to absorb the enormous force during a long-distance run, decrease the strain on the joints and minimise the chances of injuries, knee pain.

Maintains Robust Muscles

While arduous workouts help build mighty muscles, their range of motion and power gradually lessens when not used over a period of time. This results in muscle pulls, cramps, pain while twisting them all of a sudden during a half or full marathon, invariably slowing down the runner. Strength training exercises, when performed daily along with a warm-up session, remarkably activate the core muscles all along the body, contributing to more stamina and a faster run time.


Strength training is very crucial for long-distance runners, to prevent the risk of injury, increase oxygen flow to muscles and improve balance and sustenance. Following an arduous workout, perform some simple cool-down exercises to relax the strained muscles.

Also Read: 5 Fantastic Cooling Down Exercises To Soothe Your Muscles After A High-Intensity Workout

Combining routine practice runs to augment endurance, along with effective strength training exercises will guarantee a successful finish, at your next athletic endeavour.