Circuit Training For Running

Circuit Training For Running

Posted on February 23, 2021 by Carey Nelson

Circuit Training – Combined Speed-work and Strength

Developing a few aches and pains or your speed has dropped? Have you let your strength slide during the winter? Strength improves your running technique and speed and reduces injury. During these times when gym access is limited it remains important to continue with your strength training to keep injuries in check. We recommend the Forerunners fundamental exercises to maintain basic strength for running. 

The fundamental running exercises we recommend on a regular basis:

1) Single leg mini squat knee bends

2) Single leg calf drops

3) Front and side planks, and crunches

You can add circuit training to your schedule to add variety to your weekly routine, and improve strength. Circuit training has many different forms. For example you can move quickly between different strength exercise stations. ex. 12 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 30 body weight squats, 12 burpees, 6 lunges, 12 bench dips with 30 second break between. Other circuit training you use weight machines and quickly rotate between machines. 

Indoor Circuit Exercises (you can do these at home):

1) Push-ups

2) Body weight squats

3) 20m walk on heels

4) Bench dips

5) Side shuffles with elastic band around ankle

6) Lunges

7) Skating lunges

8) Double leg hops

9) Single hops

10) Squat shuffle with elastic band around quads

11) Burpees

12) Crunches

Running drills are lower body exercises designed to improve your strength, speed and flexibility. Normally the running drills are completed after the workout but you could complete one after each repeat as a circuit workout.

Running Drills:

1) A drill (high knees)

2) B drill (high knees plus leg extended)

3) C drill ( high back-kick)

4) Side shuffles

5) Grapevine/cross over side shuffles

6) Lunges

7) Skating lunges

8) Double leg hops

9) Single hops

 You can also run between each exercise for a combined strength and speed workout. Here are three examples of workouts that combine speed with strength. During these workouts you are using the strength exercise as part of the recovery between the running intervals.

a) Short intervals (strength and sprint speed)  – Warm-up for 2km + complete the 9 running drills listed above with 100m to 200m sprints run at 1 mile race pace between each drill + 2km warm-down.

b) Medium Intervals (strength and VO2 Max) – Warm-up 2km + run 400m at 5km pace, followed by 20 sit-ups recovery, run 400m at 5km pace, followed by 20 push-ups, run 400m at 5km pace, followed by 10 lunges, run 800m at 5km pace followed by 30 body weight squats + 2km warm-down. Your total time for recovery between the running intervals should be 2 minutes including the strength exercises.

c) Long intervals (strength and tempo) – Warm-up for 2km + complete the 9 running drills listed above with 800m repeats run at tempo pace in between each running drill + 2km warm-down. Your total time for recovery between the running intervals should be 2 minutes including the running drills.

Don’t let the weather stop you. If it’s rainy and the ground is wet try running drill circuit training. When the ground is dry use the regular circuit exercises. By circuit training 2 times per week you will develop a good strength base for healthy running within a few weeks.

Weight training may be more effective in developing strength but circuit training has its place. Circuit training may not be the most optimal way to train but during these times when gyms are limited it is one of the better ways to stay strong and healthy. You can complete your circuit workout on your own or in socially distant small groups. Circuit training is another fun way to keep fit and run faster!