Week 3: Strength & Flexibility

Have you been getting in those strength training workouts? Strength exercises are an essential component of a successful race training program. Below are a few favorite exercises to help amp up your runs! Remember: proper form is key to staying injury free!

  1. Squats. Knee pain from running can often stem from weak Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscles in the quads. Squats will help fire up your quads and buttocks, and help reduce your risk of injury.
  2. Banded Walks. A weak gluteus medius (the smaller muscle that runs along the sides of your rear) can cause instability in your legs. Strengthen it by placing a resistance band around your ankles with your feet hip-width apart. With bent knees, take 10 to 20 steps to the right, then 10 to 20 steps to the left.
  3. Planks. A strong core will help you keep balanced. Try to incorporate a 1-minute forearm plank into your routine. You can gradually add time and sets as you get stronger.
  4. Lunges. If all you do is run when training, it can lead to muscle imbalances in the body. Glutes are often underused muscles in long distance runners and can lead to very tight hip flexors. Protect yourself by performing lunges.
  5. Foam Rolling. Use a foam roller three times a week to not only repair sore and tight muscles, but to also improve flexibility. Foam rolling can help reduce injury, boost flexibility, and speed up your recovery. Check out some pre- and post-run foam rolling routines from Runners World


Week 3 Walker

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 30 min (easy)

Wednesday: 20 min (stroll)

Thursday: 35 min (easy)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 20 min (stroll)

Sunday: 3 miles (brisk)

Week 3 Novice

Monday: 30 minute cross or strength train

Tuesday: 1.5 mile run

Wednesday: 35 min cross or strength train 

Thursday: 1.5 mile run

Friday: 1.5 mile run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 2.5 mile run

Week 3 Intermediate

Monday: 3 mile run & strength train

Tuesday: 5 mile run 

Wednesday: 35 min cross train or 6x800 5K pace

Thursday: 3 mile run & strength train

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 7 mile run

Sunday: 60 min cross train

Week 3 Advanced 

Monday: 3 mile run & strength train

Tuesday: 30 min tempo run

Wednesday: 35 min cross train or 4x400 mile pace

Thursday: 4 mile run & strength train

Friday: Rest 

Saturday: 3 mile pace run

Sunday: 6 mile run 


Cross Training: Another form of physical activity to work your muscles in a different way.

Examples: Swimming cycling, stair-climbing, the elliptical and speed-walking. 

Pace run (AKA speed work): Train at a fast pace and you will run at a fast pace! This interval workout will take you to a fast run and alternate it with walking or jogging. You will perform 800-meter repeats every other week (Intermediate + Advanced runners) and 400-meter repeats on even numbered weeks (Advanced runners only). Run these at about a 5-K pace, walking/ jogging between each repeat. Best done on a 400 meter track but can be done on the road or trail.

For walkers: use the following to set your pace and build endurance.

  • Stroll: normal breathing, enjoy your walk.
  • Easy: slightly quicker pace, slightly harder breathing.
  • Brisk: walking with purpose, harder breathing but can still hold a conversation.

Tempo run: A tempo run of 30 to 40 minutes begins with 10-15 minutes of easy running, building up to 10-20 minutes of faster running near the middle, and ending with 5-10 minutes easy running. The pace build-up should be gradual. You can do tempo runs almost anywhere: on the road, on the trails or even on the track.