Want to know how you can reduce your risk of injury and improve your athletic performance?

Read Osteopath Dr Catherine Coventry’s blog on strength training for runners!

Training for a fun run can mean clocking up lots of kilometres, but this repetitive training is often hard on the body and leads to many runners breaking down before they even reach the start line. With fun run season in full swing on the Bellarine, here are some reasons why you should be strength training to help reduce your risk of injury and improve your running performance.

Why strength train?

Research has shown that strength training in endurance athletes can lead to multiple performance gains, including:

  • Improved time trial performance (3km, 5km and 45min)
  • Improved running economy
  • Improved VO2 max (ability to utilise oxygen effectively)
  • Improved muscle power

(Beattie, 2014)

In other words, having stronger hip, back and abdominal muscles enables you to achieve a better posture or body position while running, leading to greater energy efficiency and therefore faster running times.

Having stronger leg and hip muscles also enables better shock absorption while running, and therefore reduces risk of repetitive injuries such as shin splints, tendinopathies and stress fractures.

But I have so much running to do – how do I make time to strength train?

As a general rule (based on the above research and personal experience) I recommend to do strength training (eg with weights) 2x per week. Eg run 3x a week, gym x2 days, 1-2 rest days per week. (This personally is my preferred routine). Alternate run days with gym days. Resistance training should be introduced slowly, allowing 48 hours recovery between sessions. Consider running in the morning and gym in the evening (you need at least an 8 hour window between training sessions).

If you can’t get to the gym, there are some useful core and hip exercises that can be performed at home with little to no equipment.

My favourite exercises

I like to do these exercises daily as well as before a run to ‘warm up’ and improve neuromuscular control in the hip and core muscles. This trains the muscles to work unconsciously to stabilize the joints (mainly the hip, lower back and knees) during running.

Doing these exercises helps me to recruit these muscles more effectively when I run, by strengthening the connection between my nervous system and the muscles.

I also find that I am less likely to experience hamstring, knee or lower back pain during a run if I adapt this routine prior to running.

Perform 2-3 sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise on each side of the body, 3x a week (ideally before a run).

Supine bridge double leg (beginner)

Supine bridge single leg (advanced)

Side plank (beginner)

Side plank (advanced)

Hip abduction (side-lying)

Want to know more?

Check out our website, Facebook page and Instagram for health tips and exercise and injury information, or make an appointment with one of our Osteopaths for advice on treatment and rehabilitation for your running and other sports injuries. Dr Catherine Coventry is also available to perform a video analysis of your running and to advise on ways to manage injury and improve your performance.


Beattie (2014) The effect of strength training on performance in endurance athletes, Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(6), 845-65.

Book an appointment with Catherine online at www.ogosh.com.au or call 5255 5040 (OG) or 4202 0446 (L) to discuss how Catherine can help you achieve your health goals.