Week 2: Marathon Strength-Training

The second set of runner-specific moves will open and strengthen your hips.

In focusing so intently on hitting mileage goals, most aspiring 26.2 finishers neglect a major component of race prep: Strength-training. That’s why we tapped a team of Equinox trainers to develop a 16-week strength-training plan designed specifically with a marathoner’s needs in mind. These weekly workouts will complement your running schedule perfectly, setting you up for a stronger, faster finish.

Runners, welcome to week two of your fall marathon strength-training regimen. This installment of moves is brought to you by the letter H, as in hips. And for distance runners and Shakira fans alike, the hips do not lie. 

"This week is all about teaching the hips to hinge," explains Chris Heuisler, a Tier 4 trainer in Boston who co-designed this plan with Tier 4 coach Jason Skinner. "Many of us sit at a desk all day long putting the hips in a compensated position. As runners, we want the hips to drive our movement so learning how to first hinge the hips, and then generate strength and power from them, is imperative to success."

Complete this 4-move workout at least once this week, on your designated strength-training day. And check back next Monday for your third sequence of exercises. 

Just getting started? Get the moves for Week 1



(1) Foam Roller Hip Flexor (mobility) 

Kneel on left leg, with left knee bent 90 degrees, right foot flat and right knee bent 90 degrees. Keeping left glute contracted, extend arms out in front of you at shoulder level, pressing hands down onto the end of a foam roller, as shown. (This will engage the abdominals which will increase the stretch of the hip flexor.) Be sure to remove the arch of the lower back by using the glute to tuck the pelvis underneath you. Drive forward slightly, maintaining the posture of the spine. Perform the stretch for 40-60 seconds per side. 

(2) Core-Activated Dead Bug (activation)

Attach a Cook band to the clip on an adjustable cable column. Lie face up, knees bent 90 degrees, feet off the floor, and with a handle in each hand, pull the handles down towards hips, pressing shoulders and lower back into the ground. (This motion will activate your core). Slowly extend left leg, trying to get your calf to touch the ground before your heel (as shown). Bring left leg back to 90 degrees. Do 10 reps; switch sides and repeat. 

(3) Hip Hinge (movement prep) 

This move is as basic as it sounds. Step roughly 6 to 12 inches from a wall, your back facing the wall. Keeping your legs straight, drive hips straight back (as shown) in an attempt to hit the wall with your glutes. Extend arms and reach out in front of you while maintaining a neutral spine. Do 10 reps; focus on letting the movement initiate from your hips. 

(4) Kettlebell Staggered Deadlift (movement) 

Holding a 4kg kettlebell in your left hand, stand in a staggered stance, your left foot slightly behind your right with your left heel off the ground. Keeping arms close to your sides, perform a hip hinge by driving hips back (as shown). Once you feel as if your hips cannot go much farther, push hips forward and stand tall, squeezing glutes at the top. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat. Complete 3 times.