“Running is a natural human movement, yes, but it needs to be treated like a sport,” says marathoner and New York City-based Equinox group fitness instructor Miriam Wasmund. “Long-term, one wouldn’t dance or play football without any [cross-] training and expect to do it well. This is no different.”
That’s why Wasmund designed the circuit below—to strengthen the muscles and movement patterns you use when you run. By shoring up everything in the chain from your core to your calves, you’ll feel stronger when you’re pounding the pavement and you’ll be able to go for longer at a faster pace.
Do 1 set of each move in order as part of your regular strength routine or on its own.
Lying face-up with legs together and extended and arms extended above your head, engage your core to bring your hands and feet together so that your body forms a V. (Pause at top for added challenge.) Return to start, then immediately roll your body to the left to turn onto your stomach and perform a Superman, engaging your core to simultaneously lift your legs and arms as high off the ground as possible. Roll back to your back and repeat, alternating the pike and Superman for 10 to 12 reps.
In a tall standing position, lift right knee as high as possible, then hinge at the hips, reaching right hand towards floor and extending right leg behind you so that it is parallel to the floor, keeping a long spine and extending your left arm out and back. At the bottom of the move, rotate your torso to the left and pause. Return to start; repeat on opposite side. Alternate for 8 to 10 reps per leg. (Note: This is a dynamic exercise that can either be done from a stationary position, or in a forward-progressing skipping motion.)
Using contralateral arm and leg drive, bound diagonally forward with your right foot as far to the right as possible (the trick here is you are actually pushing off the outside leg in the opposing direction, for example, pushing off left leg to go towards the right), then immediately bound to the left with your left foot. Alternate 10 bounds forward, then backpedal back to start and repeat 2 or 3 times.
In one fluid motion, pass through these 3 steps: 1. Squat low, throwing arms back toward your hips, then using the power from your squat position, thrust your hips and arms forward to jump as far forward as possible, landing softly in a squat position. 2. Using that loaded squat to rebound, jump straight up in the air, again landing softly. 3. Passing through squat position, place your hands down and shoot your legs back into a plank as you would in a burpee. From plank, jump feet forward to squat position and start over. Do 8 to 10 reps.