As runners we're always looking for ways to run faster and for longer and now there's an easy way to do both. Introducing core workout, strength building, and variances into your running training can help boost your performance and increase your endurance over long distances.


We asked professional PT and Man vs. Mountain 2013 winner Tracy McCartney for her top 5 exercise sets to help you run faster for longer.

The running benefits of strength training



Weight training, whether it's with bodyweight or added weight, build leg muscles and core strength helping your body sustain faster speeds more easily as well as keeping your posture strong when fatigue creeps in. 


Well-developed muscles are essential for protecting bones and joints meaning less chance of stress fractures and other running injuries. Weight training has also been shown to increase bone density and enhance connective tissue reducing your risk of tears and breaks.


  • Feet should be around hip width apart, pointing ever so slightly outwards
  • Look up and bend down as if you were to sit on an invisible chair 
  • Ensure you're not bent too forward; your knees shouldn't extend beyond your toes
  • Keep your back in a neutral position, avoid arching your spine, and extend your arms
  • Repeat 10 times


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width looking forward, with your chest up and your shoulders back, engage your core. This is your starting position
  • Keeping your body facing forward, place your left leg a few feet in front of you
  • Lower into a lunge position by bending your knees, lowering your body straight down with your back straight. Continue until your front knee is about 90 degrees
  • Slowly come back up and return your left leg to its starting position
  • Alternate the movement, switching between left and right side
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg


  • Stand with a barbell on the floor in front of you. Stand with the middle of your foot under the bar, feet hip distance apart
  • Grab the bar, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart
  • Bend your knees until your shins tough the bar. Don't move the bar, keep it over the middle of your foot
  • Lift your chest and straighten your back, again don't move the bar and don't drop your knees 
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and taking a big inhale stand up, keeping the bar against your legs
  • Keeping your back straight, gently bend your knees, lowering the bar to the floor
  • Repeat 10 times 


Speed sessions will help build strength and power in the joints and muscles.

Once a week try to:

  • 1 minute, flat out
  • 2 minutes, recovery walk or light jog
  • Repeat 10 times

Make sure you warm up and cool down properly to reduce your risk of injury and make for a speedy recovery.


Long runs should form part of your weekly running routine to help build up endurance and distance.

Each week focus on adding no more than 10% distance onto your previous long run.

For example, if you run 5 miles on week 1, run 5.5 miles on week 2.


Nutrition alongside a well-executed training plan is key to increasing performance.

Take note of what you eat over a week, how certain food types make you feel, your energy levels and any digestive problems. You may find that tweaking your diet, by adding some carbs, protein, or fat at different times through the day helps with your energy levels and performance. 

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