five minute strength training for runners

What if I told you that all you needed was a five minute strength routine for runners? Yes, it’s true!

Most runners would rather run than strength train, so I developed a simple, quick routine that you can do anytime to maximize results with just a few minutes.

The Five Minute Strength Routine All Runners Need

Four Key Strength Moves

There are four key strength moves for runners that can be done in just five minutes or less. They are:

  • Plank
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts

Why are these four moves so great? They are easy to remember, equipment-free, and you can do them anywhere and anytime. They also strengthen the muscles that runners need the most, while also sneaking in a little mobility work for the areas where runners need it (big toe, ankle, hip extension and thoracic spine).

Let’s go over each one.


Plank is one of the best exercises for runners because it builds a rock-solid core to support excellent form as you run. Not only that, but you need to engage your quads and you’ll stretch those big toes at the same time!

The key to plank is to make your body as straight as a board–no sagging or arching your back!

You can start with 30 seconds or a minute then upgrade to push-ups, side planks, and more.

Once you get good at plank, you can add push ups


Squats are the classic strength move that works your glutes, hamstrings and quads. You also are sneaking in some core work as well as working on proper knee alignment, a must if you are prone to knee issues.

Once you get good at the classic squat, you can take a wider stance for a sumo squat, one try some one-legged pistol squats to train your balance.

Squats are just like sitting down in a chair


Lunges are great because not only do they build leg strength, but they increase big toe flexibility, work on hip extension, and require good balance.

You can lunge forward, backwards, diagonally, do curtsy lunges or add some weights for variety.

Keep your spine straight, hold in your core, and kiss your knee to the ground.

The classic forward lunge


With or without weights, deadlifts wake up your sleepy glutes to recruit them for running. They also engage the hamstrings which can take a backseat to the quads in runners.

When you perform one legged deadlifts (also called a hinge) you develop your sense of balance, a crucial skill for runners.

It’s important to remember that this is not a flexibility exercise so it doesn’t matter if you can reach the floor or not. Just go as far as you are comfortable, with a straight spine. Looking straight ahead the whole time can help.

Hinge forward at the hips to prevent your back from doing the work

I like to do eight reps of each exercise on each leg as a solid warm up routine for running. You can also fit this in after your cool down, or anytime you need a quick strength session.

As you advance in your running journey, you may want to add other routines, drills, and stretches, but these essential four moves should always be in your arsenal.

When you are ready to transform your life and your running, I’m here to help. Begin your plant-based running journey with me today!

About Claire

Coach Claire has helped hundreds of runners chase their dreams and conquer big goals. Her coaching philosophy combines science-based training, plant-based nutrition, and mindset techniques to unlock every runner's true potential. She's an ASFA certified running coach, sports nutrition specialist, a 2:58 marathoner, mom, and borderline obsessive plant lover.

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