Roll the Metal: Why Weight Training is Important for Marathon Runners

Many marathon runners focus solely on running, neglecting the importance of strength training. However, weight training is a crucial component of a well-rounded marathon training program. Here’s why:

  • Reduces Injury Risk: Running places a lot of stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Strength training strengthens these structures, making them less susceptible to overuse injuries.
  • Improves Running Economy: Strength training helps you run more efficiently by improving your form and power. This allows you to cover the same distance with less effort, saving you energy for the later stages of the marathon.
  • Increases Power: Strength training helps you develop more power, which can be beneficial for hill repeats and surges during the race.
  • Improves Core Strength: A strong core is essential for good running form and injury prevention. Strength training exercises that target your core muscles will help you maintain proper posture and stability throughout your run.

How Much Weight Training Should Marathon Runners Do?

It is recommended that marathon runners do weight training two or three times a week for 25-35 minutes per session. This is a good general guideline, but you may need to adjust it based on your individual needs and experience level.

Here are some general recommendations:

  • Lower Body Exercises: Squats, lunges, calf raises, and hamstring curls are all great exercises for strengthening the muscles in your legs.
  • Upper Body Exercises: Push-ups, rows, pull-ups, and overhead presses will help strengthen your upper body and improve your posture.
  • Core Exercises: Planks, crunches, and Russian twists are all effective exercises for strengthening your core muscles.

Sample Weight Training Workout for Marathon Runners

This is a sample weight training workout that you can incorporate into your training program:

  • Warm-up: 5-10 minutes of light cardio, such as jogging or jumping jacks
  • Squats: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per leg
  • Calf raises: 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 3 sets as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP)
  • Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
  • Overhead press: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
  • Plank: 3 sets of 30-60 seconds hold
  • Cool-down: 5-10 minutes of static stretches


Weight training is an essential part of any marathon training program. By incorporating weight training into your routine, you can reduce your risk of injury, improve your running economy, increase your power, and improve your core strength. All of these benefits will contribute to a successful marathon performance.

Additional Tips

  • Make sure to use proper form when lifting weights to avoid injury.
  • If you are new to weight training, start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
  • Listen to your body and take rest days when you need them.
  • Consider consulting with a certified personal trainer to create a weight training program that is tailored to your individual needs.

By following these tips, you can make weight training a safe and effective part of your marathon training program.