The Benefits Of Circuit Training For Runners

Sample Circuit Training Routine

So, what does a real implementation of circuit training look like? Below, I’ve reproduced a circuit workout found in my Strength Training for Runners Guide that only uses body weight (there is also a medicine ball version with videos and .pdfs). This circuit workout is adapted from John Cook, former coach of Shalane Flanagan, and Jay Johnson, coach of three U.S. National Champions.

I prefer this routine because it can be completed with no outside equipment and can be easily adapted for more advanced runners and made more difficult by adding resistance with a medicine ball. Finally, it works the entire posterior and anterior chain to ensure proper muscular balance.

Note: Perform each of these exercises for 30-60 seconds before moving on to the next one. No rest between exercises. 

1. Mountain climbers doubles
2. Mountain climbers singles
3. Mountain climbers singles out
4. Mountain Climbers Doubles out

Jog 800 meters

5. Push ups
6. Burpees
7. Hip thrusts
8. Pike Press

Jog 800 meters

9. Prone with twist
10. Running motion v-ups
11. Back extensions
12. Mason Twists

Jog 800 meters

13. Lunges w/turn
14. Push-up walk
15. V-ups
16. Squat jumps

By keeping each exercise dynamic, specific, and constantly moving, this routine is able to keep your heart rate high, balance general strength with running-specific exercises, and addresses the entire core and hip girdle.

If you’re a beginner or injury-prone athlete, my recommendation is to add this circuit training routine to your “off” days. The purpose of the day would be similar to a cross-training routine. If you’re a more experienced runner and have time, perform this routine after a threshold workout, much like Shalane Flanagan demonstrates in this video.

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