5 Week Strength Training Workout Plan For Marathon Runners


Hey, Marathon Runners, are you ready for the upcoming Phoenix Summer Marathons? If you are reading this, it means you are still looking for a workout plan to improve your training. Don’t worry—we have got you covered with this 5-week strength training workout plan. It is designed by our professional runner coach and trainer to help you build the strength you need to conquer the marathon. 

This 5-week strength training plan includes exercises that target every major muscle group and will help you gain the strength, endurance, and speed you need to cross the finish line. As a runner, you must be aware of the importance of strength training workouts for marathon runners. These workouts help you build endurance and stamina, a pivotal component of completing the 26.2 miles of running and improving your overall performance. Start now and get ready for the Phoenix Summer Marathons!

Importance Of Marathon Strength Training Workouts

Importance Of Marathon Strength Training Workouts

There is a bubble burst for those who are not aware of the importance of strength workouts for marathon training. Well, strength training is not just for bodybuilders instead, it works as a game changer for runners, too.

  1. It protects against injury

Continuous and effective strengthening exercises strengthen muscles and connective tissues and reduce the chances of common running injuries, like a runner’s knee.

  1. Improves Efficiency Dramatically

It fortifies core and leg muscles, which improves the runner’s form and better energy conservation.

  1. Increase Power and Stamina

By developing efficient muscle power, it becomes much easier to apply force more effectively with each stride, making them faster and more energy-efficient.

  1. Balanced Muscles

Lastly, strength training improves muscle balance and acts as a shock absorber, minimising the stress on joints during the marathon. Hence, it reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

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5 Weeks of Strength Training for Marathon Runners

5 Weeks of Strength Training for Marathon Runners

This complete strengthening workout for marathon training consists of 5 weeks of training at the gym, where every week has its own unique point of focus and goals to achieve. Moreover, the key components of marathon training that make it really effective are the following:

  1. Long Runs: Gradually increase the distance of long runs and build endurance and mental strength day by day. 
  2. Right Number of Running Days: There must be an optimal number of running days that ensure the proper training and avoid overtraining for the recovery time.
  3. Cross Training: By incorporating the various forms of the exercise like yoga, strength training, weight training and cycling to ensure overall complete workout.
  4. Rest Days: Allowing for rest days along with training. 
  5. Tapering: Lastly, gradually reduce the load in the last three weeks leading up to the marathon to allow for recovery and a boost in performance.

Week 1 for Strength Building

As a marathon runner, your goal for the first week is to build strength in your muscles that will significantly help you increase your mileage. It is about laying the groundwork with fundamental exercises that will support your body’s needs for a marathon run.

Goals of Week 1: 

Our primary goal is to focus on building muscle strength and training them well to cope with the intense demands of the marathon run. Our day’s activity will be as follows.

Week 1: Strength Building
DaysExerciseSets Tips
Day 1– Push-Ups
– Step-Ups With Overhead Presses
– Side Lying Leg Raises
3 sets of 15 repsStart with the basic push-ups that work on the chest muscles.
Day 2– Medicine Ball 
– Forward Lunges with Rotation
– Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
3 Sets each of 13-15 reps
Day 3– RestTake a day off it helps in recovery
Day 4– Single-Leg Pallof Presses
– Bulgarian Split Squat
– Fire Hydrants
3 Sets each of 13-15 repsStart from the simple and complete each set. After this, do 20 high-intensity reps.
Day 5– Straight Leg Calf Raises
– Bent Leg Calf Raises
– Fire Hydrants
3 Sets each of 13-15 reps
Day 6– RestYou may go for an aerobics and a long run
Day 7– Cycling 
– Running
Work on your posture and stamina

These exercises should be done at least twice a week. They will help to bring your body into form and work on core muscles. By the end of this week, your body will definitely be ready for the next week’s strength training exercises.


To spice things up, you can convert your sets into super sets by limiting rest time and increasing intensity. This will train your body to push fatigue for longer, which is exactly what you do at the marathon.

Week 2 for Hypertrophy And Volume

In the 2nd week, we will increase the intensity of the workout with more advanced moves to induce muscle volume through hypertrophy. Muscular hypertrophy is a process of muscular growth that results from contraction, injury, and repair of muscles. In addition, it raises the amount of glycogen stored in the body, which boosts the extra energy that you need to run the Marathon.

Goals of Week 2:

Promote muscle growth and boost glycogen storage in the body through intense training. The following exercise will induce the hypertrophy process in the body effectively.

Week 2: Hypertrophy and Volume
DaysExerciseSets Tips
Day 1– Glute Bridge
– Single-Leg Glute Bridge
– Single Leg Deadlift
3 sets of 15 repsThese exercises will push your limits without compromising your form.
Day 2– Plank
– Deadbugs
3 Sets each of 13-15 reps
Day 3– RestYou may go for a massage or sauna after a run.
Day 4– Wall Sits
– Overhead Squats
– Reverse Lunges
3 Sets each of 13-15 repsMake sure that your body form is intact
Day 5– Push-Ups
– Step-Ups With Overhead Presses
3 Sets each of 13-15 repsThis will work on your shoulders and arm muscles
Day 6– RestKeep up with the running.
Day 7– Medicine Ball 
– Forward Lunges with
– RotationRunning
3 Sets each of 13-15 repsFocus on your forms and take a long run.


To keep up with the running volume, add HIIT sessions and supersets to add intensity bursts followed by periods of low-intensity sets. Lastly, work your muscles out until they fatigue for longer endurance and better enhanced cardiovascular fitness.

Week 3 Increasing the Intensity

The key to maintaining strength and performance during the marathon is to target specific muscle groups through intense training. In addition, understanding how this intense training complements race training and mixes the different types of exercises and variations.

Goals of Week 3:

Our goal for the third week of exercise is to enhance functional strength and endurance with HIIT and circuit training.

Week 3: Increasing the Intensity
DaysExerciseSets Tips
Day 1– Single-Leg Pallof Presses
– Bulgarian Split Squat
3 sets of 15 reps
Day 2– Plank
– DeadbugsStraight Leg Calf Raises
– Bent Leg Calf Raises
– Dead Bugs
3 Sets each of 15 repsTry to get the maximum raise in calf raises.
Day 3– Rest
Day 4– Side Lying Leg Raises
– Fire Hydrants
– Planks
– Single-Leg Pallof Presses
3 Sets each of 15 reps20 reps after 3 sets
Day 5– Glute Bridge 
– Single-Leg Glute Bridge
– Single Leg Deadlift
– Push-ups
3 Sets each of 15 reps60 secs rest within the sets
Day 6– Rest
Day 7– Single-Leg Pallof Presses
– Bulgarian Split Squat
– Cycling 
– Running
3 Sets each of 15 repsStay hydrated and increase your mileage.


Tips are to focus on the specific muscle groups that are essential for marathon runners, like legs, glutes, core, and connective tissues. Do not go up with higher weights, especially during the marathon season. Moreover, bodyweight exercises bring more results than heavy-weight exercises.

Week 4 Tapering Strength Workout

It is the 4th week of our training that ensures our success in the marathon training strength workouts. From now on, we have to focus on tapering our exercises down, preparing for the race days, and gradually reducing the training volume.

Goals of Week 4:

In the fourth week, our goal is to taper the strength training for better performance on the marathon day. For this purpose, we will reduce the frequency of strength training exercises. In addition, focus more on recovery to boost body energy while maintaining the fitness level.

Week 4: Tapering Strength Workout
DaysExerciseSets Tips
Day 1– Wall Sits 
– Overhead Squats
– Reverse Lunges
2 sets of 12 reps60 secs rest within the sets
Day 2– Push-Ups
– Step-Ups With Overhead Presses
– Running
2 Sets each of 12 repsKeep a high mileage.
Day 3– RestGet a sports massage and keep up with the mileage.
Day 4– Medicine Ball Forward Lunges with Rotation
– Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
2 Sets each of 12 reps60 secs rest within the sets
Day 5– Push-Ups
– Step-Ups With Overhead Presses
2 Sets each of 12 reps
Day 6– RestcyclingGet a massage and keep up with the running form.
Day 7– Running


Reduce the volume and intensity of workouts progressively during this taper week; it will help you fine-tune your training. To keep your body performing optimally, add strength workouts for half marathon. This way, you will be able to maximise the performance of your work through adequate sleep, nutrition, and priming your body with focused workouts. 

Week 5 Race Week

It is the last week. Also it means that our strength building and endurance training is finished. You should still be active during this time period, and build up your stamina while working on your recovery.

Goals of Week 5:

In the fifth week, our goal is to minimise the strength workout further and focus more on:

  • Focus on running forms
  • Body Alignments
  • Maintaining Posture


Avoid any kind of intense workouts; instead, try to include walks, jogs, massages, and saunas in the last week. This will ensure your body is rejuvenated and prepared for the event with the maximum power and stamina. In addition, by dedicating this last week to fine-tuning your running forms and focusing on the run, you will be able to optimise your performance drastically.

Week 5: Race Week
DaysExerciseSets Tips
Day 1– Side Lying Leg Raises
– Pushups
2 sets of 12 repsFocus on refining running forms
Day 2– Glute Bridge
– Cycling
2 Sets each of 10 repsOptimise the mobility and flexibility 
Day 3– RestResting in a midweek will greatly enhance your body performance
Day 4– Plank
– Pushups
2 Sets each of 10 reps
Day 5-Wall Sits 
– Running
2 Sets each of 10 repsThis will help your body to stay fit and fresh 
Day 6– RestGet massage therapy. It will aid in recovery.
Day 7– Gentle stretching
– Foam rolling
– Light yoga for recovery
– Sports Massage
These help reduce muscle inflammation and muscle aches

Tips to Optimise Marathon Strength Training Workouts

Tips to Optimise Marathon Strength Training Workouts
  1. Use reps and rest formula

Research suggests that when you are working on strength training, you should focus on the 6-12 reps of the set. With at least 60- 90 seconds of rest between all the sets. In addition, this can induce hypertrophy and cause fatigue.

  1. High-Intensity Exercise

For the perfect growth and strength training, try to pick heavier weights but not too heavy. Second, gradually increase the intensity of your strength training.

  1. Vary Your Exercises

Combining and mixing your exercises with the body weight and with the equipment incorporates multiple muscles and increases the efficiency of the workout.

  1. Consider a Professional Trainer

If you are looking to amp up your marathon strength workout, look for a professional and trained personal trainer. He/she will be able to understand your needs and requirements and suggest a tailored workout.

  1. Nutrition and Healthy Diet

Lastly, it also includes a high-protein diet essential to strengthening muscles and improving performance. Try to take protein before or after the 30 minutes of workout. 

Bottom Line

By the end of this 5-week strength workout for marathon training, you will notice a significant difference in your stamina and endurance. Hence, by adding strength training to your marathon prep, you’re not just running; you’re running longer and stronger. Train well, recover better, and let those muscles drive you toward victory!


How much Strength training is required per week for marathon runners?

3-4 Days a week with at least 2 days of rest; moreover, try not to run more on the same day with high-intensity workouts.

Why should you do strength training when training for a marathon?

Strength training enhances endurance levels, prevents injuries, and strengthens muscles and connective tissues, which are really important for any marathon runner.

What is the best training program for the runners?

For balanced training and optimal results, do strength training workouts half days of the week, not more than that.

How long should strength workouts for marathon training be?

You can witness significant improvement with just 30 minutes of strength training sessions per day and 2,3 times a week.

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