So you are competing in the inaugural Bournemouth marathon races! Whether you are a serious distance runner, weekend warrior or running novice, I hope you will have completed quite a few training miles by now to prepare for your run (if you haven’t, stop reading and start running).

It is recognised by just about everyone in the running world that in order to complete distance events in respectable times, there is no alternative to getting the miles in.

However, in recent years there has been a shift in the way many elite distance running coaches train their athletes. Running is still the key, but it is becoming widely recognised that structured strength training can contribute to faster run times.

It may be a little late in your Bournemouth preparation to franticly start trying to squat the weight of a small car, but with only 4 weeks to go you can use the simple moves below to strengthen and stabilise your body and enhance your running performance.

Balance skills are essential in running as you are often balanced momentarily on one foot during a stride. So strengthening your ankles, knees, hips and core muscles is definitely a good plan, and can help prevent avoidable injuries and keep you running efficiently for longer.

As well as keeping you upright, your leg and core muscles are hugely important in propelling each stride forward - the short series below will help you to be stronger and more stable when you run as well as helping you to improve/ maintain optimal posture. Give it a try and hopefully you will thank me at the finish line.

The workout

One set of 12 – 16 repetitions of the exercises set out below (extra sets are optional, maximum of three). At the end of each set you should feel local muscular fatigue (burning and lack of ability to do many more rep’s). Completing only one set is enough to improve running strength and help protect against injury. Use the exercises on two or three non-running days each week, each rep should be slow, taking between four and six seconds unless stated.

The exercises

Feel free to add resistance by holding five-litre water bottles in the standing exercises to increase the workload, and each week try to get a few more rep’s or add a little more weight to the exercises if you can.

Exercise: Slow static lunge

Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings and bum

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:


Aim for a 90/ 95 degree angle at both knees and keep your torso upright. Complete one set of rep’s with left foot forward then one set right. Try holding a chair for balance.

Exercise: Single leg hip extension

Muscles worked: Hamstrings and glutes group

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:

Press the foot into the floor and push your hips up toward the ceiling, try and relax your abdominal muscles, then lower back down. Repeat your reps then try the other side.

Exercise: Alternating single leg toe touch

Muscles worked: Stabiliser muscles of the knee, hip and torso

Bournemouth Echo:

Keep your knee as still as you can and try to minimise wobbling. Try and do the movement as slowly as you can and keep your knee in line with your middle toes, alternating between sides.

Exercise: Calf raise

Muscles worked: Calf muscles

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:

Raise up onto your toe and slowly lower back to the start. Repeat your reps then try the other side.

Exercise: Toe raise

Muscles worked: Shin muscles

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:

Add resistance by using a heavy book – raise the toe toward your shin.

Exercise: Plank superman

Muscles worked: Torso muscles, shoulder, Bum and hip

Bournemouth Echo:

Try to avoid twisting your torso and aim to get your arm and leg parallel to the floor for a couple of seconds, then change arm/leg and keep alternating. Hold for longer as you improve.

Exercise: Shoulder outward rotations

Muscles worked: Shoulder retractors

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:

Start with the thumb facing forward then outwardly rotating your shoulder twist your arm so that your thumbs are facing backward. Return to the start and repeat.

Exercise: Modified bicycle crunch

Muscles worked: Abdominals

Bournemouth Echo:

Start as shown in the picture. Then lower and straighten your arm and leg, switching position so that you now have the opposite elbow and knee touching. You will need to twist your torso so that your elbow and knee can touch. Keep switching until you have completed your target number of rep’s. Move a little faster, each rep should take one-two seconds.

If you want to, you could add some press ups, towel rows, tricep dips and back extensions (these are available in the health and fitness pages at seven days online) to give yourself a full body workout.

Have an amazing run – whether you are in it to win it or just for the experience – well done for getting involved and taking on the course. Good luck!

If you have found these exercises useful or would like information about physical preparation for any sport please look me up at, Twitter @KrisCannPT or Facebook Kris Cann Personal Training.