Circuit Training For Runners (How to Avoid Granny Shuffle)

I have noticed that while my running has been going well after training consistently for a year, I'm starting to develop bad runner habits. When my run is over I don't stretch. I hadn't done a crunch or plank in over a month.

At first these habits weren't affecting me. Then I raced a 5k. The last mile and a half I felt my form fall apart. All hunched over, my arms were just limply flailing around, my stride turning to an odd shuffle. And that's when I decided it was time to get back to the circuit training.

After an easy day (4 miles or so) I write down a quick workout.

core arms legs
the hundred
squat + shoulder press
plank/side planks
single leg standing fly
one leg bridge pulse
bicycle crunch intervals
standing one leg, dumbbell run arms
curtsy squat with lateral raise

Then I do each exercise for :60 timed on my iPhone. I run through the core, arms, legs. Rest and stretch for :60 then the next row...then I repeat it all a second time. It's mindless and easy to get done in under 30 minutes.

I have two 8 pound dumbbells and a notebook full of workouts from Runner's World, Women's Fitness and physical therapy that I've ripped out and saved over the years. When I can't think of something to do I just do a quick flip through for ideas. Using Google is a good way to find exercises too, "arm exercises for runners" "best core for runner"...

My favorite one from this workout was the last one (curtsy squat with lateral raise). It works glutes, obliques, hips, quads, hamstrings, shoulders and it tests your balance. This is perfect for runners, full body + balance (running is done on one leg - balance is very important to form).

full workout can be found on

My goal is to complete circuit training twice a week. Ideally it would be three - four times, but I'm going to work up to that.

What do you do to compliment your running? Circuit? Yoga? Barre? Have you noticed a positive affect on your running?


  1. these past few years i have enjoyed complementing my evening runs with cookies. i think though my new years resolution will be to *try* and do something like you described up there. it IS in my best interests, esp if i want to get faster at the shorter stuff. but...i am a weak man, so we'll see. good luck!

  2. this is a great post! i have been consistent about doing a 45 minute strength circuit twice a week for about the past 6-7 months and i have seen great improvements in my running. i also feel like i recover better from hard track workouts and long runs. i teach pilates and believe it is so incredibly important to do core exercises consistentyl. it's funny - it really doesn't take a lot of time (10 minutes daily would be plenty!!) but it is so easy to blow it off. my favorite way to compliment my running is probably yoga, a great vinyasa flow class. but i haven't been consistent about that in a loooong time. it is harder for me to find the time to go to a class and with three kids under the age of 6 i could really use it! maybe a resolution for 2012 :o)

  3. oh, and i meant to say - i love your idea of making a notebook full of different exercises. sometimes i get stuck doing all the same stuff and need new ideas!


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