How to run stronger and faster than ever


If you want to be a faster runner, then do this strength and mobility circuit. It will help improve your running technique and lower your risk of injury.

Start with a few minutes of brisk walking, then perform the exercises in the order shown.

Single leg dip
Why? To strengthen the muscles that stabilise the pelvis and the knee joint.
How to do it: Stand with your weight evenly on both feet. Lift one leg in front of you and imagine you are going to sit on a bar stool. Take your bottom backwards and bend your supporting knee. Only go as far as you comfortably can. Aim for six to 10 reps per leg.

Why? To strengthen the glutes and lower back, and improve pelvic stability.
How to do it: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Raise your body to form a line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for five seconds, then lower for five. Repeat five times. If this is easy, lift each knee alternately, to raise your foot from the floor.

Full squat
Why? To strengthen glutes, hamstrings and quads. Plus, toimprove your ankle flexibility and elasticity in your Achilles’ tendon.
How to do it: Stand with your weight more on the balls of your feet than on your heels. Take your arms out in front and squat down, aiming to keep your torso upright and ensuring your knees don’t roll in or out. Allow your heels to lift when they need to. Go into as deep a squat as you can, and then back up to the start position. Repeat six to 10 times.

Why? To strengthen your core stabilisers and lower back, toimprove running posture.
How to do it: Lie face down on the floor with your elbows under your shoulders, hands clasped. Engage your core and raise your body to form a straight line from the nape of your neck to your heels. Hold, but don’t forget to breathe. Build up to one minute.

Hip-flexor stretch
Why? Because tight hip flexors restrict your stride and put extra stress on your back.
How to do it: Take a large step forwards with your left leg, allowing your right knee to rest on the floor, shoelaces facing down. Bring your torso upright and curl your tailbone under – then gently press your right hip forwards. If this feels easy, take hold of the foot of your back leg and draw it up towards your buttock on the same side. Repeat on your other leg.

Calf stretch
Why? Because tight calves contribute to excessive pronation (rolling in of the foot).
How to do it: Take a big step forwards with your left foot, bending your left knee. Keep your right leg straight, toes pointing forwards. Gently press your right heel into the ground. Keep your torso upright and don’t arch your back. Now swap sides.

Spine mobiliser
Why? Lower back pain is common in runners, but better spinal mobility reduces the problem.
How to do it: Lie with your knees bent and feet on the floor, close to your bottom. Open your arms at shoulder height and let your knees drop to the left. Draw them back to the centre and drop to the other side. Repeat a few times, then hug your knees to your chest.