Beyond Speed: Incorporating Strength and Flexibility Training to Break Through Running Plateaus

Many runners eventually find that despite their efforts to beat their best times, their endurance plateaus. However, if you’re only focused on increasing your mileage or speeding up your sprints, you might be overlooking crucial elements of a comprehensive training routine: strength and flexibility training.

Why Strength and Flexibility Matter:

Strength Training: Not Just for Bodybuilders.
It’s true, strength training might help you build those biceps, but it also adds huge value to runners. More powerful muscles allow runners to increase efficiency, power, and endurance by maintaining pace and fending off fatigue. For a deep dive into the science-backed benefits of strength training for runners, including its effects on muscle imbalances and endurance, check out this comprehensive piece from Runner’s Blueprint.

Flexibility training:
Flexibility aids in muscle recovery, reduces the risk of injury, and can help improve stride length and efficiency. Regular stretching and mobility exercises can ensure  your muscles are at an optimum condition. Learn more about the importance of flexibility and strength from experts like Laura Norris, who explains the benefits extensively on The Mother Runners.


Incorporating Strength Training:

Start simple: Begin with body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. On days when you’re not running, focus on strength training to avoid adding to the fatigue from running.

Focus on Core and Legs: For runners, having a strong core and legs is crucial. Key exercises that can help include planks, Russian twists, deadlifts, and calf raises.

Progress to weights: As you progress, you can introduce free weights or resistance bands to gradually increase the strength challenge for your muscles. For advice on whether to lift heavy or light weights, and how frequently to train, consider consulting expert guidance available on The Mother Runners.

Incorporating Flexibility Training:

Daily Stretching:Take a few minutes each day to stretch your legs, back, and hips to maintain flexibility. The best time to stretch is after your run when your muscles are still warm.

Try yoga or Pilates:Both activities are excellent for cross-training. They offer flexibility, core strength, and mental focus, which can enhance your running performance.

Include dynamic warm-up: Start your runs with dynamic stretches such as leg swings and lunges to prepare your body and prevent injuries.


Incorporating strength and flexibility training into your routine can enhance muscle strength and flexibility, break performance plateaus, and reduce injury risks. Each run contributes to a stronger, more flexible you as varied training brings fresh challenges and progress. By adopting expert-backed strategies, you can improve your running performance beyond just adding miles or speeding up sprints.