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How to Gain Strength and Why It Helps You

Endurance circuits that’ll help runners gain strength

As runners we always want to see improvement. Especially if we started training for the first time! We want to crush our goals. We want to run further and faster. Gaining strength when training for a marathon or half marathon isn’t easy. In order to run longer distances, you must properly prepare your body to run longer distances. Runners need to gain strength, not build muscle mass. That’s why an endurance circuit is beneficial. We break down how it’ll help you gain strength and explain “the why.” Follow the two workouts below to gain strength during your Austin Marathon training! BONUS: gym and weights aren’t needed.

Gain strength and take your fitness to the next level

Image of runner jumping while crossing the 2020 Austin Half Marathon finish line. She's in mid-air making the Longhorn sign with both hands. Read this blog and learn how to gain strength so you can cross the finish line like this!Combine anaerobic and aerobic during your next workout and take your fitness to the next level. This type of workout is different from strength circuit training and requires less time. Strength circuit training is completing a number of different exercises one after the other in quick succession. These types of workouts are good for general health and muscle strength. However, most distance runners aren’t looking to gain muscle mass. They want to gain strength, make running longer distances easier, and improve race performance. 

You can accomplish this by splitting the number of exercises in a normal strength circuit into sets. Try two sets of four (eight total) or two sets of five (10 total) movements. At the start, middle, and end of each set, run at a pace that will get your heart rate to your desired performance (BPM – beats per minute). Use the pace of your shortest distance race (ex. marathoners – run your goal 10K pace, 5Kers run your goal mile pace). Start at a distance that will get your heart rate to the desired BPM and progress from there.  

Intro Endurance Circuit Workout

Warmup: 800m + stretch

200-400m at goal pace for shortest race (70-80% – max BPM)

  • 5 – burpees 
  • 10 – backward lunges (each leg)
  • 5 – pushups
  • 10 – sit-ups 
  • 1-minute plank
  • 30-second break

200-400m at goal pace for shortest race (70-80% – max BPM)

  • 10 – tricep dips “bench dips”
  • 15 – calf raises
  • 10 – squats
  • 10 – bicycle crunch
  • 1-minute plank
  • 30-second break

200-400m at goal pace for shortest race (70-80% – max BPM)

Once you’re comfortable with this workout, increase the distance and number of reps for each movement.  As you progress, you can add second and third sets using the last run in the previous set as the first run of the next set. Mixing up the circuit movements can help you gain strength and improve overall fitness and endurance. Add dumbbell or kettlebell movements to the circuits as needed for an additional challenge.

Advanced Endurance Circuit Workout

Warmup: 800m + stretch

800m at goal pace for shortest race (75-85% – max BPM)

  • 8 – burpees 
  • 10 – backward lunges (each leg)
  • 10 – pushups
  • 20 – sit-ups 
  • 1-minute plank
  • 30-second break

800m at goal pace for shortest race (75-85% – max BPM)

  • 25 – calf raises
  • 15 – tricep dips “bench dips”
  • 15 – squats
  • 20 – bicycle crunch
  • 1-minute plank
  • 30-second break

800m at goal pace for shortest race (75-85% – max BPM)

Preparing your body for marathon or half marathon training is imperative. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. These endurance circuits will help you gain strength over time. Just like your training plan will increase your mileage over time! Are there other ways you’ve learned to gain strength during your training? Let us know in the Austin Marathon Facebook Group or Twitter!

The Best of all the Amazing On-Course Murals

Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon Introduce Run Austin Virtual Series

All six events in the Run Austin Virtual Series will have a unique distance and an Austin theme

The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour and 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour joined forces to create the Run Austin Virtual Series. Everyone is invited to participate in the 6-month-long virtual series. The Run Austin Virtual Series begins this month with the Wildflower 1 Mile. The series will continue in August with the Armadillo 5K and build up to a 10-miler in December.

Image of female runner during the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Image announces the Run Austin Virtual Series, a 6-event series where the events increase in distance every month.“The Run Austin Virtual Series is a great way for all runners to hold themselves accountable as they prepare to run Austin’s streets in 2021,” said Leo Manzano, Olympic silver medalist and Austin Marathon Celebrity Ambassador. “Even those who aren’t registered can participate and use the monthly events as goals. Plus, they’re starting with my favorite distance!”

Run Austin perks

Participants of the Run Austin Virtual Series will receive themed downloadable personalized bibs, digital finisher medals, and finisher certificates. Participants will also enjoy fun extras like an online finisher photo booth and virtual reality filters for social media. Registration is open for each of the events for $18. Free entry to the entire six-event series, a $108 value,  is available to participants of the 2021 3M Half Marathon or the 2021 Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. New distances will be launched at the beginning of the month. Limited-edition merchandise customized for each event will be available for purchase throughout the series.

“We’re excited to launch the Run Austin Virtual Series and introduce this virtual opportunity to the running community,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “The six events are milestones in the runner’s journey to their ultimate goals, the Austin Marathon or 3M Half Marathon finish lines.”

Austin’s flagship running event, the Austin Marathon, will celebrate its 30th anniversary on February 14th. It annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 35+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart. They are within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line is in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is currently open.

The 3M Half Marathon boasts one of the fastest 13.1-mile courses in the country. It will celebrate its 27th year running on January 17th. Runners will enjoy a point-to-point course with mostly downhill running. The 13.1-mile course showcases some of Austin’s finest locations. Participants start in north Austin and finish near the Texas State Capitol. Many participants set their 13.1-mile PR because of the 300’ net elevation drop. Registration is currently open.