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  • Campbell Craig

Strength Training for Your First Marathon

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

This strength training guide is designed to support your training for your first Marathon over a 12-week period. The ideal start time would be 14 weeks prior to the event to allow you to enjoy a 2-week taper period before your event.


  1. Achieve the best understanding of how strength training can be applied to your lifestyle

  2. Provide you with some daily corrective exercises if appropriate

  3. Develop and achieve your own goals, such as:

  • Run pain free

  • Achieve a PB

  • Run faster

  • Run further

  • Run Stronger!!!


These goals are quite simply achieved through improving the strength of your muscles, the strength of your connective tissues such as tendons, and enhancing your neural network.


This program is designed to support all runners to achieve their goal of training for your first marathon injury free. The exercises in the program can all be accessed in video format at physiapp. Free download Physiappappleandroid, plug in the code at the top of the table (eg. table 1: rjoczjsc), and you can view the exercises on your phone or tablet. Your date of birth is this year, 2019.


The app will provide you with videos of each exercise as well as detailed descriptions. If you are uncomfortable performing the exercises without supervision, then please book in with your local physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or other exercise professional to ensure you are performing the exercises with correct technique.


Life is busy. If you happen to miss a week, simply repeat the previous week and carry on. The table progresses the difficulty of the exercises based on you completing the previous weeks exercises two times. If you miss a session, please repeat that week again. I would rather you are able to safely progress more gradually than rush through the program and risk injury.


This is important. The equipment used in these exercises is easy to source, easy to use, and in the case of the broomstick, also works to aid technique development. You will require:

  1. 1 broomstick

  2. 1 x 10L water container

  3. 1 skipping rope (optional)

For the step up exercise anything above ground level will be absolutely fine, it just has to be stable. Likewise, for the box jumps if you decide to progress to phase 2.


Phase 1 is where we begin. The focus in this phase is building technique and strength. Phase 2 is optional. The focus in phase 2 is faster, more dynamic movement to translate your strength into power. If you are enjoying phase 1 then continue for a further 4 weeks before enjoying your taper.


This is the important part. Forget about sets and weights, this is how you know that you are doing the exercises correctly. To achieve the best results, I would like you to become fatigued somewhere in the suggested rep range. Eg. Week 1 has 12-15 reps, meaning that I would like you to become tired or start to struggle to maintain good technique between 12 and 15 reps. If you can get to 15 reps, then simply slow down the movement. If you struggle to achieve 12 reps with good technique, then rest when fatigued and build up over time.


As we are starting with relatively light loads the focus will be on performing the exercises slowly. This increases the ‘time under tension’, or the amount of time the muscles are spending in a contracted state. This is a great way to build strength while working on technique. It is easy to sacrifice technique when moving quickly, however you are more likely to notice any unwanted movements when you are moving slowly and with control. The ideal tempo is 3 seconds to move in each direction for the single leg squats and the step ups.


The weights in the table are just suggestions. If you have some weights at home that suit these exercises, then please use those. The water containers are great, have a handle and are easily adjusted by adding water.


Skipping is a fantastic way to build strength in your lower legs (and a good lung buster!). Even if it has been a few years since ‘jump rope for heart’, everyone can hop up and down. There is no best way to skip, please go with whichever technique comes naturally to you.

#runstrong #runningstrength #marathonstrengthtraining
Phase 1: Weeks 1-8. Strength Development. Physiapp Code: rjoczjsc DOB: 2019

#runstrong #runningstrength #marathonstrengthtraining
Phase 2: Weeks 9-12. Power Development. Physiapp Code: oofkdcqm DOB 2019

This program is a great way to get started on your strength journey. For more programs, check out the Strength Programs section on Run Strong. For any questions, please get in contact

#marathontraining #firstmarathon #runnersstrength #runstrong

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