The best moves for marathoners

Our comprehensive 16-week strength-training program will get you fitter (and faster) by race day.

Though crisp air and changing leaves seem almost too far off in the future to contemplate, fall marathon training season is already in full swing. But in focusing so intently on hitting mileage goals, most aspiring 26.2 finishers neglect a major component of race prep: Strength-training. That’s why we tapped a team of Equinox trainers to develop a 16-week strength-training plan designed specifically with a marathoner’s needs in mind. These weekly workouts will complement your running schedule perfectly, setting you up for a stronger, faster finish.

The Experts: Chris Heuisler is a Tier 4 trainer in Boston who has more than 25 marathon finishes under his belt. While training for the 2011 NYC Marathon, Chris co-produced and starred in a documentary film about what it takes to run the best race of your life, which is expected to hit festivals this fall or early 2014. Jason Skinner, a former college baseball player, is a Tier 4 coach and one of the original trainers at Equinox Franklin Street who holds certifications through ACSM and Precision Nutrition.

Why You Need It: Incorporating strength-training will not only stave off injury, it will make you a more well-balanced runner. "Try to look at strength training as a means to support your running as opposed to time spent away from running,” says Heuisler. Adds Skinner: “The stress that endurance training, particularly for marathons, can put on the body is so great that without adequate movement and structural capability, skeletal and muscular structure will break down. In order to be a successful and healthy runner, you cannot neglect strength training. It’s that simple.”

How It Works:Each week’s four-move workout hits the following categories: Mobility, activation, movement prep, and movement. “Too many athletes in our clubs go straight into heavy lifting without properly warming up,” says Heuisler. “To counter this, we establish mobility first, then follow with a core activation exercise. Every week, we have one major movement, but to help the body go through that movement most efficiently, we've added in a movement that will prep the body for the move. Think of it like doing a warm-up lap or two before going into sprints at a track.”

Get Started:Click here to download a PDF of the first four weeks of workouts.

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