Marathons have you traveling long distances, but what if you want to train right at home? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to boost your running time and endurance without ever needing to step outside the front door. Let’s dive right in with home workouts for marathon runners that’ll help you run faster, longer, and more efficiently.
Why it’s Important to Train
Over one million runners complete a marathon
every year. If you’re one of them, understandably, you might think, “Well, if I want to get better at running, all I need to do is run.” This makes sense but it is part only part of the story.
True, running will make you a better runner. But there are also more specific exercises that will contribute to your progress. Anything that helps increase the strength and power output of your legs is going to work in your favor. Additionally, improving your metabolic conditioning means that your heart and lungs won’t have to work quite as hard to get you through your next marathon.
Plus, the right training is going to help you avoid injury and manage wear and tear.
So, what are some home workouts that are perfect for marathon runners?
5 Best Exercises for Runners
Let’s move into five exercises that marathon runners will love.
1. Step-Up + Jump
If you have a plyo box or a sturdy bench or chair, that’ll work. Step up with one foot onto the box and jump at the top, using your arms to drive you upward. This exercise is great for both building strength and improving explosiveness — two things marathon runners need.
Building strength as a runner not only helps reduce the risk of injury but also makes it easier for your brain to recruit the muscles you need to keep you moving. Improving explosiveness means boosting your ground contact time. In other words, your feet don’t need as much time to strike the ground and keep you running. Have you ever seen a runner who seems to almost float, and then another athlete who kinds of drags themselves along the path? That’s the difference in explosiveness. The explosive runner is better able to push off the ground, faster.
2. Speed Skaters
Marathon runners need to be quick and light on their feet. Jump from side to side, lunging back and forth between your left and right feet. When you’re lunging on the right side, tap your left hand on the ground. On the left foot, tap your right hand. Aim to build tension on each side when you squat, and then burst out of it to move to the other side.
3. Single-Leg Hops
Running is technically a unilateral exercise since you work one side of your body at a time (meaning you alternate which leg hits the ground). A great home workout for marathon runners is single-leg hops. This will force you to focus on one leg at a time, pinpointing any imbalances of weakness.
4. Dead Bug
Lay on your back with your hands extended above you, pointing toward the ceiling, arms straight. Lift your feet up so that both your hips and knees are bent at 90 degrees. Your shins should be parallel to the floor. Slowly, straighten one leg at a time, lowering the foot to just above the floor. Bring it back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Dead bugs are excellent for building core strength, which is vital in marathon running — and everything else we do in life.
5. Squat Jumps
Squats are a staple of nearly every training program. Up the challenge by extending into a jump. Think of getting as much air as possible. In addition to building strength, you’re improving your power output. Plus, this one is great for aerobic conditioning.
Avoiding Shin Splints and Injuries with Proper Form
Strength training is great for improving your performance and avoiding injury, but the high impact of running can still wreak havoc on your body. Shin splints, knee and hip pain, and other related discomfort and injuries are common for marathon runners. Much of it comes from overuse. However, improper form and poor mobility are also culprits.
To avoid shin splints, here are a few tips:
- Stretch out your calves and hamstrings. You can also roll them out on a foam roller to help loosen the muscle tissue. Do this during your warmup or cooldown, or on your active recovery days. It’s excellent for managing soreness.
- Increase your training intensity gradually. One of the biggest causes of shin splints is a sudden and intense spike in training. Modest steps are key.
- Vary your running surfaces. Constantly running on hard surfaces can wreak havoc on your body. Mix it up with sand, grass, turf, and other diverse surfaces.
- Take a lacrosse ball to your feet. They experience a ton of wear and tear. Gently roll a lacrosse ball around under each foot to loosen the tissue.
- Incorporate strength work. Yes, weight lifting while marathon training is a must!
Pay Attention to Your Food and Water Intake
Your nutrition might very well need to change along with your training. On higher-intensity days, listen to your body if it’s asking for extra calories, especially carbs and protein. These macronutrients are vital in repairing your muscles and fueling you for the day.
Take your climate into consideration, too.
- Running in high humidity: Because your sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, it places your body under additional stress. This means your temperature is going to rise. Try to run at cooler times of day. Wear sunscreen, since a sunburn can make it harder for your body to cool itself. And wear light, loose-fitting clothes in lighter colors.
- Running in low humidity: In this case, you might find it harder to sweat. Consider carrying water and even a small spray bottle on you to cool your skin down. It dries quickly!
- Running at higher altitudes: At higher altitudes, there’s less oxygen available. This means your body has to work harder to function. The best thing you can do, if possible, is to increase your elevation slowly. Don’t do it all in one fell swoop — it’s going to be too jarring on your body.
In every scenario, hydration is of utmost importance. Pay attention to how pigmented your urine is — this is usually a safe indication of how hydrated you are (or are not).
Use Innovative Technology to Help You Succeed
These days, thanks to technology, you never have to train alone — even if you’re doing so from home. Science has given us smart home gym systems that eliminate the need for rows of equipment and trips to a commercial gym.
We created Tempo Move
to turn your living space into a home gym, using only your TV and iPhone. Receive real-time guidance on your form and get tips on how to manage your reps and weights. Tempo Studio
is a powerful, all-in-one solution for the athlete looking to hit it hard.
Both systems use 3D Tempo Vision to monitor your form and provide video. It’s like having your own personal coach by your side. Track your progress
over time and aim to get 1% better every day. Small but consistent changes lead to big results.
Get Started with Tempo
Tempo’s mission is to change the way you train, no matter where you’re doing it or how much space you have. And with over a thousand workouts available to you — and more always being added — you’ll never get bored when you work out with us. Shop with Tempo