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What's a balanced exercise routine for runners?

The question

I really enjoy running five to seven kilometres, five days per week. I know I should be doing exercises other than running. I am not sure how to structure my exercise week so that it is balanced.

The answer

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Since it sounds like you are not training for a specific running event, I would suggest you limit your runs to a maximum of three times per week to prevent injury and boredom, and that you add strength, core and flexibility training to your routine.

Try this sample week:

Running workout 1: easy run. For you, this would be your regular five to seven kilometres. Others should pick a distance they can run comfortably in roughly 30 minutes.

At the end of this run, do 20 to 30 minutes of core, foot and ankle work. See the exercise in the Trainer's Tip for a sample exercise.

Once or twice per month, replace this run with something different, for example a spinning class, a team sport or kayaking. Just challenge your body to do a workout it is not used to.

Running workout 2: speed work. Do a 10- or 15-minute warm up. Then do five to 10 sets of one-minute hard running followed by two minutes of moderate running. Finish with a 10- to 15-minute cool down.

Running workout 3: longer run. This run should be slightly longer than your easy run. Never increase the duration of this run by more than 10 per cent a week.

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After your speed work and longer run, do 20-plus minutes of flexibility and/or yoga.

Workout 4 and 5: resistance training in the gym.

Trainer's Tip

Strengthen your ankles, knees and especially your glutes by doing a standing balance exercise after your run. Simply stand on one leg. Engage your glutes and look to see your knee is in line with your second toe, and your weight is equally distributed on your foot. Hold this position and close your eyes. Try to hold for 30 seconds on each leg.



Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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