Two (Simple!) Routines That Have Improved my Running

Hi run fam! Happy Monday! What better day to regain focus on your goals! As hard as it is to wake up, I love getting my Monday workout (run) done early. I feel like it’s the kick-off to my whole week.

Before jumping in to the two things that have improved – or shall I say SAVED – my running, I want to thank Lifelong Endurance for coaching me through every step of my running journey and bringing the importance of these things to light. Having a coach has truly been the backbone of my running since the beginning. THANK YOU!

So. Let’s get to it.

#1: The Warm-Up

Warming up. Like, actually warming up. Not just lifting a cup of coffee to the lips and bending over a little weird to put on my shoes.

As soon as I started having this piriformis “issue” that I’ve slowly overcome, Coach actually added a “Dynamic Warm-Up” into my training plan. It was always assumed that I did some sort of warm up, but having it written down, step-by.step, next to my run (in my mind) meant that I actually had to do it. I guess I could only get away with running out the door (literally) for so long.

I used what my coach gave me along with some videos from The Run Experience (great, helpful YouTube videos with running tips!) and curated my own routine for warming up. I make the time to do this before EVERY. SINGLE. RUN. Easy run, speed, work, long run, everything. If I don’t do it, I can tell a difference – even after just one run.

The Warm-Up

Total time < 10 minutes. Picture this happening up and down a driveway distance

  • Little skips down and back
  • 20 high knees down, walk
  • 20 butt kickers down, walk
  • 20 lunges, walk
  • 10 air squats
  • 8-12 leg swings forward and across body, each leg
  • runner’s lunge – circle hips a few times each direction

That’s it! So, really not even stretching but just warming up the legs, body, and mind (especially on those 5 am runs). I truly think this is/has been/will be a HUGE KEY in staying injury-free for me. If I don’t do any movement other than the repetitive one-leg-in-front-of-the-other movement, my legs get stiff and cranky.

#2: One Exercise Other Than Running

Yep. ONE. One exercise (per week) OTHER than running. Getting out of the “running plane” just once a week can greatly improve your mobility and running!

This could be any sort of cross-training – cycling, swimming, kickboxing… or what seems to help ME even more is a NON-CARDIO-based workout. So, that dreaded workout… dun dun dun… strength. Yes, I’m still learning to love it and get comfortable with it, but functional STRENGTH workouts seem to really be helping me. I’m a newbie but just know that if I keep it up, I will only get stronger and faster.

So, I’ve been specifically doing a leg routine prescribed by Lifelong Endurance once a week. It looks like A LOT but the sets go by really quick. An hour (max) is about all you need in the gym for this.


Start with warm-up (leg openers: lunges, step ups on a bench, split squat)

Set 1 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Walking lunge with weight
  2. Weighted calf raise
  3. Step ups on a bench, weighted with leg raise
  4. Reverse lunge
  5. Single leg cable kick back
  6. Leg curls (hamstring)
  7. Seated leg curl (quad)
  8. Full squat

Set 2 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Narrow stance leg press
  2. Walking lunge with twist
  3. Hip abductors
  4. Hip adductors
  5. Piston kicks/knee-drivers
  6. Mountain climbers (x30)
  7. Barbell deadlift
  8. Leg curl with yoga ball

I told you – it looks like a lot. My recommendation is to do what I did – just go to the gym (or most can be done even in your living room) and just go through this list and DO WHAT YOU CAN. YouTube it if you need to. Just doing SOMETHING is going to be significant. If you do half this list one day, the other half another day, or just pick and choose from the list.

Obligatory “gym selfie”

Another tip: even if I have a spare 10 minutes in the morning (and the energy!) I will knock out a few that I know I can do at home, knowing I’ll spend less time in the gym later!

THANK you again to Lifelong Endurance for sharing these amazing tips and workouts and for keeping me strong. Thank YOU for all your support!!! Run happy, friends!

What is your favorite non-running workout?

What routine/habit do you “swear by” in your workouts?

8 thoughts on “Two (Simple!) Routines That Have Improved my Running

  1. My piriformis acts up as well at times; I blame having a sit down job. I find that having a full dynamic warmup can keep it from flaring up during a run; I do some of the same moves as you as well as some upper body ones such as neck rolls and shoulder rolls just to fully loosen up. I also try to complete a mobility or yoga workout once or twice a week and foam rolling/tennis ball to the glute. As far as non-running workouts I just wrote a blog entry about DailyBurn and how much I love it. It’s fun and challenging without being overkill and I think helps keep me injury free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh very nice! I will have to check out your new post for sure. I agree with the sit-down job part. Now, sitting is really the only thing that hurts it. BAD. Even sitting for 30 minutes I can feel it start up. I got a stand-up desk and it’s helped a TON. Glad you know some things that help! I need to roll and do yoga!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope they help! I really, really believe that the warm-up has made my body SO much happier and think I’d continue to be in a cycle of injury/having to rest without it.


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