Running alone will not adequately strengthen all the muscles you will need to train and run a half or full marathon. Strength training, along with stretching, sleep and diet will form the base on which your running will depend. Training for a half marathon or marathon is considerably more than running. To maximize your training effectiveness, we recommend these exercises:
Lunges: strength for quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteus and calves, and abductors (2-3 times per week/3 sets of 10, build to 4 sets of 15 with dumbells).
These can be done in place or moving forward. Stand up straight with feet about shoulder width apart. Extend your foot forward. Bend knee and lower yourself to ground. You can then either do these in place by pushing off with that front foot and returning it to starting position. Or you can move forward with these by pulling the other foot thru and extending that one in front of you into the next lunge.
Roll-up: balance and strength for leg and hips (2 times per week/3 sets of 10), especially the calves. Good exercise to lessen or avoid shinsplints.
This drill needs to be done very slowly and deliberately. Think of it as slow motion running. Your foot hits the ground, roll thru so you are on the front half of your foot with your heel off the ground and pause there. The better you get at this, the longer you will be able to pause. Then pull the other foot thru as in running and land in front of you. Do this for about 30 meters.
Squat jumps: explosive power for legs, hips, back and arms (2-3 times per week/3 sets of 10)
Starting position: standing up straight with feet about shoulder width apart. Lower yourself into a squat. Then jump up with both feet off ground. Land and resume starting position.
Calf raises: strength for gastrocnemius and soleus (2-3 times per week/3 sets of 5-10 alternate between bent and straight knee. One leg at a time. Use weights.)
Starting position: stand on curb or step. Leg is bent at knee and foot has front half of your foot on curb or step, heel off curb. Lower heel, then raise it above height of toes. Then do calf raises with leg straight.
Russian twist: endurance for abdominals (rectus, transversus) and obliques. (5-7 times per week/3 sets work until burn + 3)
Starting position: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet on ground. Raise yourself as in doing a crunch, but when coming up turn body to one side. Lower and repeat but turn to other side.
Bent knee legs lifts: endurance for lower abs (5-7 times per week/3 sets work until burn + 3)
Starting position: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet on ground. Lift feet, knees, butt and lower back off ground, slowly and deliberately. Then lower to starting position.
Side lying leg lifts: endurance for abductors (gluteus medius and minimus, piriformis, TFL), important exercise to avoid/minimize IT band problems that are very common in long distance running (5-7 times per week/3 sets of 15)
Starting position: Lay on your side with your legs and body in a straight line. Move one foot about 1' in front. Raise leg about 1' and lower, slowly and deliberately at least 10 times. Then move foot about 1' behind you. Raise and lower leg. Then move foot back to starting position, and raise and lower. Switch and do other side. That is one set. Start with 3 sets of 10, and increase to 3 sets of 15.
Donkey kick: endurance for gluteus (5-7 times per week/3 sets of 15)
Starting position: On hands and knees on floor, raise one foot with bent knee so that calf/foot are pointing up in air. Raise and lower slowly and deliberately.
Upper BodyPush ups: strength/endurance for arms and chest (2-3 times per week/3 sets of 20)