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Train Like a Professional Runner

Jesi Metz, UC San Diego senior sports performance coach, shares the must-do exercises to get the most out of your mileage

1. Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and head relaxed before squeezing your glutes and driving your hips up (A). To take it to the next level, raise one leg off the ground at a time. Tense both legs and pull your toes toward your shins as you drive up your hips to ensure your muscles are activated (B).

Do 2 sets of 20 reps for double leg bridges or 2 sets of 10 for single leg bridges.

Train Like a Professional Runner

Train Like a Professional Runner

2. Banded Monster Walk

Place an exercise mini band around the top of your knees or ankles (A). Hinge from your hips with knees slightly bent and take small steps sideways. Imagine a ceiling above your head, and stay right below that (B).

Do 2–3 sets of 15 steps in each direction.

Train Like a Professional Runner

Train Like a Professional Runner

3. Single Leg Calf Raise

Start with both feet on the ground (A). Shift weight onto one leg, lift opposite leg off the ground, and raise your stationary foot to your tippy toes. Pause for a breath at the top (B) and slowly lower back down without bouncing. Make sure to keep your raised leg and glutes engaged, and hips forward.

Do 10–15 reps on each leg.

Train Like a Professional Runner

Train Like a Professional Runner

4. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand on one leg, squeezing glutes and making sure foot is active. Hinge from hips, keeping shoulders and hips moving together but in opposite directions (hips back, shoulders forward). Make sure hips and shoulders form a straight line.

Do 2 sets of 10–15 reps on each leg.

Train Like a Professional Runner

Train Like a Professional Runner

5. Plank with Limb Lift

Rise to a plank with shoulders stacked above your wrists. Lift one leg at a time (A & B). For an arm variation, raise one arm to ear level, drop back down to both hands on the ground, then switch arms (C & D). Keep hip raised throughout the plank series.

Do 2 sets of 8–12 reps on each limb, pausing for 1–2 seconds at top.

Why Warming Up Matters

“It’s about making sure your body is ready and awake,” says UCSD Senior Sports Performance Coach Jesi Metz. “If your muscles are active, you’ll run more efficiently, but you’ll also protect your joints.”

Although her clients are Triton athletes, she advises everyday runners to incorporate the same warm-up exercises (left) into their routines.

“If you’re running after work, you’ve been sitting all day, your muscles are basically turned off,” she says. “If you don’t want to be in pain, this is the way to do it. Even if you do just a 2–3 minute jog and then pick two lower body moves and one core exercise, that would maybe take five minutes total.”

Most importantly, Metz emphasizes that running isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of sport.

“Don’t look at the Olympic marathoner and think you’ll do their exact warm-up. See what you’ll actually do rather than a set program from someone else that doesn’t work with your schedule or body. Running isn’t a punishment—it can be enjoyable for everyone.”

Train Like a Professional Runner

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