Credit: Anna Rachel Photography –

With a busy race season ahead over the next three-sixth months, LDN Brunch Club members are putting in the miles and training hard to achieve their 2020 running goals. As well as time out on the road, the key to success will also lie in building solid foundations. Strength and conditioning will play an important role, particularly at this early stage of the year – even seasoned endurance runners can find themselves at a bit of a loss when it comes to determining what constitutes a good strength and conditioning workout for runners.

We enlisted the help of Running Coach and LDN Brunch Club Founder, Stephen Adjaidoo and UKSCA Coach + Level 3 Personal Trainer, Ben Ladd Gibbon from Village Gym Basingstoke; to provide some advice and top tips on how to prepare for marathons and half-marathons over the coming months.


Stephen Adjaidoo, Running Coach and Founder of LDN Brunch Club

Is it really that important for endurance runners to do strength and conditioning work as part of half-marathon and marathon training?

I’d say so. Even with a good base level of fitness, most people going into their first marathon (and even experienced marathon runners) may not have the existing physical capacity to tolerate the high training volume that marathon training requires. Without it, as running distance and frequency increases, some of the common running injuries can occur. A proper programme, not just going to the gym and doing a few random exercises, should help most people reduce the risk of injury and improve their performance. A good programme will also help ensure you aren’t building muscle mass, which could be detrimental to your running training and race performance. For example, lifting too heavy the day before a track session is likely to result in DOMS the next day and will therefore reduce the level of training for that session.

Credit: Anna Rachel Photography –

Most marathon or half-marathon training plans have runs or running sessions five or six days a week, how and where should we fit S&C in? 

I think it’s really common for people to feel like they can’t fit S&C in or they aren’t sure exactly when to do it. Although most plans have runs five+ days, there should be days/times when the run can be done in the morning and then you can do S&C training at lunchtime or in the evening. Ideally you also want to do this when you don’t have a really tough session the next day – so not the day before track or the day before a long run. For example, if you usually take a rest day on Friday, then Thursday could be a good day to do this, as you’ll have a full day of recovery before the weekend training. I also recommend always doing your run before your S&C training, not the other way round, so that your legs are fresh for the run and you’ve given priority to that session.

I also don’t recommend doing S&C on rest day. Rest day should be complete rest. It’s a really important part of the training process and one that’s really underestimated. After you train (whether running or S&C), your body needs some time to recover, so it can build back stronger. If you don’t allow your body the time for that adaption and you push through, continually training, you won’t get the full benefit from your training and again, the risk of injury starts to increase.


Ben Ladd Gibbon, Village Gym Basingstoke 

I am a qualified UKSCA Coach and level 3 PT, Level 4 Sports Therapist and Level 5 Nutritionist. 


What are the key benefits for runners from doing Strength and Conditioning?

The key benefits are that it increases your power, power endurance, speed, balance and coordination. This will help make you a stronger and better conditioned athlete. 


What are the main parts of the body that runners should be looking to train? 

Runners need to focus and develop all aspects of the body, with legs, core and back being the main focus. Added work on the upper body is also necessary to support and manage the load of the lower body. It’s worth consulting a PT or Running Coach about a training plan and workouts specific to you as there’ll be differences aligned to your goals, the type of runner you are and your individual body mechanics.


What exercises would you suggest for runners to incorporate into their S&C session?

There are a whole host of exercises that will help runners. I’ve listed some below but, again, it’s best to seek advice on this from a trainer as the level of intensity (number of repetitions and weight) can differ.


Exercises for Runners:

Barbell Squats 

Step Ups (Single Step & Double) 

Power Split Squats 


Hip Thrusts or bridges

Box Jumps 

Bent Over Rows 

Push Press 

Swiss Ball Plank 


Outside of strength training, what kind of gym workouts do you recommend for runners coming to your gym?  

We’ve partnered with Mo Farah on MOTION, an exclusive class we’ve developed that will improve cardiovascular and aerobic capacity to increase heart and lung capacity over time. When combined with S&C training, this can help provide well-rounded training for runners.

Ben Ladd Gibbon is a qualified level 3 PT, nutritionist, sports therapist and UKSCA Coach appearing in paid partnership with the new Village Gym Basingstoke.

Find out more about Village Gym Basingstoke and sign-up offers here: