If you are even slightly serious about your running, then scheduling some core workouts each week is a must. It doesn’t have to take long: as the two 15-minute workouts below show, even with this minimal investment of time the pay-off will be a stronger, more injury-resistant body, as well as faster times come race day.

One reason many runners skimp on their strength work is a lack of knowledge – they simply don’t know what to do. There’s no shame in that, and fortunately there are now more places than ever to get good advice on how to do other forms of training that support your running.

One new place is the recently launched We Run Virtual Running Club. Join up and you’ll get expert advice from We Run’s 140-strong battalion of coaches, along with weekly training sessions and workouts to do on top of your running. That includes a monthly four-week strength and conditioning challenge with a printable wall chart – and who doesn’t love a wall chart? Membership costs £8 a month or £70 a year and you can try a free sample week to get a better idea of the benefits.

To give you a quick taste of what’s available to members, we enlisted Ben Leach, one of We Run Virtual Running Club’s strength and conditioning coaches, to provide two core workouts for runners – one that anyone can do and one for runners who already incorporate core work into their routine.

Beginner Core Workout For Runners

Aim to complete this workout one to three times a week. Rest as indicated after each set, and rest for two minutes between exercises.

Bird dog

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Get on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Your back should be in a neutral position (slightly arched) and your chin must be tucked in. Brace your core, then lift one arm and the opposite leg without allowing your trunk or pelvis to move or rotate. Reach forwards with your hand as if trying to grasp something far in front of you, while trying to touch an imaginary wall far behind you with your foot. Then lower your leg and arm back to the floor and repeat with the opposite limbs.

Knee side plank with drive

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 each side Rest 60sec

Lie on your side with your knees bent and prop yourself up on your elbow. Your head, shoulders, hips and knees should be in a straight line. Holding the position, move your top leg up and back down to complete one rep.

Glute bridge

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 each side Rest 60sec

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Contract your glutes to lift your hips off the ground until your trunk is aligned with your legs and your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Floor wiper

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your back in a neutral position. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, let your knees fall slowly to one side. Go only as far as is comfortable. Hold the position for three deep breaths, then return to the start position and repeat the exercise moving to the other side.

Advanced Core Workout For Runners

If you’re after a tougher core session, or want an alternative to mix into your week along with the standard core workout above, try this four-move routine. Aim to do the workout one to two times a week, resting as indicated between sets and then for two minutes between exercises.

Mountain climber

Sets 3 Reps 20 Rest 60sec

Get into an elevated plank position supported by your hands. Bring one knee up towards your elbow, then return it to the starting position and bring the other knee up. Make sure that your hips and lower back stay in a neutral position (slightly arched) throughout the exercise.

Side plank

Sets 3 each side Time 20-30sec Rest 60sec

Lie on your side with your legs straight and in line with your body. Support the upper body on your elbow and forearm, with the elbow directly under the shoulder. Rest your top arm on your side. Lift your pelvis off the floor to create a straight line from your feet to your head and hold the position without allowing your pelvis to drop.

Chair bridge

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Lie on your back with both your hips and knees bent at a 90° angle and your heels resting on a sturdy chair (or a surface at chair height). Flex your glutes and raise your hips into a bridge position, so your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Slowly lower back to the start position.

Single-leg plank

Sets 3 Time 20-30sec each leg Rest 60sec

Get in a plank position with your upper body supported by your forearms. You should form a straight line with your body running from your shoulders to your feet. Brace your core to ensure your hips don’t sag. Maintaining the plank position, raise one leg off the ground and hold it up for 20-30sec before lowering. Then raise the other leg and hold for 20-30sec.