Fitness: Build Strength and Endurance with a Running Circuit


Looking for a convenient total-body workout that will get you in great shape for summer? Try a running circuit.

¿Running qué?

A running circuit combines my favorite endurance activity running, which I recommend in Fitness: 45 Minute Run to the Mailbox, and my go-to muscle-building routine circuit training which I describe in Fitness: Four Reasons to Love Circuit Training.

How does it work? Jog for 3-4 minutes, break for a few reps of a body weight exercise like push-ups or crunches, then pick up the pace again until you reach your next station or fitness stop.

I’ve been breaking a sweat to this sequence:

Natalie’s 35 Minute Running Circuit Routine

  • Stop 1: Tree push ups:  Work your chest and shoulders by placing your hands against a tree trunk and do 2 sets of 15 modified push ups. Increase the intensity further by using a lower support like a bench, ledge, or the curb.
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Use a tree, bench, or ledge for push-ups. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

  • Stop 2: Curbside calf raises: Sculpt your calf muscles by standing with your heels hanging off the curb and raise onto the balls of your feet. Do 2 sets of 15.
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Work out your calves on a curb or step. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

  • Stop 3: Bench triceps dips: Get your arms tank-top ready by placing your hands on the edge of a bench with your legs extended then bend and straighten your arms for 2 sets of 10 dips. New to this move? Read up on correct form for triceps dips.
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Tricep dips will sculpt your arms for summer. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

  • Stop 4: Playground pull-ups: Find a stable bar just above your height, grab the bar with palms facing you and do 5 pull-ups. Can’t pull yourself up yet? Me neither. It’s okay to jump at the start of the pull-up until you build strength.
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Playgrounds are a perfect place for pull-ups. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

  • Stop 5: Walking lunges: Strengthen your quads and improve your balance by doing walking lunges the length of a block or alley. Brush up on correct form here.
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A block of walking lunges will get your leg muscles working hard. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

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Sprinting up stairs will make your jog home feel like a walk in the park. Courtesy: Roberto Fierro

Safety first: when trying new fitness moves, be sure to ask a professional to model correct form before getting started and always stay hydrated!

4 Reasons to Love Running Circuits

  1. You can adapt the routine for any fitness level: New to running? Start with a run/walk combination between moves and build up your stamina. Need a challenge? Increase your running time and the number of reps you do at each stop. 
  2. Circuits keep your run interesting: By breaking your run into smaller sections, stations help you push yourself to the next stop and make the time fly by.
  3. Build endurance and muscle: Running is a cardio workout that burns mega calories while strength training can reduce your risk of injury. A winning combo!
  4. It’s free and flexibleNo gym fees or equipment required– all you need is yourself. What’s stopping you?

It’s easy to commit to regular exercise when you have engaging fitness routines you can do anytime, anywhere. Add this all-in-one workout to your schedule to be strong and look great all summer.

¿Need workout inspiration? Click here to read more of my fitness suggestions.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Have you tried circuit training? Will you try a running circuit?
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