We all love to just run. But that just isn’t enough anymore. Whether you are a seasoned runner chasing new personal bests or just a social runner who likes getting out with friends. Injury could be just around the corner if your body is not strong enough to cope with stress that running puts your body through.
It is likely that you have one leg stronger than the other…
Test it: Hop and Stick Test – simply hop forward on one foot and try to stick to the ground without losing balance. Repeat this on both legs. This will give you a quick indication of which leg is stronger.
…If you run with these imbalances you are putting more force and pressure on one leg. One leg is doing more of the work, putting that leg at risk. So, establish which is the stronger and weaker leg and look to balance them out with strength exercises. This will make your running more efficient, easier and reduce the risk of injury.
It is often believed that the ‘core’ is the holy grail to running strength. Whilst this is vital, it should not be trained solely. So many runners are weak through the hips and glute muscles. We neglect to work these areas, we do not get them firing when out running. The core, hips and glute medius are essential to good running posture, to use force to go forwards instead of wasting energy rotating, they help to take the pressure of the knees and therefore the ankles. Ever had an injury at the knee? It is likely that the root cause was a lack of strength in the hips.
Spot the warning signs: excessive rotation or dropping at the hips during running is a common sign of weakness.
You are thinking; this is all well and good, but I don’t have the time to strength train, the time I do have, I want to run. Yes, this is fully understandable especially in the hectic lives we live in. But, it doesn’t have to be. Think differently. You don’t need to have a designated strength workout night. Build it into your daily routines. For example: do some one-legged squats while you brush your teeth. Waiting for the kettle to boil – get in a few abductor raises. Watching TV for half an hour why not get a few planks in there too. Make the exercises fit around your life not you around them.
We all love to run but aim to be strong to run and not just fit to run. There are so many benefits to being strong to run and it really is for everyone not just the ‘faster’ runners. Put simply, with strength training part of your routine you will be able to run faster, stronger and longer – both distance and years to come.
For more information about how strength and conditioning affects running, how to incorporate it in your routine or specific exercises drop me a message and I will help you out.
AC Running and Fitness