In theory, running isn’t a two-legged activity. Of course, we have to use both legs, but it’s really a series of one-legged stances conjoined by the act of managing a controlled fall.
There is never a time when both feet are on the ground. So single leg strength and stability couldn’t be more important for runners.
While we’re running the body does whatever it takes to stay upright and balanced, often recruiting the strength of other muscles. We must work harder than normal to run the same pace over a given distance, especially as the bigger, stronger muscles become fatigued; this leads to a reduction in running economy.
A reduction in running economy causes some muscle groups to overcompensate, leading to gait changes, which can cause nagging dilemmas such as a sore Achilles tendon or iliotibial band syndrome to more serious injuries such as anterior knee pain or plantar fasciitis.
What’s the solution? Work on strength and stability the same way you run—one leg at a time. Single-leg balance training teaches you to isolate and strengthen specific balance muscles while improving your reaction time. Only when muscles are balanced can the body run fast and efficient for long periods of time.
Lucky for us, our Tuesday Leg/Stability day hits these marks perfectly so let’s get to work!
Day 13 exercises: Legs/Stability – 3 sets of 10
- One Legged Bridge – 3 sets of 10 each side
- Side Lunges – 3 sets of 10 each side
- Side Lying Leg Raises – 3 sets of 10 each side
- Plank – Your Choice (:45 2X)
Bonus: Single-Leg Balance Drill
“Think” – dynamic warm up – single leg swing we do before a race to loosen up but without using something to keep our balance.
WHY: The most relevant to running, it activates your arch to maintain good foot and ankle alignment.
HOW: Start by standing on your left leg, lift your right leg straight toward the 12 o’clock position if you were standing on a clock. Gently swing the right leg forward and back, from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Repeat 10 to 15 times each leg. It’s important to use this exercise to build balance and strength so do your best not to hold onto anything but it’s ok to stand close to a wall or doorway to keep from falling.
Speed Work: Have you made a plan to get your speed work done this week? Do you know what intervals and the pace you should be running? If not, please click here and scroll to the bottom of Monday’s post for all the info.
Remember that speed work is not just for runners who want to log faster times; speed work will also help you improve your running/breathing economy, resulting in feeling better/breathing better during your long runs!
Don’t let you excuses catch up with you…Keep Running Crew! 🙂