There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to strength training. But runners often tend to ignore our core and back which are key areas that can translate into wasted energy on the road.
“Runners need a strong core and back to stabilize the spine and pelvis,” says Dr. Richard Hansen of High Altitude Spine and Sport in Boulder, Colo. “This reduces injury risk by helping to evenly distribute the forces that are being absorbed with each step and helps to improve running economy by reducing energy lost to unnecessary body sway.” If you’re not strong in these areas, when you begin increasing your running volume, it can eventually lead to tissue breakdown and injury—especially in the lower leg and hip.
A healthy back is as important to your running as fit legs. If your back muscles aren’t strong, they tend to fatigue faster, taking energy away from other muscles, and changing your stride, leading to injury. Runners with a strong back and core tend to have better posture which translates into more efficient use of energy. A weak back and core are bio-mechanical inefficiencies that waste energy.
To avoid these common running issues, we need to spend some time stregnthening these areas. Lucky for us it doesn’t take hours in the gym and lots of expensive equipment. A few sets of back and core focused moves like the bridge pullover and side planks will help us strengthen and support our back and core which will help us use our energy more efficiently!
Working our upper and lower back prevents weak, rounded shoulders and poor arm carriage. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades together with the bridge pullover and our bonus bird dog exercise. Do not arch your lower and when lowering the weight, ensure your shoulder blades separate slightly to allow for a slight stretch of the muscles in between them.
Day 3 exercises: 2 sets of 10
- Runner’s Crunch
- Heel Touches
- Bridge Pullover
- Side Planks – :30 each side
- Wall Sit – :60
Bonus: Bird Dog – 2 sets of 10 – I like this video as it gives you a way to modify the exercise for beginners. Take a look and try it out. Remember to keep your spine flat and stable. When adding the arms, squeeze the shoulder-blade together to add some upper back work as well.
- Superman – :20
- Push Ups – 25
- #MadManMartin Plank Challenge – One more plank – :30
Core Crew Virtual Race: We’re running through Paris logging 24 miles for the next 7 days. Are you in? Our virtual races are fun and might help you grab a few extras miles this week. Race starts today so click here to sign up. It’s a free and fun way to challenge yourself to do a little more than usual.
Before you stop for the day, take time to get familiar with our 7 Key Stretches for Runners! These will help you get loose and ready to go long this weekend.
Don’t waste energy thinking about skipping your strength training. Just get up and get it done! 😉