Runners would rather lace up their shoes and spend time out on the road or a trail than do crunches and burpees. There’s a whole world of routes to explore when you are out on a run, and none of them pass through a weight room. We didn’t become runners to spend more time indoors…right?
More likely than not, you’re focusing more on strength now because you realize that doing nothing but running is not working out all that well for you.
Maybe you realized this because you’ve been forced to take time off from running due to an injury. Maybe it’s because you want to log faster miles and you’ve been doing everything…everything but strength training. Maybe you’ve decided you want to run more miles; you’re first half marathon or your first marathon.
Estimates of the rate of injury for runners vary depending on what you read, but some sources say injury rates for runners can be as high as 80% in a given year and each individual runner has an 80% chance of injury over the course of his or her lifetime.
Despite the stats, the sport of running has never been proven to be dangerous, but as we continue to pound pavement without getting stronger our body breaks down. Our bones and joints get weaker so our stride is off. Our hips get misaligned and drop, shooting pain down our legs, causing IT Band pain, knee pain, calf pain, and tight tendons. Our back and shoulders slump because our core is weak, which means more pain and more injuries. We love to show off our strong runner legs, but the rest of our body is tired and achy.
People will continue to run. Our friends run. Our neighbors run. We get jealous when you see others out on the road and we are sidelined because of an injury.
Jay Dicharry, a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist at the University of Virginia, calls running “a crazy type of badge-of-courage sport in which you have to pound yourself into shape day-in and day-out until you emerge on top.”
In the article, Strength Training For Runners: How To Do It Right, Dicharry points to several well-documented studies showing that strength training is tremendously beneficial for running in ways that decrease injury risk and improve performance.
He tells runners, “Get in the weight room. It is hugely important for runners to lift.”
I know it’s not fun. I know it hurts. I know you’d rather be running…but a few minutes each day spent on strength training will keep you on the road, it will keep you running longer, stronger and faster.
It’s been a tough week. I know you’re sore but that soreness you feel is your muscles getting stronger. Embrace the soreness…because it is so satisfying.
Day 5 exercises: 3 sets of 10 (“how to” videos are below)
- Push ups
- Medicine Ball Pass (Stability Ball – Hand to Feet Pass
- Oblique Crunches
- Russian Twist
- Plank (:60 x 2)
Bonus: Roll & Stretch! This should already be a staple of your workout but if it’s not…do it today! It’s almost time to go long…love your calves, your quads, your hamstrings, your glutes, your back…love them now so they will love you on the road.
Day 5 “how to” videos:
Push Ups: Just a reminder…or in case you’ve been living under a rock this week. 😉
Medicine Ball Pass (Stability Ball Pass – Hand to Feet or V-Pass): This is a tough exercise but it is a GOOOOOD one. The V-Pass promotes core strength and stability. Keep it slow and controlled, do not rush through this move. If you don’t have a stability ball, you can still do it. Grab a small ball or pillow and do your best! You will feel this move in your entire core.
Oblique Crunches: One important muscle that we train with oblique focused exercises is the quadratus lumborum a muscle deep in the spine. When this muscle is weak, it places extra stress on the lower back and makes us more susceptible to back pain and injury.
Russian Twists: One of my favorite exercises. You can do this with or without weights. If you’ve never done it before, start without weights. You can keep your feet lightly on the floor, or raise them off the floor to make it more difficult. Either way, engage your core the entire time.
Superman: Core strength and flexibility…watch Michelle Trapp show us how it’s done.
Planks: We do them all the time. Hope you’re not hating them too much because they are so very good for us. Again, if you are a beginner take your time and work into these. If you cannot hold the plank for :60 take a short break then go right back into it.