Day 13: Single Leg Strength

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The incidence of injury rate for running injuries is between 37% and 80% every year. While we may not be able to completely sidestep injuries, especially if we are logging high miles, we can work to prevent as many as possible. Strength training is key for runners and adding single leg balance and strength exercises is a small yet very effective way to combat those pesky injuries.

When you look at a runner in slow motion, you can see that both feet are rarely on the ground at the same time. The majority of our time during a run is either spent on one leg or in midair, so it makes sense that we should be using single leg exercises at least part of the time to strengthen and adapt to the repetitive, unilateral movements that we use on a constant basis.

We know that supplementing running with strengthening exercises will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner. We also know that runners need a different strength training program than the average gym rat.

Runners need to focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced. These single leg exercises will strengthen our hips and core while also helping us work on balance. Win win!

Day 13 exercises: 3 sets of 15 (see “how to” videos below)

  • Plank Challenge Day 13 – Plank with Knee to Opposite Elbow
  • Single Leg Hip Lift
  • Split Squat
  • Lateral Squat
  • Rotational Step Up
  • Wall Sit – :60

No bonus today…just get through these exercises and make some fun plans for your mental health day tomorrow AND to get your speed work in because we know that Wednesdays are the perfect days to TURN IT UP!

Speed Work: Fartlek Running Workouts 5K to Marathon – This is a fun workout that we can all do and YES, you should be running 6-8 miles to train properly for your fastest 5K! No matter where you are in your training, speed work is essential to getting faster and to making those long weekend runs easier! Don’t skip your speed work!

Fartleks are “speed play” meaning your pace will vary. Don’t hold back though. Make it fun and push yourself!

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Day 13 “how to” videos:

Plank Challenge Day 13 – Plank with Knee to Opposite Elbow – You can do this from a high plank position or from your forearms but it will be easier if you can do it as a high plank. If you need to go to your elbows make sure you are keeping that booty low.

Single Leg Hip Lifts – Keep those hips nice and straight!

Split Squat – There is a difference between a lunge and a split squat. Keep that weight on your front leg!

Lateral Squat – I like this variation on the lateral lunge. Let’s keep it low and really feel that burn in our glutes. Shift your weight back and forth from foot to foot.

Rotational Step Up – Stand very tall and rotate around your around to reach reach full hip extension. You do not need a large box to step up onto. You can use a stair and a pair of dumbbells or go without weights. Use a very slow and controlled movement.

Wall Sits – If you can, hold this longer than :60. You are strong. Go for :90!

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