As runners, we love to RUN! The feeling of wind through our hair, the rhythmic sound of footfalls, and the satisfying completion of a tough workout are what keep us coming back for more every day. If we wanted to be gym junkies we’d do that instead, right?
But if the only form of exercise you’re getting is running, you’re missing out on a variety of benefits that could actually help your running. Strength and core exercises are the perfect complement to running. They optimize your running so you can keep going without injuries, and even race faster. Almost every training plan you look at includes cross training…well Core Crew…strength training IS cross training!
So now that you’ve admitted to yourself that you need to work on your strength, your first thought is probably leg work. I mean runners need strong legs right? Yes it’s true, strong legs are important…but so is a strong core.
A strong core helps runners with our stability, balance, posture and overall control. Core strength training reinforces the way that your pelvis, abs, hips and lower back work together. Here are three reasons why core strength work is so important.
- Core Work Helps You Stay Healthy – Injury prevention is a top goal for every runner because it can help you run more consistently without injuries. Core strength plays a vital role in stabilizing your entire body during running by maintaining a neutral pelvis, and delaying the breakdown in your form when you’re fatigued.
- Strength Exercises Improve Your Running Economy – Not only does core work strengthen your body and prevent injuries, but it also helps improve your running economy, otherwise known as running efficiency. Core workouts do this by allowing your body to use more muscle fibers during any given workout. Sometimes your body can’t recruit as many muscle fibers as possible. Using the same muscles over and over again means you get tired more quickly. But if you have a larger pool of muscle fibers to work with, you can delay fatigue and run faster. It’s important to remember that your “core” is more than just your abdominal muscles. The core includes your hips, glutes, hip flexors, obliques and lower back.
- Core Workouts Can Help You Run Faster – What happens when you combine injury prevention with higher efficiency? You run faster! Injury prevention is the real key to getting faster because when you can string together weeks, months and even years of consistent training, then you’ll see dramatic improvement in your race times. Long-term success (in other words, improvement) in distance running is all about consistency.
Strength training is so important that it’s often called the “secret sauce” of good training. It helps your marathon or half marathon pace this year become your easy pace next year. Consistency is what allows your 5K pace to soon become your 10K pace or your half-marathon pace as your new 5K pace becomes faster.
Let’s dig into that secret sauce and fire up our core Crew!
Day 3 exercises: 2 sets of 10
- Windshield Wipers
- Standing Knee Cross Crunch
- Side Imprint
- Wall Sit – Do this AFTER your run if you’re running today. Doing a wall sit on tired legs is a great way to get them used stress and make them stronger.
- Ab Challenge – 15 Crunches, Bicycle Crunches, Leg Lifts + :20 – :30 Plank
- 10 Burpees
Bonus: #AbsOnFire – If you have time for a little more today, throw in this Abs on Fire workout. If you can’t get in all 3 rounds that’s ok. Do what you can because every little bit counts!
Most likely you are familiar with sit ups and side planks, but if you’re not sure how to perform the heel touches, spiderman mountain climbers, and sprinter sit ups, watch the videos below.
Heel Touches: One of my FAVORITE ab exercise!
Spiderman Mountain Climbers: We’ve done these before, they were just called plank with heel to same elbow. Here’s how to do it.
Sprinter Sit Ups: Otherwise known as Runner Crunches! Another #CoreCrew favorite. Here’s how to do it.
Our workout today seems like a lot but you can breeze through it pretty quickly. Do what you can and remember that Core work is an essential part of becoming a stronger, healthier, FASTER runner! 🙂
When you’re done…feel those flaming abs and know you killed your workout today Crew!