Day 13: Strength & Stability Leads to Greater Mobility & Better Technique

stregnth-and-stabilityIn 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!

Throw in some post run stretching and don’t forget to log your miles for Racery! Current team standings are below:

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Don’t let you excuses catch up with you…Keep Running Crew! 🙂

keep-running

Day 23: Chasing Dreams

7 days to go

Good morning and Happy Monday Crew! Can you believe May is almost over? This month has flown by so fast!

I’m working on getting our June Challenge together this week and would love to hear what you want to work on next month. Suggestions, ideas, specific exercises or areas you’d like to work on are all welcome!

May has been a great month but it’s not over yet…don’t let this week slip away cause we’ve still got work to do! 4 sets may seem a little daunting but it’s time to step it up and push hard! Work hard and keep chasing your dreams. You can do this!

Day 23 exercises: Arm Day

  • Lunge Stance Single Arm Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 10
  • Renegade Rows – 4 sets of 10
  • Arm Raises – Front & Side – 4 sets of 10
  • Plank – 1 minute forearm plank (2X)
  • Side Plank – :30 each side (2X)
  • 45 Push Ups

Bonus: #WakeUpWarmUp Wake up Warm Up

Today’s bonus is a great pre run or pre work out warm up so do this first and get that heart pumping!


Running Drills: We’ve all seen those runners on the track who do those funny looking moves before they run. Why do they do them? To improve running form and efficiency. Each of the drills highlights one or more aspects of good running form and accentuates them through repetitive motion, which trains the body to become comfortable with that movement so it can be inserted into your typical running mechanics.

This week we are doing Grapevines again…these are fun and will loosen up your hips, legs and glutes before your run.

Grapevines Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 6.17.10 AM

Why: This drill loosens hip flexors and glutes and increases hip and leg and gluteal mobility while also using lateral strength required to run with good form.

How: Standing upright with your head and torso facing forward, move laterally in one direction by placing your trailing leg in front of the lead leg. Then move the lead leg in that same lateral direction and place the trailing leg in front of the lead leg. Maintain a fluid motion with your arms rotating in the opposite direction from the legs. Do two to four 50-meter reps to the left and right, facing the same direction for each lateral movement.


Speed Work: Lots of our Crew is getting faster and pushing themselves by adding one day of speed work to their routine. It’s not easy but it’s also not as hard as you think. Give it a try and surprise yourself with how strong and capable you are!

Workout: 

  • 1 mile warm up (conversation pace)
  • 4X 400M
  • 4X 200M
  • 1 mile cool down
  • Total of 3.5 miles

400 meters is just shy of a 1/4 mile so if you’re not doing your speed work on a track (which is fine) think 1/4 mile repeats. That will make it easier to use your watch or other GPS device to track yourself. If you are on a track…400M is 1 lap around the track using the inside lane. Stick to that inside lane or you are adding a little distance to each lap.

Pace: Run these faster than 10K pace and closer to what you can do for 5K. This will feel slow early in the workout but will catch up with you.

Example: As of last week my current 5K pace is around 8:40/mile so for these sprints I want to be right around that pace. If you don’t have a recent 5K to use as a marker think about your last race and use it as a guide. Remember that half marathon pace is slower than a 5K so if that is your marker…push yourself and think faster!

Purpose: This workout is ideal for high-end aerobic training and lactate tolerance. It pushes the envelope of the maximum pace you can hold for a 10K. This is a great workout to do with friends. Just be sure you keep focused on hitting the pace that is appropriate for you. That said, don’t be afraid to push each other. You have to challenge yourself to find out what you are capable of, so don’t let the pace drop throughout this workout. Consistency is the key.

Monday is one of those days that makes us cringe…back to real life and back to work. Make this week count and chase your dreams…chase them until you are out of breath….then keep running Core Crew!

Chase dreams