There are some things I tend to focus on over and over again during race training: nutrition, running, and strength training. And for good reason, too. All those things play a huge role in race day success. So imagine how happy I was when one of my runners recently asked about strength training.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to tell you what I told my runners on Facebook. Strength training is important to keep your stabilizer muscles working and toned. The root of many running-related injuries can be attributed to weak stabilizer muscles, biomechanics such as over-pronation or supination, road camber, uneven leg length, and high or low arches. But the biggest thing we can control are the stabilizer muscles.
Strong Stabilizer Muscles Can Keep You Running Injury-Free
The stabilizer muscles responsible for keeping your running form intact are glutes, hips, and core. Working these muscles and keeping them engaged while running will help keep injury at bay. Example of these exercises are squats, lunges, burpees, planks, clamshells, lateral leg lifts, and small side circles.
My strength training circuit goes something like this:
- forward lunges x10 (each side)
- backward lunges x10 (each side)
- side lunges x10 (each side)
- mini squats x10
- single leg bridge x10
- small side circles — 10 forward, 10 backward (each side)
- clamshells x10 (each side)
- lateral leg lifts x10 (each side)
- plank up-downs 20 seconds
- twisted mountain climbers 20 seconds
- burpees x10
I rest for 2-3 minutes and then repeat this circuit 3 times. I try to do this 2-3 times per week. There are several other exercises that are great for working the hips, glutes, and core and I do switch things up every couple of days. These are just some of the ones that I do most often.
Strengthen the Hips, Glutes, and Core
It’s important to do these types of exercises regularly. You can spend as little as 15 minutes every other day on these exercises. In this case, something is better than nothing. Making sure your muscles are toned and engaged, and keeping your form intact can help you avoid (or rehab) the following:
- ITBS (ilitibial band syndrome)
- stress reactions (by improving your form and footstrike)
- low back pain
- runner’s knee
If you’re suffering from any soft-tissue injury, or you have in the past, it may be worth looking at your strength training regimen to make sure you’re engaging the muscles that need the work.
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TALK TO ME!
Have you suffered ITBS or low back pain?
Do you regularly strength train?