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Strength training exercises bring a large amount of awareness to your body and how it functions. Until you focus on a singular muscle or a specific group of muscles, you are often unaware of how they’re working. Bringing awareness to your body will help you during your distance training. The relationship you develop with your body is a key ingredient to staying out of your head during your long runs.
Our expert guest blogger shares the following valuable advice with us that will help us get to know ourselves better, increase our strength, and prevent injury.
Wake Up Your Muscles for Strength, Speed & Less Injury!
Activating & strengthening muscles used in running is the foundation of building strength, speed & preventing injury. Strengthen feet, ankles, calves, core, upper leg & butt muscles. By gaining awareness of these muscles they will start to ‘fire’ or ‘work’ when your running.
You may think – “I’m running so they must be working!”
They will be but to a certain extent only. They haven’t been used like this for a while so they are a bit sleepy – Wake them up! Once they are awake they can work to newly developed potential creating strength & speed in your stride. You have now also turned on your shock absorbers to soak up the impact instead of letting your knees & back take all the force of each stride.
Try these foundation strength exercises:
SINGLE LEG EYES CLOSED
Running form, Glute activation, muscular chain activation/stability/ balance
Muscles used – TVA, glutes, hamstrings, ankle & lower leg muscles.
Stand on one leg & raise the opposite leg with knee bent to hip height. Switch on muscles from foot to core. foot (toes splayed weight evenly distributed, calf, quad, hammy, glutes, core.) Close eyes & activate muscles to maintain balance & develop strength through joints & muscles of the chain. Hold for desired duration.
Core & hip stability
Contraction of major core muscle (Transverse Abdoninis )
Lay flat on back with knees elevated to 90 deg. Slightly splay knees out to relax hips. flatten lower back to floor. Contract & hold all abdominal muscles(from ribs to hips) . Close your eyes and visualize belly button drawing in & upwards towards your ribs. Think of creating a wall of strength that is ready to take impact .
Core & hip stability, strength
Muscles used – TVA
Replicate TVA HOLD position. Lower right heel to the floor to the count of 3 seconds. Maintain 90 deg at knee, return to starting position then lower left heel to floor.
Goal is to prevent pelvic / lower back lifting off floor. Legs & hips are “weight only” and should remain relaxed as possible throughout exercise.
Glute Activation/Strength , Core & hip Stabilizer
Muscles Used – Glutes, Core – (TVA)
Lie on your back with knees bent & feet flat to the floor, hip width apart. Squeeze and hold you butt cheeks ( glutes) together & raise your hips up off the floor pushing through your heels. hold the contraction in you glutes ensuring your alignment is straight between knees & shoulders (common fault is “sinking” at the hips) . Core muscles should be slightly contracted to assist hip stability. Hold for the required duration and slowly return to the floor.
Muscles used – Calf ( gastrocnemius- Upper calf ), ( Soleus – Lower calf )
Stand on your right foot. Lightly place your left foot on the back of the right ankle. Lightly place your finger tips on something to balance. Flex your ankle to come up onto your fore foot – keeping balanced pressure through your big toe. Feel the contraction in you calf muscles, lower you heel to the floor & repeat the movement for the desired amount of repetitions.
Brendan John Murray, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Mezzanine Coaching Agency
What strength training exercises have helped you develop a relationship with your body during distance training?
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