We see a lot of runners, especially beginners, make the mistake of thinking the only way to improve their running performance is by doing more running. This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to improving running times and helping to reduce injury.
In fact, when it comes to running, if your only form of exercise is beating the pavement, you are going to start experiencing some adverse affects. Ask any serious runner and they will tell you that strength training is essential to good performance and even more vital in ensuring you avoid common injuries that may put you out of action for a long time.
Here are a few strength exercises that runners swear by:
Bulgarian split squat
Running involves holding your body weight on one foot a lot. This means those ankles need strengthening. To do this, use a Bulgarian split squat by getting into a lunge position with your knees bent and your back foot placed on a raised surface 12-15cm off the ground. Lower until your front leg reaches a ninety-degree angle before driving to and upright position through your front heel.
Core strength is more important to running than you may think. Having a strong core can help a runner maintain an upright posture for longer and avoid a side-to-side swaying motion that uses more energy when running long distances. The benefit of the deadlift – lifting a barbell by bending at the knees and lifting bar to thigh height before pausing and then lowering slowly – can be seen in the strength it adds to the back of the legs as well as upper body and lower back muscles.
The sled push is highly reliable on equipment but has great benefits to runners. Pushing a heavy loaded sled builds up explosive power whilst a slightly lighter sled can help build endurance in the muscles.
Load up your sled and push it along by leaning into it with your arms outstretched. You will definitely feel this one in your muscles and it also gets your heart beating very quickly, helping to boost cardiovascular endurance