Over the years I’ve trained countless clients, all with varying goals.
Recently, I was approached by a client who considered herself to be a “runner," and whose goal was to prepare for a race.
She was excited to get started on her training, and although she had been working out for years, on her first leg day we were both in for quite a surprise.
It turns out my client had been making the common mistake that many runners make–replacing strength training with running.
Sure, running is a great workout that requires lower body and core strength, endurance and stamina. But just because you run several days a week, that doesn’t mean you want to forgo strength training entirely.
For runners, strong hips, back and core muscles are essential for efficient form and for reducing the risk of injury.
Combining basic strength training moves a couple of times a week and runners will see a significant improvement in performance and strength.
Squats/Lunges: What leg workout is complete without including one (or both) of these moves? Both squats and lunges are awesome strength exercises for runners because they recruit all of the large muscles in the lower body. Increased lower body strength will add power and forward propulsion to your run.
Hamstring Curls: It is important to have a proper strength ratio between your hamstrings and quadriceps if you are a runner, as imbalances can hinder your performance. Hamstring curls will help you focus in on the back side of the lower body.
Deadlifts: Not only do deadlifts strengthen the legs and glutes, but they also help improve the lower back and core–two parts of the body that are crucial to your ability to run.
Dumbbell Rows/Pull-Ups/Lat Pull-Downs: All of these exercises work the larger muscles in the back. Stronger back muscles lead to better running posture and improved form, which translates into a performance boost and a reduced risk of injury. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Planks: These are some of my favorite exercises to work the core. Planks strengthen your abs and obliques, both of which help stabilize your pelvis while you run. Add in side planks or some plank punches for even more variety.