Running is an excellent way to stay in shape, whether it's for general fitness or sports performance. Not only does it provide stellar physical benefits like increased cardiovascular health and decreased body fat, it's inexpensive, accessible and the cheapest form of therapy.
Strength training for runners is incredibly important for staying healthy and reaping the benefits of each run.
The runner's high is definitely real and many people enjoy logging miles every week. Although running itself is awesome, it does put a lot of stress on the body if done to excess. It's important for runners to maintain strength in their legs, core and arms to prevent overuse injuries and keep running pain-free.
If running is your sport, or just a hobby, you will definitely want to incorporate these five exercises into your training.
1. Glute Bridge
This one is important for activating the right muscles. Lying on your back, feet hip-width apart and knees bent, drive your hips up toward the sky (think about squeezing a $100 bill between your butt cheeks). Pause for a moment and return to the start.
2. Split Squat
Runners need to keep their ankles, knees and hips healthy by strengthening each joint. Split Squats are a great way to get the legs working independently. Set yourself up in an extended lunge position. Let your back knee drop down toward the ground while keeping your weight on the heel of your front foot. Maintain good posture as you press through that heel to come back to starting position.
3. Lateral Lunge
We need to get those glutes moving in every direction! Start in a standing position with your feet hip-distance apart. Take a big step out to one side, then sit back into that hip like you're sitting in a chair. Return to start and alternate legs.
4. Straight-Leg Deadlift
The posterior chain (back of the body) needs to get some love too. More often than not, runners are quad-dominant, so balancing out the muscles in your legs is crucial to staying healthy. This one is all about the hip hinge.
Who doesn't love a good Plank? Building strength in the core is imperative for runners to stay healthy and maintain good body positioning throughout their runs.
Before your next mid-distance run, complete three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise or substitute a strength day for one of your runs. To progress each exercise, add resistance to further challenge your muscles.