Spring has sprung and so have all the runners. The challenge is that most runners just lace up their shoes and go. THOSE runners end up injured at some point and/or probably never achieve their full potential during their actual run.
So, instead of being THAT runner, be a FIT Strong runner.
A FIT Strong runner takes the off-season to develop strength and recover from nagging injuries, focuses on building a strong base and continues to utilize strength training as a tool for performance during the season.
And, if you have done NONE of that, you are still okay. Because a soon-to-be FIT Strong runner (ie. joining FIT after the running season is over) still does a warm up before they run.
It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3…
1) Reverse Lunges
The idea here is that we eliminate the propensity to only go one direction, forward. With a reverse lunge you not only have to find balance where you can’t see (vestibular system and proprioception), but you also learn what a good push off feels like after you drive back to standing!
Do 10 reps/side, alternate if you like.
2) Single Leg RDLs
I love the phrase “train tracks” for runners because it encapsulates exactly what we want to see from a really efficient runner: a track that the legs stay within. Each person’s train tracks are unique but to develop the muscles to keep the legs on the tracks, we need lateral and medial stability.
A single leg RDL does just that. Standing on one leg and hinging forces the inner hamstrings, adductors and medial quads to fire up and stabilize the body.
Simultaneously, the hip abductors, lateral quads and lateral hamstrings have to work overtime to stabilize you from falling off to the side. Plus your foot is going CRAZY!
It’s one of the best exercises to activate the train track muscles before a run
Do 10 reps/side but don’t switch, it will take WAY longer!
3) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats (RFE SS)
We sure do love acronyms in the strength world, and this one is one of my favorites.
I spoke before with the reverse lunges about drive as you stand up.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your hand if you run and desire to NEVER get any faster? Anyone…ANYONE?
That’s what I thought. So doing a RFE SS with your back foot even just on a curb will do wonders to teach you how to properly propel yourself forward and become, you guessed it, FASTER!
It mimics the transition from flexion to extension that occurs with each step quite well and requires NOT extra impacts (which road runners will really appreciate!)
Do 10 reps/side and again, do all 10 before switching.
I love the warm weather and, although no longer a runner, I had my time. I now prefer sprinting and my longest runs are chasing my daughters in the backyard. However, I have seen these exercises work over and over for our FIT Strong runners, so give them a try before your next run.