Even though running and getting the miles in are an important foundation of marathon training, strength work is also important as it can help to prevent future injury and ultimately make you a faster runner. Some studies have even shown making your training programme heavily strength based (3 times a week) can make vast improvements to your finish time than just churning out the mileage.
Single leg strength in particular is key. When you run you are technically only using the strength of one leg at a time to propel you forward. Therefore, if in a gym you are unable to perform simple single leg exercises (specifically Bulgarian squat, glute clam, single leg balance, single leg deadlift, monster walks, squats with a resistance band, step-up with barbell drives), then it makes sense why your body is unable to run to your fullest potential. In the video below, Dan and Rich show us some key exercises to help with developing this strength.
Core strength is also vital to being able to hold good running posture: leg raises, planks, superman and dead bugs and mountain climbers are simple moves to build into your everyday training.
Here are three variations of plank which not only target core strength and obliques, but also stability in the shoulders.
Side lying Plank (can also be performed on elbow)
This is a simple core routine using a foam roller. Leg raises and straight leg sit-ups help to engage the upper & lower abdominals. In running these are key to help hold good running posture/form. If you really wish to challenge yourself doing these post run will really activate the core when fatigue sets in.
Leg raises pictures 1-3
Straight leg sit-ups pictures 4-5
Another core isolation exercise is the V sit. Seated with hands on the ground or the hips benmd the knees towards your chest and then fully extend them. Repeat for 15-20 reps.
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