When you think of a marathon, the last thing that should pop into your head is shin splints plantar fasciitis, “runner’s knee”, or IT band syndrome. It’s common for endurance athletes to forget or neglect strength training, but it is the key to injury prevention and performance and thus; equally important as your speed work, tempo and long runs! It is the single most important non-running aspect of long distance running.
In terms of the common injuries listed above (among many others), they are the by-product of weaknesses exposed through endurance running and/or marathon training. Strength training can help avoid or correct muscular imbalances and prevent muscle breakdown.
This routine will help prepare your muscles for the added stress and will aid in maintaining strength through your training. Add these 5 running specific strength exercises to your routine and you’ll hit the finish line stronger and faster!
Ideally, complete this workout 1-2 times a week for 30 minutes to make improvements.
Rear Lunge w/ kick through – 12/side
Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides.
Step backward with your right leg around two feet or so from the left foot and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down.
As in the other exercises, don't allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground. Keep the torso upright during the lunge; flexible hip flexors are important. *A long lunge emphasizes the Gluteus Maximus; a short lunge emphasizes Quadriceps.
Push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
Use the ball of your feet to push in order to accentuate the quadriceps. To focus on the glutes, press with your heels.
Overhead Weighted Box squat – 15
Aim for a box height that brings you to a parallel squat, but you can train higher or lower if desired.
Begin by holding a bar overhead and place your feet wider for more emphasis on the back, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings, or closer together for more quad development. Keep your head facing forward.
With your back, shoulders, and core tight, push your knees and butt out and begin your descent. Sit back with your hips until you are seated on the box. Ideally, your shins should be perpendicular to the ground. Pause when you reach the box, and relax the hip flexors. Never bounce off of a box.
Keeping the weight on your heels and pushing your feet and knees out, drive upward off of the box as you lead the movement with your head. Continue upward, maintaining tightness head to toe.
Lateral skier hop – 20/side
Leap to the side and land on outside leg; touch trail leg down next to landing leg or behind the landing leg. To increase the intensity, simply increase the range of motion or speed up the leaps.
Pushups – 15-20
Begin in a plank position with palms down. Draw the navel to your spine and squeeze muscles into bones.
Bend from the elbows, taking the elbows slightly back to your wist, not straight out to the sides.
Press back up to the starting point.
Bicycle Crunch – 15/side
Lie flat on your back on the floor in a bent-knee position with feet placed firmly on the floor and your hands behind your head.
Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull the shoulder blades back and down.
Slowly lift both feet off the floor until your thighs are vertically to the floor (90-degree angle at the hips) and your knees are at a 90-degree bend. Your feet may be relaxed with toes pointing away from your body.
Gently exhale and begin your movement by simultaneously contracting the abdominals to curl your head and shoulders off the mat.
Rotating your torso slowly to bring your left elbow toward your right knee. This movement will press your low back into the floor / mat.
Continue moving until your elbow touches or comes close to touching the opposite knee. Hold this up-position briefly for 1 - 2 seconds then slowly return to your starting position and repeat the movement to the opposite side.
Clamshells – 20
On your side with your back straight against the back of a mat, bring your knees in front of your hips and your keep hips and shoulders square.
Press heels firmly together and lift the knee rotating around the hip.
Lower the knee and repeat. Keep abdominals pulling in for the duration of the exercise.
Have fun and I hope the video helps! This is great for cyclists, too!