Stronger muscles and shorter stride can reduce leg injury
Core development helps runners run more and faster
The human body is made for dynamic movement. Repetitive motion over long periods of time causes stress and injury (i.e. carpal tunnel, tennis elbow). That’s why making changes to your workout can not only prevent injury but, improve athletic performance.
These changes don’t have to be big, however, they should follow the principle of specificity. This means that all new exercises should strengthen muscles or systems specific to your sport. In this case, we’re talking about runners.
Here are three easy ways to change your workout and improve performance:
1. Change your stride – Stress fractures occur in the lower leg, or tibia, as a result of continuous pounding. Sustained pounding can cause a stress fracture to worsen over time until, finally, it becomes a full-blown injury. Studies have shown that shortening stride reduces impact and allows stress fractures to heal.
2. Change your exercise routine – Strength training builds muscles to support running. If you’re not already doing strength training, an easy way to include exercises in a workout is to do a few after each run. Some exercises perfect for after-run workouts include:
– Hurtle leg
– Clam shells
– Fire hydrant
Exercises can be rotated during the course of a week or, if you prefer sticking to one routine, every 4-6 weeks.
3. Do running drills – Running drills can be easily incorporated into a run and will improve running form while working the cardiovascular system. Most drills can be done for about 30 seconds, followed by a light jog and then a sprint. Drills should be fun and easy. If they become difficult, relax and stop trying so hard. Running drills include:
– Butt kicks
– A-Skip or high knee skipping
Making small changes to a training program can yield big results by improving running form, strengthening supporting muscles and allowing the body to heal and recover. By implementing a few changes, you can be on the road to a better running season. Who wouldn’t like that?
For more info: Strength training improves running economy, The Benefits of a Short Stride for Distance Runners