5 exercises runners should be doing everyday

You love to run.  Or maybe you don’t.  Wherever you are on the spectrum, if you are planning on adding more mileage or training for an event, you need to make sure that your body is adequately prepared to take on the additional stresses running places on the body.

What do we mean by this?
Strength and conditioning!

Many runners neglect strengthening the muscles they use when running.  And not only those muscles, but the opposing muscles too. In order to prevent injury and run at your best, you need to ensure that your body is strong and your training plan is well balanced. We like to refer to this as “pre-hab” work.

Here are 5 simple exercises you can incorporate into your routine today to ensure that you are ready to train and perform at your best!   Do 3 sets of each exercise everyday.
1.  Single leg squats or lunges:
This exercise works on balance, inner quad strength and helps to prevent muscle imbalances between legs.  Start in a standing position and lift your left leg off the ground.  Bend your right knee and sit back into your hips (like you are going to sit in a chair) ensuring that your knee doesn’t buckle in- it should track towards your last couple of toes.

As you bend, push your butt back, weight into your heels and keep your chest up- don’t look down.  Bend to 45-90 degree angle and then straighten your leg back to starting position.  Repeat 10-15 times and then switch sides.

2.  Calf raises:
Unless you live in Kansas, I am guessing that there are at the very least some small hills where you run.  You need strong calf muscles to help you get up those hills!  Do 15-20 reps
3.  Tib anterior raise:
Raise your toes towards your shins, 15-20 reps.  This exercise in particular can help to prevent shin splints and strengthen the muscles responsible for proper placement upon footstrike
4.  Plank variations:
Your “core” (abdominal and pelvic muscles) is your body’s powerhouse.  Literally.  Your core stabilizes your pelvis, legs and trunk and all movements start by engagement of the core.  Hold a plank on your hands for 15-60 seconds and then on your forearms for 15-60 seconds without a break.  *Level 1= Plank on your knees, Level 2= plank on your toes.  Make sure that your upper back is flat and lower back is not arched too much.
Here is a video with a couple more plank variations and other body weight exercises to try at home: 

5.  Leg lifts:
Have you ever seen a runner who seems to just shuffle their feet along?  Maybe you can even hear their feet scraping against the ground as they raise their legs with minimum effort to take the next step.  Or maybe this is you!
You need strong hip flexors (translation= front of your thighs) to run strongly and with proper form.  Starting in a standing position (hold onto something if you need to for balance), lift one leg straight up as high as you can without using momentum (kicking it up) or without your knee bending.  Keep your hips squared, core tight and back flat (don’t arch your back as you lift).  Repeat 15-20 times on one side and then repeat on the other.

What is next?
Our women’s beginner trail running course includes a clinic on injury prevention and “pre-hab” exercises all runners should be doing to prevent common trail running injuries. We also cover proper biomechanics and drills to run more efficiently so you can continue to do what you love off and on the trails!
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2 thoughts on “5 exercises runners should be doing everyday

  • June 8, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Many thanks for info. Waiting for more and looking forward to read you:-). Regards


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