This morning I had a challenging, yet low-intensity workout with a couple of our athletes.
The focus was on running strength.
Running is a VERY dynamic activity, during which you are literally flying through the air with neither foot on the ground.
Considering that we're constantly using a single leg to launch ourselves into the air at speeds between 4-12 MPH (for us non-professional runners), it may or may not then be surprising that we can easily develop muscular imbalances - where one side of our body is stronger or more flexible than the other side.
If you've experienced this to an extreme, you likely had one of two outcomes - you either stopped running because of the discomfort and hopefully restarted again with a better outcome, or you sought out the help of a physical therapist or other professional to fix the imbalance, alleviate the discomfort, and likely continued your running feeling even stronger than before!
Here at Sound Training & Racing we incorporate that same cross training into our weekly routine and before our faster running workouts so that we can stay healthy throughout our training and get to race day ready to do our best!
Because running is SO dynamic, it's important to partition the movement into much smaller motions and poses, and to slow down so that you can focus on using the correct muscles while maintaining a stable core.
I tell ya - some of these exercises will make your muscles BURN!!! And that's a GOOD THING! If the right muscle is firing, then you know you're doing things right; if it's the wrong muscle, then you know that you're compensating and you need to learn and teach your body how to do it correctly!
When we're running at speed, our momentum (regardless of whether it is going in the right direction or wrong direction) can hide a lot of our imbalances, and we're unable to really notice any instability. But if you slow down - no, just STOP and stand on a single leg - you may not be able to balance for even 10 seconds!
If you can't stand stable on one foot for a few seconds or a minute, how stable do you think your ankle is going to be after running for 30 minutes or an hour?
If you're ankle becomes fatigued and your legs are tired and start to wobble, what kind of stress do you think that's putting in your knees and hips?
Many people think that running is bad for your knees, but the truth is that BAD RUNNING is bad for the knees, and most runners aren't doing the exercises they need to be doing in order to maintain proper running technique.
I know that many of you enjoy running, you enjoy the wind in your hair, the sweat on your face, and the endorphin rush of having push yourself through a challenging run, but I encourage you to swap out one of your easier runs (and YES, you should have a couple easy run days!) to do some focused strength, stability, and balance work. Do that, and you'll be well on your way to running faster, and a new PR!
If you'd like some guidance on the type of exercises you should be doing, we'd be happy to work with you! Fill out the application below and we'll follow-up to schedule a FREE 1-hour 1-on-1 session with one of our coaches!
Apply here for your FREE session: www.soundtrainingandracing.com/apply-running
See you soon!
Sound Training & Racing