Fall race season is upon us. There will be multiple foot races taking place nearly every weekend until Christmas. Are you training strong for these races? That doesn’t just mean getting in the miles and stretching, it’s literal. Strength training is a crucial part of race training that many runners overlook.
Hanna Rosov is a personal trainer at Zeal Fitness in Wichita, KS who has a passion for running. She is also passionate about runners getting strong. Rosov explains why runners would benefit from building their muscles.
Rosov said, “Strength training that targets a specific movement helps reduce injury in runners. We can strengthen weak muscles so that they are more able to help support joints and primary muscles to prevent break down in form, which causes injury.”
Rosov also explains that strength training helps muscles coordinate together better. “By practicing a movement in a controlled way with a weight we can make those muscles work together more efficiently,” said Rosov.
So you need to focus on your muscles to reduce risk of injury, to build up weaker support muscles, and to teach your system to work together better – create better coordination.
If we now know why, the next step is learning the what. A weight room can be scary and only doing crunches may not get the job done. Not every move is safe or helpful to a runner. Rosov describes her favorite moves she uses with her running clients.
“The two things I think are important for runners to work on is core stability and glute and hip strength, said Rosov.
She continues by stating that core strength training doesn’t mean crunches. “I try to have the core hold the body in posture while the limbs move around it – like runners do when they run.”
Rosov’s top exercises for the core are “dead bugs” and plank.
To focus on the hips and glutes, Rosov attempts to get the hip flexors to stop overcompensating. Instead, her mission is to get the powerful muscle of the glutes and hips to activate. These two will propel the body forward.
Top picks for strong glutes and hips include lunges and dead lifts.
Rosov is very dedicated to seeing runner’s excel and she spreads her message about strength training because she’s seen too many struggle.
“I’ve seen so many talented runners be chronically injured when many of these injuries can be prevented with a little ‘prehab.’ I understand that there are limited hours in the day to fit in training, but for runners the payoff is having a stronger more balanced set of muscles that won’t injure as easily. That means less time injured which equals more time running.”