As runners with full-time jobs, family and friends all competing for our time. It’s hard to balance our training throughout the week, especially during relatively high milage weeks!
More often than not, life throws us a curve-ball, and the best laid plans change…
While we all know that regular gym work is essential to build strong injury-free runners, this is also usually the first workout that gets dumped from the diary when life gets in the way!
Sometimes Life Gets In The Way
I’m a realist. The athletes I work with all know that while they each have a number of exercises that will all be of benefit, there are a handfull of exercises that provide a big bang for your buck effect! If you only have time for three exercises – these are a good place to start…
Single Leg Squats
As with all exercises, the key to effective single leg squats is technique! The video demo above demonstrates both good and poor technique. One common error I see in runners who have been prescribed single leg squats is that the execute them with a bias towards using the quads, rather than engaging the gluteal muscles. The key coaching cue is to focus less on the knee bend, and more on the ‘sitting back and down’ motion of the hips.
Try 3 sets of 10-15 on each leg
Static & Active Hip Flexor Mobility
Many of us spend the vast majority of the day sitting down, with the hips in a flexed position. It’s no surprise therefore that when we go to run, a hip extension based movement, our hips don’t want to play ball! This article about how the working day can affect our running form explains why hip motion is key to good posture and efficient technique.
Try 3 sets of 20sec static followed by 20 active reps, on each leg
Single Leg Calf Raise
While I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of the muscles around the hips and pelvis in developing an effective and efficient running technique, it’s important not to neglect the many muscles around the foot and ankle. This single leg calf raise is not only great for developing strength through range around the foot and ankle, but also provides a great dynamic stretch to the calf complex, as you drop your heel slowly down off the step.
Try 3 sets of 15-20 on each leg.