3 warning signs that you need to add strength training
to your ½ marathon training.
If you want to run injury-free then strength training is essential for all runners who are 1/2 marathon training.
The problem with runners is that we just want to get out and run. While we don’t have any niggles or injuries, strength training is the last thing we think about doing.
In this blog, I’m going to give you 3 signs to look out for so that you start strength training before the injuries stop you in your tracks.
Sign 1 Your age
How to spot your age!
Check your birth certificate, flippant I know but actually, this is serious. As we age our bodies change and just like we can’t eat some foods anymore without a reaction, we need to change the way we train, by adding more strength. Being stronger will help reduce the effects of aging and keep us stronger for the load we put through our bodies as we run.
How can we get stronger?
You need to start some sort of strength training, and it doesn’t need to be lifting weights. If you are new to strength training then Pilates is a good start, it focuses on our running muscles, and it’s easy to do at home with little or no equipment. A simple exercise like this Roll up mobilises the spine adds core strength and focuses on your posture. Perfect for runners.
The Roll Up
- Sit tall with legs out in front
- Tilt your pelvis, engage your core and start to lower towards the floor
- Either take to the floor, keeping your core engaged
- Or lower to a point where you can bring yourself back to a sitting position.
- Using your arms bring yourself from the floor to a sitting position again
Repeat x 8-10 times
Sign 2 – If you aren’t using a training plan.
You are not using a training plan because you think running 13 miles will be ok if you do some longer runs now and again.
How to spot if this is working or not!
You’ve been doing some extra running sessions, now and again you do a long run but you are starting to feel it, you might be feeling it in your knees, hips, or calves during your runs.
If you are doing random runs without any structure you are potentially overloading your body and the stresses are starting to show.
How can we strengthen our legs
Strong legs and core are important to stop these niggles from becoming injuries.
Squats and lunges are exercises I am sure you have come across before, but do them right & regularly and engage the core you will strengthen them effectively.
The squat & lunge
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart
- Imagine you are about to sit down into a chair, pushing your bottom back & bend the knees.
- Keep the weight through the heels.
- Push up through the heels to a standing position
Repeat x 10, increase as you feel stronger 12, 15.
- Start with your feet hip width apart and then take one leg back
- Keep your upper body tall
- Bend both knees lowering yourself towards the floor.
- Push back up
- Change legs and repeat
Repeat x 10, increase 12, 15
Sign 3 – you are getting tired.
You’re doing regular running but you come back exhausted from each run.
What you are noticing,
Not only are you feeling tired, but you also notice you are looking at the ground more, you’re lower back aches, and just feel like you can’t run any further.
How can strength training give you more energy
When we are getting tired posture tends to slump, our pelvis might tilt forward, causing the lower back ache, almost like our body is collapsing from the centre. So strengthening your core will help you stabilise the pelvis stopping it tilting forward. If this is stable you will be able to run more effectively not using as much energy.
The 1 Leg stretch Pilate exercise not only replicates a running motion but it’s a strong core exercise that will help stabilise your pelvis.
The 1 leg stretch
- Start in your neutral position
- Raise legs to tabletop position
- Curl up (optional) and start to extend one leg whilst the other comes towards your chest.
- Alternate and repeat
Start with 10 reps then increase to 20 / 30.
Where to go from here?
You might have noticed that a theme going through these 3 signs is that adding strength training to your running will only help you, even if you aren’t following a structured plan. (although I suggest you do)
These 3 Pilates exercises target 3 areas of your body but also all focus on your core too. If you want to find out more about the Benefits of doing Pilates for Runners then check out my blog
Try 5 -day Pilates for runners core challenge, 10-minute videos to show you how you can put some of these into a quick and effective training session. Notice it doesn’t take long but hopefully, you can feel yourself using your core and maybe you will start to think about your core when out running.
If you are struggling with any of these signs or specific running niggles then email me and let’s have a chat about how Pilates for runners can help you get stronger and run longer and improve your running for your next ½ marathon.
Contact me here so we can arrange a call