Right now with no races on the immediate cards, if you're anything like me you're probably thinking back to all those what if moments from races past. We’ve all been there: you’re in a race, working hard, giving it your all, when someone floats past you looking totally comfortable and effortless. There are loads of potential factors for that person’s performance but I’d be willing to bet that one of them is strength and conditioning work.
It’s something that many runners neglect because, well, it’s not running is it? But right now we all have a lot of time on our hands and a lot of limits on how much running we can do. Making the next few weeks the perfect opportunity to work on your weaknesses. As a coach – and from personal, painful experience – I know too well the massive benefits of implementing S&C into your routine. Just slot find 15-20 minutes in your day to do just a few exercises consistently, you will reap the rewards in your form; endurance; posture; balance and even your metabolism. Here are a
few to try:
These target your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings and back especially) and are great for building strength and becoming more aware of your posture.
These aren't just for the gym either, pretty much anything you can pick up off the floor will work, especially when you are first starting out. And if you find yourself limited for weight try a few sets of 20 single single leg deadlifts with a bottle of milk and tell me you can't feel your hammies.
A fantastic simple exercise that can be modified easily and works your upper body and core. The great thing with press ups is you can easily make them easier or harder without too much hassle.
Finding them too hard - Elevate your hands.
Finding them too easy - Elevate your feet.
Another great compound exercise that will develop strength in your glutes and legs and get your hips and ankles more mobile.
Don't let your ego get in the way with this one, make sure that your thighs drop to at least parallel to the ground on every rep.
If you are struggling with checking how deep you are going, you can use a box as a guide, gently lowering yourself onto it each rep.
And don't worry about weight, just stick with your bodyweight if you have nothing else and just focus on slow controlled reps. Aim to see how slowly you can do ten continous reps, have a little breather and then try and do as many 'fast' reps in a minute. Repeat five times and you're done.
Do this at every opportunity: brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, watching TV, anything. It improves your proprioception and strengthens your feet and ankles.
If you can hold a plank, then move in it. Move your feet, your arms, twist, dip, bring your knee to your elbow. Anything you can do to challenge your stability will build core strength and give your brain a workout too.
Now is the absolute best time to turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you don't feel like you have the know how or the discipline to do it on your own, there are hundreds of coaches and PTs out there doing Live Workouts on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Zoom. Even if these guys aren't doing a dedicated running workout, it still will be a great step in the right direction.