Strength is an extremely vital part of distance running, and running distance well. Those skinny marathon runners you see running close to 2 hours may not look strong, but they certainly are. This post is all about how you can incorporate core training into your programme and how it will make you run faster.
Pure strength, like the Arnold Schwarzenegger kind probably won't be much help for the marathon. But having a high power-to-weight ratio through harnessing good functional strength for your event is extremely beneficial to distance runners. Strength is needed to cope with mileage, speed workouts, to get you up a hill and to maintain your stride length. A weak core will result in a shorter stride and therefore less distance being covered. Speed = stride length X cadence... so a shorter stride length will result in reduced speed... not what we want. The abdominal muscles are needed to pick your knees up and maintaining efficient running form, but the arms also play an important role in propelling your body; they are the accelerating pedal!!
Your core (trunk of the body including abdominals, obliques and back muscles) is the link between your legs and arms and is a necessity to any runner. The worlds' best distance runners, including Sir Mo Farah and former Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes use(d) a whole lot of core training in their training programmes, and I'm sure they wouldn't have done a single bit of training that they didn't think would help.
Here's a quick rundown of the benefits core training can bring you:
- Improve running economy - helping you run at a specific speed with less energy expenditure.
- Reduce injury - reduced 'twisting' motion reduces the risk of overload on a specific part of the body.
- Run faster - a stronger core helps you maintain your stride length and running cadence when you get tired, thus maintaining speed when you would otherwise get tired.
- Greater stability - less twisting and 'bobbing' helps keep everything moving in the intended direction; forwards.
”Research suggests that one core session per week can have a beneficial effect on maximal running performance.”
So what exercises should you do?
A runners’ core session should look to involve a number or exercises focusing on the abs (front), obliques (side) and back (behind). Here’s a good session for you to do at home, demonstrated by NewEra Head Coach, Callum:
Throughout your core session, the focus should never be about more, but always on the quality. These sessions should always be about remaining as still and stable as possible and keeping the core muscles engaged.
We’ll be posting this core session on our instagram page for all of you guys to see too! Hopefully this has given you a little more guidance in how to incorporate core stability training into your plan, and the benefits it will bring.
Discover your potential.
* Content used from the following sources:
’The Art of RUNNING FASTER’ - Julian Goater & Don Melvin