Running is a great way to develop fitness, improve health, and prolong life expectancy. Personally, I enjoy running along the coast, or performing high-intensity intervals at the park. Outside of running I also perform a thorough training regime to enhance my strength, stability and mobility. Why? I enjoy the variety of exercises, injury prevention benefits and improvements in performance attained through the gym-based interventions. In regard to injury prevention and performance, the exercises I implement are specific to my areas of most need i.e. single leg Romanian deadlifts to enhance single leg stability, and increase posterior chain strength and endurance.
My personal programme consists of the following:
- Foam rolling – Incorporating foam rolling into a warm-up can help improve mobility, increase blood flow to working muscles, and reduce areas of muscular tension. Post-exercise, foam rolling can aid recovery and reduce perceived levels of fatigue. For running I focus on back, gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
- Stability training – Compared to walking, running has no ‘double support phase’ which means the body only has one foot on the ground at a time. Therefore, interventions to enhance single leg stability can aid both running performance and injury prevention. Without adequate stability lower limb alignment and loading patterns may be sub-optimal, which can augment injury risk. I include these one-legged exercises – squats, Romanian deadlift, running man.
- Strength and mobility – Focus on muscular deficits (i.e. hip external rotators and abductors, calf musculature), improve pelvic stability (gluteals and lower abdominals) and develop/maintain mobility (i.e. hip and ankle range of motion). Additional mobility interventions may be required for individuals whose occupation is primarily desk-based.
- Plyometric/Jump training – Given the repetitive impact associated with running, jump training can be an effective intervention to improve shock absorption, running economy, and single leg stability under impact.
- Recovery – Recovery is a key element of any training programme and is often overlooked. An optimal recovery programme facilitates the internal adaptations that transpire to improved performance and a lower risk of injury. Recovery strategies will vary between individuals, and often include parameters for nutrition, hydration, sleep and time between training sessions.
If running is your activity of choice the above interventions may be of benefit to you. To maximise the effectiveness of the interventions listed (and alternative interventions not mentioned), individual variances in strength, stability and mobility should to be taken into consideration. Additionally, as with all exercise programmes, training load needs to be adequately managed to optimise adaptations and prevent an unnecessary rise in injury risk. If you would like more information on running-specific exercise programmes that Absolute Balance can provide, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
Daniel D’Avoine (B.Sc – Exercise Physiology)
Senior Exercise Physiologist (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)
Anderson, O. (2013). Running Science. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Bishop, P. A., Jones, E., & Woods, A. K. (2008). Recovery from training: a brief review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(3), 1015-1024.
Turner, A. M., Owings, M., & Schwane, J. A. (2003). Improvement in running economy after 6 weeks of plyometric training. National Strength and Conditioning Association, 17(1), 60-67.