Run faster and avoid injuries with Siobhan Byrne’s strength training for runners
Running is one of those great cardio exercises that helps increase your heart rate, burn calories, increase your fitness level, and make you feel energized. All you need is a good pair of runners.
To maintain a good running routine, you should consider injury prevention rather than cure. Today I’m going to give you some of my top tips for preventing injury while running, including four exercises that will help prevent injury and keep your body strong.
Injuries can occur for many reasons. The evidence is a fall or trip, tight muscles, weak muscles pulling against tight muscles, wear and tear, lack of mobility, and whether or not muscles are warmed up or cooled down incorrectly.
First, if you’re new to running, getting a gait analysis and buying a really good pair of runners that suit your gait can really help you on your running journey. Gait analysis examines your biomechanics which, in turn, affects your mobility, flexibility and stability.
Gait analysis lets you see where your joints aren’t getting enough support so you can choose a pair of runners that’s right for you. This will help prevent injuries. There are specific running stores that will do this for you. Experienced runners should stick with what works for them. But if they have any doubts or find that they injure themselves frequently, it’s worth considering doing a gait analysis.
If you haven’t already, warming up is crucial. This can be done in a number of ways, through dynamic stretching and/or a slow warm-up – walk to run before going full throttle.
The next step is to include some strength training in your week. Keeping strong muscles should be a priority for everyone. Strong muscles, above all, will keep the joints supported along with many other benefits. As we age, we need to protect our joints as much as possible.
You will see in the exercises that I have included some plyometric work. This adds a little jumping motion to the exercises. It basically shocks the muscle and makes it work harder. This helps runners keep the muscle strong and agile. It’s so easy to trip or step over uneven pavement when running outdoors and it will help with stability, core strength and muscle reaction to any incident. Aim for two strength training sessions per week when possible.
Exercises to prevent injuries and improve time
Start on your toes and hands with your arms stretched back and your feet together.
Next, jump your feet to the sides without shifting the position of the hands. Immediately return to the middle and repeat. Keep your back flat throughout this exercise. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms bent at your sides.
Bend at the hips and knees into a semi-squat position, leaning your torso slightly forward. Then simply push off your feet, jump up in the air, and land in a semi-squat position. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Start standing with your hands by your side. Bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the floor in front. Spread your hands apart until you’re in a plank position.
Bring one knee up to a climber, then step back and repeat on the other side. When your feet have returned to neutral position, walk your hands back until you return to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times on each side.
Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on either side of your head. Squat down and step back, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.
As you come up, start putting extra pressure on one leg while lifting the opposite leg out to the side until you return to the starting squat position. Repeat the same movement on the opposite leg for the next squat.
Repeat 12 to 15 times on each side.
We recommend that you consult a doctor before embarking on this great adventure. The Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon will take place on Sunday, June 5.
Register at vhiwomensminimarathon.ie