One of the things that I am quickly learning after hitting a certain amount of mileage every week is that weight and strength training has become necessary as I've battled a few inconvience injuries. What are those? They are the injuries that never seem to sideline you--or they might for a few days or a week--but they are those nagging injuries that like to make their presence known but not enough to make you have to stop.
I've battled a groin injury on and off for about six months now. It goes away, it comes back, it goes away. The knees? I'm not getting any younger and the longer runs I enjoy remind me of that. Everytime.
I had the opportunity to meet with a trainer for the first time in...(birds chirping) years. Like since high school when I didn't have to pay for them, they just came with whatever sport I played.
It was a good chance to get assessed. Immediately the trainer could tell after a few leg exercises that I was a runner. My front side (quads, biceps, stomach) were much stronger than my backside muscles--hamstrings, back, glutes and triceps.
He began stressing the importance of really focusing on my backside when coming into the gym and doing weights. Especially working on the glutes. Why? Because a lot of runners neglect those.
Runner's World produced an article that countered a lot of what had been previously taught about training for runners. Planks for the back and abdominal work for core strength has been drilled over and over into almost every runners head. But glute strength is probably just as important than all those planks. Don't get rid of those planks (boo!) just add some glute training. The glutes bear a large load of work during a run and need to be renamed the "runner's core". Glute weakness has been linked to shin splins, Achille's tendonitis, runners knee and IT band syndrome.
That familiar burning on the frontside bottom of your legs can really stop you from getting a good workout in. While not part of the backside, it's definetely one of the muscles that gets overlooked during workouts but gets a beating while running. One of the ways to avoid shin splints is to change out shoes on a regular basis (most running shoes can get 300-400 miles out of them before needing to be changed), changing up your running surfaces and to wear proper fitting shoes.
9 Ways to Combat Shin Splints (Shin Workout) by Men's Fitness
Hamstring muscles are the antagonist muscles to the quadriceps. While they work hard during a run, they generally don't get the kind of workout that your quadriceps do. So it's important to work those out too. They are also the muscles that help us sprint faster. So if you're looking to increase your speed, you need to work on this muscle group.
Hamstring Exercises at Home by Lisa Wright
Calves are those nice looking muscles that you want to see bulge a little bit when you stand on tiptoe. They affirm the hard work you put into making your legs look good. Bodybuilding.com has over two pages of great calf muscle exercises that you can do utilizing both gym and home equipment. So choose your poison and get those calves working!
The back is just as important as the front side core. Strong back muscles are important for good health and posture when running.
13 Killer Back Exercises by Lean It Up
The complete A-Z list of the best back exercises by Mind to Muscle Fitness
Like these exercises? Would you like a post with only links to YouTube videos you can do at home?
Images Courtesy Fab Over Forty, Shin Splint Braces, Muscle Fitness, Catalyst Sports Therapy, Lean it Up