“With the right mindset you can turn your weaknesses into your strengths”
Since partial lockdowns (due to Covid19) have been announced I have chatted with a number of athletes whose biggest question is basically “What am I going to do now?”
Well given the restrictions we face I think the answer is obvious – use the time to target your physical weaknesses and turn them into your running strengths.
There are times where we all hit a plateau – where performance just don’t seem to really improve. Even worse there are times when we seem to be constantly plagued by niggly injuries that hamper both performance and enjoyment (think plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, sore hips, Achilles tendonitis).
Runners are really good at saying “I am not fit enough… I better run more” but quite possibly even larger improvement lies in decreasing the effect of your physical weaknesses – therefore improving your running efficiency – saving you energy, making you smoother and … making you faster.
Those that have been following us for a while will know that I passionately believe in the ability of strength training to transform running performance. I have written a number of blogs on this topic. If you haven’t caught up with them the links are below:
Work on the right areas consistently and you will be ready to hit the next parkrun (whenever that may eventually be) in good shape to hit a new PB.
SO WHAT SHOULD I TARGET?
It’s a matter of getting the “best bang for your buck” – in other words where is my running body weakest and how is it impacting my running. Below are the key areas I would examine – and some suggested exercises you might be able to do at home (with minimal equipment) to focus on them
Calves (my personal nemesis and focus, therefore, of much of my own training):
- Calf Raises – straight leg, bend leg (seated), double leg, single leg, over a ledge, barefoot
- Pogos (straight leg bouncing)
- Straight leg rebounds (step of a low box and rebound)
- Rope skipping
- Heel slides – single and double leg
- Reverse Lunges
- Straight leg bounds
Glute (Max – the power unit of our running)
- Hip Bridging – double and single leg
- Reverse Hypers
- Butterfly Hip Thrusts
- Wall Sit
Glute (Med – for hip stability)
- Exploding Clams
- Side Plank variations: for time – arm &/or leg movement, raised
- Side lying leg raises
- Lateral Jumps
- Lateral Hops
- Curtsy Lunges
- Skater Lunges
- Alternating arm arabesques
- Plank Variations: for time, elbows to hands, dolphin, lateral pull throughs, forward pulls, rotating
- Bear Walks – forward/backward/lateral
- “Dead Ants”: Holds, alternating arm leg lowers, resisted lowers, same side lowers
- Hanging leg lifts
Combined Plyometric Options
- Squat Jumps
- Split Jumps
- Split Lunge Jumps
- Tuck Jumps
This is very far from a complete list but there is a cross section of very effective exercise from low level to explosive.
HOW SHOULD I USE THE EXERCISES?
- Choose your area of weakness
- Choose 1-3 exercises that target that area. If you chose multiple exercises try to choose ones that target the muscle slightly different from each other
- Complete 2-3 sets of 12-15reps.
- Progress from double leg to single leg to explosive as you develop competency and strength through each phase
- In strengthening the weakness, start with slow controlled movement – keeping the muscle under tension for extended periods of time through the full range of motion. Develop controlled speed as your competency improves.
- The final stage is adding explosive movements. Start with low reps 1-5 and 4-5 sets. Keep these explosive by not taking reps higher than 8
***Remember this is NOT running conditioning – this is strengthening. Our aim is to make your weaker muscles more stable, stronger and more dynamic to improve running efficiency so we can IMPROVE YOUR PARKRUN PB***
If you would like more information and/or more assistance in exercise selection and prescription feel free to contact Damn Fit Strength and Conditioning: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website https://www.damnfitsc.com.au/contact/