Sometimes there’s a misconception or belief some runners have, that the more they run, the better they will become. This is not entirely untrue. Running more and you will become more fit but there are muscles involved in running, which means you need to strengthen them to become a faster or better runner.
The anatomy of the body does not interest many people and thus they neglect to do proper research with regards to running or any sport that they might pursue. This is why it’s a great option to hire a personal trainer or coach to formulate the correct exercise program for you, that will complement your running program.
Glutes a.k.a the bum muscles.
These muscles are responsible for the force output which means that they help you to run faster. Stronger glute muscles = faster running and better that time of yours. When I have worked with a client which had a lower limb amputation, I learned that they need strong glute muscles to move properly. Without strong glute muscles, your movement will be uneven when you walk. This made me realize how important these muscles are for my clients who run. Ask any of my running clients and they will tell you how much we exercise that bum muscles or theirs.
The other thing that I incorporate into my 100m athlete training programs, is hill training. Hill training train those glute muscles as well and make them stronger. Hill training also provides a way to train the athlete, to run in better form, have better mechanics, and help with loose joints.
If you can’t afford to hire someone, research what exercises make the glute muscles stronger and do them.
We all know how you swing your arms when you run. They move from the front to the back when you run. The arms are responsible for the “drive” movement behind your running. Strong arms will ensure that that you have that proper drive but do not forget to work on mobility as well in this area. Stiff arms will result in the inability to swing that arms for that drive.
Make sure that you do exercise that targets the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Also, remember to stretch these muscles which will ensure mobility. If you have any injuries, consult your doctor before doing any kind of exercise.
Did you know that your core is not only your abdominal muscles? Your core consists of your abs, your back muscles, and those in your hips and glutes. All these muscles need to be strong to ensure that you have an upright position present, when you walk, run, and even cycle. If these muscles lack any strength, you will not be able to keep up with your sport for long because you will suffer from pain in any of these areas. This is from personal experience but a study shows that for this to be true, you need to exercise your core muscles more than two times per week to be effective in improving your running. You can read more about this study when you click on the link provided in the “works cited”. But even though this study proved that it doesn’t help you to improve your running, neglecting to strengthen these muscles, can result in pain.
Running more will result in becoming fit but it will not help you become better. Strength training is just as important as your running program.
- Why your arm swing is so important to running and how to improve it: J. Beverley, 11 October 2017, accessed 1 March 2021 on Runners World
- Does core strength training influence running kinetics, lower-extremity stability: K. Sata & M.Mokha, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2009 – Volume 23 – Issue 1 – p 133-140 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818eb0c5
- Picture credit: Sciencemag.org
Written by: Marleen Swart