Strength and Conditioning or some form of resistance training is vital for any runners and triathletes. Not only for improved strength and performance but also, vitally, for injury prevention.
Running is a high impact exercise and I am sure most of you reading this have had some running-related injury in the past or present.
S+C is something that is the first to be dropped from most people's training if they are not feeling up to it or would prefer to go for a quick run instead. It really should be the opposite.
All of these exercises can be easily done at home, in a small space, outside or in the gym. The first video is a great warm up before a run or it can also be done during a long run session to help re-invigorate your form and fire up your muscles again for the last part of your session.
The second video is a simple full body weight circuit which is great for beginners or for those who have had a break from any resistance training and need to ease back in.
1. WARM UP
High knee march. Keep your core engaged (think about pulling your belly button in towards your spine).
Marching with elbow to knee with a thoracic twist. Focus on the twist and rotating your core here. Core strength and a mobile thoracic spine are very important for runners.
High knee external rotations. Glute strength is another "must have" for runners. This exercise in particular is a great warm up for the hips but also for your glute strength, particularly on your standing leg. You want to aim to keep your hips and torso facing forward throughout the exercise, especially when your hips and knee rotate to the side.
High knees. Aim for your knees to reach hip level and land lightly on your feet (soft knees, core engaged).
Heel kicks. Aim to kick your heels high and try to touch your bum. Light feet are also important here. It will help translate to light feet in you running too.
Do 30 seconds of each exercise for 1-2 sets.
2. FULL BODY WEIGHT CIRCUIT: 2-4 sets
Squats: Aim to squat so your legs are parallel to the floor. Keep your knees in line with your toes at all times. Squeeze your glutes through to standing. Keep your core engaged at all times, back straight. Do 12-15 reps.
Push ups: If you are confident and comfortable do the full push up. Aim for your elbows to be at 45 degrees to your body (an arrow shape from your head to your elbows) and keep a strong plank position throughout. Don't drop your hips or sag into your shoulders. Have a strong hand position with your fingers spread. Aim for 6-12 reps maintaining good form.
An alternative is eccentric push ups which is a preferred regression to being on your knees as it teaches correct body positioning and core engagement for a full push up. Start in the plank position and lower yourself slowly to the ground. Relax briefly, push back onto your heels and return to the full plank position to repeat. Aim for 6-12 reps.
Glute Bridge: Start with normal glute bridges, pushing through your heels and actively squeezing your glutes at the top. Keep your ribs down by squeezing your core. After 10 reps change to single leg glute bridges. You won't bridge as high with these but single leg work is great for challenging your core and is good run-focused strength work. Aim for 5 single leg glute bridges each side.