Running is about getting from one point to another as quick as you can, right? Well yes and no.
After watching Eluid Kipchoge run 1hr 59min 40seconds to cover 42.2km I've been inspired on how I can get to point B a little quicker as well.
Running boils down to how efficient we are and how effective you are at moving. The less time your foot is in contact with the ground the quicker you’re going to be moving. And if you can make your stride longer then you’re going to be moving even faster. But how long can you hold on to that for?
Well that's where being efficient and effective in how we move really comes in to it. There are a few simple exercises that you can do to engage the right muscles groups to help you move a little better. We incorporate these exercises and others into our Matrix workouts but there’s nothing from stopping you trying them at home too.
One of the most important muscles when it comes to running, but it's not just about having big strong glutes! The 3 muscles that make up your Glutes need to work at the right time if they aren't working how they should then it really doesn't matter how strong or big they are.
Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
Crab walks (Love these)
Using a resistance band around your ankles stand with your feet hip width apart and drop into a 1/4 squat. Focus on keeping you core engaged and draw your shoulder blades together.
Step to your right keeping your feet parallel and driving your knees out, then bring your left foot in while keeping your feet parallel and driving your knees out making sure your don't bring your feet too close together.
Make sure you are holding the 1/4 squat and upper body, repeat this 10 times one way then 10 times in the opposite direction.
Another key muscle in the running gait.
You can either add eccentric loading to this exercise by hanging your foot off a step, or do these from standing on a flat surface (heel raises).
You should do one foot at a time, unless you really struggle, You can use one hand to help balance
Raise your heel so the weight is on the ball of your foot and you are pushing through your big toe, keeping your leg straight.
Lower yourself again back to the starting point.
Swap legs after a 15-25 reps.
Finally, balance is key. It takes a lot to remain stable when running and being stable when you land will also prevent injuries. A good way to work on this is single leg balance.
Single Leg Balance
Stand on one leg with the other thigh horizontal and your shin vertical, try to focus on lifting you toe to your knee
Once you have this one mastered try to close your eyes, yes close your eyes, maybe start with one eye at a time see how you get one
We can keep progressing this by then standing on a wobble board with one leg at a time before.. Yes you guessed it close your eyes!
These simple but effective exercises will help to make you are more efficient and faster runner.
So now we're moving more efficient and effectively what else can we do? As well as specific training sessions where running is the main focus such as Intervals, Fartlek and Tempo running we need to keep a check that we are still doing strength and conditioning exercises. We do some fabulous Strength sessions on Digme at Home.
Join us in the Energy Lab for one of our MATRIX workouts. All of our Matrix concepts have a slightly different focus. Find out more about our HIIT workouts.
Personally I like to do a Matrix Core and Matrix Meta workout during the week and then a Matrix Run at the weekend - if I don't have a Long run to fit in!
If you have any questions, please had over to our Instagram page, I will be doing a Q&A on running this week.
Thank you and happy running!