Tag Archives: strength

3 Core Exercises for Runners

Every runner knows that having a strong center can help you run faster.  What isn’t clear is what core exercises are best for building the stability and strength that best supports running at any distance. While your core is made up of many muscles this blog’s focus is on the core’s core.  Made up of your abs, obliques, lower back and transverse abdominis they’re the muscles that keep you aligned and upright.  That’s pretty important stuff for running.

Whether you’re an 800M runner or an ultra marathoner here are are three of Team ECRP‘s favorite core exercises.  Trust us, they’re so much fun you’ll want to add them to your strength training routine as soon as you can.

Planks.  Runners can never plank enough.  Well, a world record isn’t necessary.  With so many varieties available there is a plank for everyone.  One great tool for continuing to challenge your core exercisesbody to get stronger is plank flash cards.  Write a type of plank on one side of a card, repeat for a number of styles then record your history on each one.

Twists.  Rotational stability is key for not wasting energy while we run.  The more power going forward the better off we are.  Strengthening our twisting muscles provides the support we need to run faster and more efficiently.  You can twist in a plank and with a ball, cable or resistance band.  Whichever one you choose is sure to benefit you.

Dead bugs.  More like a dying bug since you’re moving but this simple looking move can really be tough.  This move exclusively hits that all important transverse adominis.  Right in the middle of your body this muscle is the center of your core providing stability for your spine and pelvic floor.  Laying on your back it’s important to keep your lower supported and move your legs independently.

With so many core exercises to choose from it’s hard to go wrong.  Give the choices about a try to develop a well rounded core that will support every mile you run and those last few marathon miles will thank you.

Coach Meredith

The Every Runner Foot Care Plan

Having two healthy feet is something most runners take for granted.  Until one gets injured.  Foot care is often overlooked by runners who stretch hamstrings, quads and calves but miss their most important part.  Feet take the first impact of every step.  They also help us stay upright, balance and learn about our environments.  Here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to keep them healthy and happy.

Find the right shoes.  If your shoes are too loose they can rub and causing blisters.  Too narrow and you’re susceptible to callouses, too.  If they’re too small, add in the risk of black or foot carefalling off toenails.  When you buy running shoes, do so from a reputable running store and make sure the fit is correct.  And, once you have the correct shoes, know when it’s time for new ones.

Socks.  There are tons of socks out there, and you want to be sure you’re running in the right ones.  Cotton socks can lead to blisters while other materials, such as acrylic, can help protect your feet from rubbing by pulling sweat and moisture away.  You might need to vary your sock choice based on the weather, a light sock won’t be equally fit for a speed workout and racing a marathon.  Although there are lots of choices, socks are fairly inexpensive, so try different brands, fabrics and cuts until you find what works best.

Keep your feet dry.  This can be hard if you’re running in the rain, on the trails, in snow or on the beach.  Waterproof trail shoes are a great choice for those who brave nature, but for those who run mostly on pavement or a treadmill, the answer is usually to wear moisture wicking fabrics.  Never start with damp or wet socks and shoes and keep an extra pair nearby for when you’re finished.

Massage your feet by rolling them on golf or lacrosse balls, a rolling pin or foot roller.  Not only will a foot massage relax those hard working muscles, it’ll give you a few minutes to chill out foot careand take a break.  Be careful, though.  Rolling or massaging your feet too hard can cause damage to tender fascia and harm, rather than help, this important body part.

Make them strong.  Do foot and ankle strengthening exercises.  Weak feet mean you lose out on power and speed while increasing your risk of injury.  Try being barefoot as much as you can.  Shoes support muscles so they don’t have to work.  Taking off your shoes will strengthen the arch of your foot while aiding in your body’s ability to sense what’s happening around it.

Use these tips to keep your feet in good working condition and they’ll help you hit a new PR.

Coach Meredith

Strong Feet for Runners

Your feet are your base.  They hit the ground first with every step you take and bear the brunt of impact.  Amazing structures with 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, strong feet help runners do important things like balance, engage their cores and strong feetmaintain proper posture.  Of course, our feet don’t operate alone.  They’re attached to our ankles so those need to be tough, too.  That’s why building a better athlete starts at the bottom with strength and stability in our feet and ankles.  Here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to earn strong feet and improved performance:

Bare them:  Lose your shoes as much as you can and go barefoot (or socked).  Proprioception, the ability to sense where parts of our body are in relation to the others and the strength required for movement, gets destroyed by wearing shoes.  This makes us visually dependent which slows reactions times and increases our risk of injury.  By improving proprioception in bare feet we improve our foot’s ability to respond to the ground it touches, even when it’s back in a shoe, for better balance and fewer potential missteps.

Work them:  Do toe gymnastics.  Spread your toes out as far as you can then pull them back together or try moving each toe individually.  You can also practice balancing on one foot.  Keep your big toe flat and foot long to exercise the foot’s muscles as you work towards holding it for one minute with your eyes closed (an additional challenge).  This will help develop balance and the strength of the tendons and ligaments that support your ankle as well.  You might be surprised how hard this is on your first try but it can quickly improve with a little work.

strong feetLove them:  After all that work, strong feet need a little love.  Take care of them with a roller ball or massage, it’s easy to do while you’re catching up on the paper or news.  This keeps blood and nutrients flowing to one of our most important body parts.  Remember that each step starts with your foot then rolls up through your body.  Take good care of your feet and they’ll take good care of you.

Spending a few minutes each day working towards strong feet will make anyone a better athlete.  Get started today!

Coach Meredith