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Tristan Woodfine’s pre-run activation routine

The drills that helped keep Woodfine in one piece during his nearly year-long marathon build

Tristan Woodfine had the race of this life earlier this month at the London Marathon, achieving the Olympic standard and running a huge personal best of 2:10:51. With so much uncertainty as to when and where he would get to race, Woodfine’s build had multiple phases and lasted nearly a year, which is a really long time to go without a break in training. Despite this, Woodfine has barely dealt with any injury issues. He attributes his health to the routine below, which he does before every run and strength session. 

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Banded pull-apart

This exercise helps with posture and upper back strength. Stand up straight and hold an exercise band in front of you at chest height. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart with palms facing upward. Slowly pull the band apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a couple of seconds at the end of your range, and then slowly return to the starting position. Aim for 10 to 20 repetitions. 


Begin by lying face up on a mat with your arms in the air, perpendicular to your torso. Your legs are in the air with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower one arm overhead to the floor and lower your opposite leg toward the floor. Return to the starting position and do the same thing with the other side.  Try to keep your lower back pressed into the floor and aim for 10 reps on each side. 

Banded knee drive


Start by standing in a split-leg position with a heavy resistance band around your waist and anchored to something behind you. You will also need a chair or box set up a few feet in front of you. Drive your hip and back leg forward, with a focus on using the glute to generate the force and let your foot land on the chair or box. Hold this position for one or two seconds, making sure your glute is still activated. Return to the starting position. Aim for 10 reps for each leg.

Clamshell and reverse clamshell

Start by lying on your side with both legs stacked. Your shoulders, hips, and knees should all form a straight line. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place a resistance band around them. Raise your top knee while keeping your ankles together. Hold the end range position for one to two seconds before slowly bring your knee back to the starting position. For the reverse clamshell, you will remain in the same position but this time move the resistance band around your ankles. Raise your top ankle and focus on achieving the motion through an internal rotation of the hip. Again, pause at the top for one or two seconds and slowly bring the ankle back down to the starting position. Aim for about 10 to 15 reps each.

Single-leg squat

Stand on one foot with your other leg bent at the knee and your arms out in front of you. Once you have found your balance, lower into a quarter squat with your raised leg kicking out behind you. Don’t let your knee go past the end of your toes or collapse inwards. Once at the bottom, push back upwards through your foot and focus on activating your glutes to get back to the starting position. Aim for eight to 10 reps on each leg.

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