Winter is a great time to focus on strength training, especially the core. A strong core also helps to prevent injuries and improves running form and efficiency — all of which contribute to running longer and faster.

Core strength is also critical to people who run outdoors year round. Bad footing often comes along with inclement weather, making stabilizer muscles work extra hard. This can be especially hard on hips, so it’s important to make sure that you have a strong foundation before putting extra strain on your body.

Core strength training develops the muscles of the stomach, back and hips. One thing to remember when you’re doing these exercises is that you want to maintain proper form. It’s better to stop and rest for 10 seconds and then continue if you’re unable to maintain proper form.

Here are the four workouts you’ll see in the video:
1. Oblique Side Touches: Start with 20 (10 on each side). Increase to 40 reps as you get stronger
2. V Sits: Start with holding the pose for 30 seconds and increase to 1 minute
3. Single Leg Crunch and Raise: Start with 5 on one side, then 5 on other side. Increase to 10 on each as you get stronger
4. Two-Leg Crunch and Raise: Work up to 10 in total

Just like with your running training where you increase your mileage slowly, the same principle applies with your core. Work on getting stronger week by week. Increase reps as you get stronger. Take breaks when necessary. The improved strength will make your running faster, your recovery easier and your overall running experience better.

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