It would be easy to believe that to be a strong runner, you simply need to have strong legs – after all, that’s what you need to run, right? Wrong. Have you ever tried running with your arms held behind your back? It’s pretty tricky and certainly impossible to run hard and fast! This is because our upper body creates a huge amount of power and momentum when we run; which is transmitted into our legs through our core.
Ultimately, core strength is absolutely essential for any runner looking to improve their pace, endurance and avoid injury.
What exactly is my core?
A common belief is that your core refers to solely your rectus abdominis muscle, also known as the “abdominal muscle”… or, often more simply, ‘abs’. The reality is that your ‘core’ also includes the back, pelvis and components of the lower trunk, such as hip flexors, abductors and adductors, along with your inner core unit. It’s important that as you develop your running strength you’re maintaining balance within your various planes of movement in order to avoid injury.
How will a strong core improve my running?
Your core functions as a stabiliser between your lower body and upper body and is able to transfer energy (power) through its linked system. Therefore, it makes sense that to produce efficient lower body movement, you ought to be taking advantage of the power you can create through your upper body too.
With effective core strength training, you can improve stability, power and endurance needed for better performance – this means you’ll run further and faster as a result of becoming a more balanced, efficient runner.
Your core will always be working when you run, but with running alone it’ll be hard to strengthen it further so it requires additional training. And for running, as the core muscles won’t be working in isolation (like a crunch or plank), you don’t want to be doing exercises that isolate the core muscles either.
What sort of core training should I be doing to improve my running?
The position that you train your core plays a huge role. Running is an upright activity, so the majority of the core training should happen while standing. This will prepare the body for the forces it must overcome when running at different speeds over different terrains
Multi-joint movements such as squatting, lunging, pressing and crawling all ensure the body is worked as a unit not in isolation.
How could a Be Military Fit class help me with my running?
Be Military Fit sessions are designed to enhance different elements of fitness, all within one session. Whilst the strength component will develop your all-over muscle strength, the anaerobic and aerobic components work different energy systems to elicit different body responses – making you a stronger, more well-rounded runner. Even the physical preparation element is hugely beneficial; aiding core activation and body awareness and control.
Within the BMF Military Fit programme, you will work the core in all planes of motion, these movements include:
- Trunk flexion and extension
- Lateral flexion
- Trunk rotation
- Catching (the nature of throwing and catching will work the core through all three planes which demand dynamic stabilisation)
In addition to this, one of the most important – but often overlooked – aspects of military training is mindset. The instructors and the other members will get you digging in deeper than you thought possible.
Whether you’re taking on your very first 5k or a gruelling 26.2 mile marathon, the ability to dig in and keep going when everything else feels against you can be the most powerful element to your entire training plan!
Join Be Military Fit for a free class at www.bemilitaryfit.com.