After 6-ish weeks, the self-isolation slump has begun to linger. But if you were looking for motivation, for a sign to get up off the couch, this is it. In a new series, we’ve brought on a collective of powerhouse experts to bring the burn to your very own home. Limited if not, zero equipment required.
For many of us, running is a core part of our training routine, giving us the opportunity to take some time to look after ourselves mentally and physically. But there are many other ways we can move at home that benefit our mind and help us progress as athletes* – whether you are looking to complement your running or if you aren’t able to get out on the run.
Strength training for runners is a great way to build power as well as help prevent injuries. When we’re training, we can spend so much time running that it can be hard to find space in our schedule to fit in strength training as well. But many of us now have more time than ever to get into a healthy, balanced routine to complement your running.
When running we spend the majority of our time on just one leg at a time. Therefore it is important that we condition our bodies to handle the pressure we put on ourselves throughout each step through single leg work. The posterior chain, including our glutes, hamstrings and calves should be a key focus for your workout, as well as activating and building a strong core. The Nike Training Club (NTC) app is the perfect training partner to guide you through strength sessions when at home, both body-weighted and equipment led. The running-specific sessions which focus on these key muscle groups include the Runners Strength & Balance workout with Nike Heptathlon Athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and the Runner Stability workout.
It is important to do 2-3 sessions per week and complement your strength training by focusing on mobility. The NTC app also has numerous yoga sessions that are perfect for any runner to stretch and recover from all the other training. The Essential Restorative Yoga is a great 20-minute session you can do any time, anywhere.
*if you have a body, you are an athlete.
RUNNERS STRENGTH WITH NIKE RUNNING HEAD COACH LYDIA O’DONNELL
I’ve developed this strength training session for runners that focuses on building full-body strength using your body weight. It’s best to incorporate strength training into your routine on your rest days so I usually do this workout myself a few times a week.
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The workout includes many great moves from the NTC app, including from the Runner Stability and the Runner Strength and Balance workouts. Head to the app for more tips on getting the most out of these movements, follow along with the videos and check out other workouts that you can also do at home.
SUGGESTED WARM UP
Before you get into the training session, I recommend warming up with the 15-minute Wake Up Warrior training from the NTC app. This warm up requires no equipment and will focus on mobility as well as activating your core. Move through the workout at an easy pace and make the most of each exercise. You should be warm and ready to go after!
WORKOUT – (30-40 mins excluding warm up and cool down)
Set 1. Focus: Glutes, Hamstrings and Core.
This set of exercises will focus on activating the glutes and hamstrings, as well as building strength through stability. Your glutes are your powerhouse of your body, therefore is important to focus on using correct form to be sure that the majority of each move is coming from the glutes as this will allow you to get the most out of each exercise.
- Hip Bridge: lie flat on your back with your knees bent, arms by your sides and feet hip- width apart, squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up and hold in position for 3 seconds before lowering back down – x 15 (from NTC workouts Runners Stability)
- Single Leg Squat: stand on one leg and lift your other leg out slightly in front of your torso. Engaging your core, push your hips back to lower into a squat position until your hips are parallel with the ground. Stand back up – x 10 on each leg
- Forearm Side Plank: As you are in the position to side plank, think about using both your obliques and your glutes to hold your hips up. Squeeze the glute to push your hips a little higher – 30 seconds each side
Repeat set three times
Set 2. Focus: Hamstrings and Core
When we run, our hamstrings work to extend our hips and flex our knees. Through this set we will focus on warming up and activating our hamstring tendon through isometric holds and building strength of the hamstring muscle through single-leg stability.
- Isometric Hold for Hamstring: lie on your back and place both heels on a chair or couch. Raise hips up to be in line with shoulders and knees – hold for 30 seconds
- Single-Leg Balance Reach: stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent and in line with your hip. Engaging your core, straighten your opposite leg and extend it back at a 45- degree angle. Hold for two seconds and return to original stance (from NTC workout Runners Strength and Balance) – x 12 on each side
- Front Plank: Although this is a key core strengthening exercise you can also put your posterior chain to work through a plank. Squeeze your glutes and use your hamstrings to hold your hips in line with your shoulders. You should be creating a flat body from your head all the way down to your heels. – hold for 45 seconds
Repeat set three times.
Set 3. Focus: Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core
As we build up our running speed, we should be pushing up onto our toes to help with leg turn over (the number of steps you take per minute when running). However, running on the forefoot will put even more pressure on the legs, especially our calves, so this set will focus on building strength in the entire lower body. By the time you get to the lunge your calves will be fatigued so this a great chance to build endurance in the muscle. The core exercise of boat to low boat will also test your hip flexor; aim to activate the core as much as possible to take the pressure of the hips.
- Single Leg Calf Raises: find a step to drop your heel off and raise up on a single leg – x 15 on each side
- Backward Lunge to Overhead Reach: standing straight up step one foot backward and lower your hips to bend your opposite knee to 90 degree. At the same time raise your hands above your head and rotate your torso to your front leg. Stick to one side and repeat before moving to the other leg (from NTC workout Runners Strength & Balance) – x 15 on each side
- Boat to Low Boat: lie on your back with your head, shoulders and legs hovering off the ground and arms hovering by your sides. Crunch up and bend your knees to reach your fingertips towards your toes (from NTC workout Basic Burner) – repeat for 30 seconds
Repeat set three times. And you are (almost) done!
Once you’ve completed your training, I’d recommend the 14-minute Runner Flexibility from the NTC app. This warm down workout requires no equipment and will focus on stretching out your muscles post workout. Take your time in the warm down and focus on deep breathing to get the most out of each stretch.