A Marathon is one of the biggest challenges that a runner can face and if you have been lucky enough to have been accepted to an event this year this year, you will either be in the process of racking up the miles or thinking of starting vey soon.
Runners (especially novices) will avoid the resistance training whilst training for a long distance event focusing purely on running.
But while increasing your mileage may help to improve your cardiovascular conditioning and stamina it can also increase the risk of injury.
The impact from each foot strike puts lots of stress on the body. If your muscles aren’t prepared to handle this stress it must be absorbed elsewhere. This stress is moved onto the bones, joints and connective tissue. Over time this can lead to overuse injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures and “runner’s knee” these can be painful and can impact on training and even lead to missed events.
A well structured resistance training program that is performed on the days when you’re not running can help avoid these problems.
Resistance training will help strengthen the muscles making them more resilient to the pounding that body gets from hitting the pavements. It will also help reduce the chances of muscular imbalances that can also contribute to injuries. This style of training can also make muscles more efficient at using fuel leading to improved endurance and performance.
To complement your Marathon training ideally perform this resistance session twice a week, add weight where needed to increase the intensity.
Foam roll – calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads and upper back.
Foam rolling can help to improve blood flow to the muscles, help break down knots that limit range of motion and can stimulate the body to release tight muscles, which gets the body ready for a workout and can help it to recover afterwards.
The exercises below are in pairs (super sets) you should perform them in order. For example you would complete Exercise A1 then you would rest then move on A2. After A2 has been completed you would rest for the allotted time and then move back onto A1. Then repeat for desired amount of sets, before moving on to the B group and carry on this way until you completed workout.
A1 – goblet or body weight squat 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Squats are a key exercise to help strengthen and add power to the lower body.
1. Take a shoulder width stance while holding a dumbbell or kettle bell close to your chest. Alternatively you can perform with body weight.
2. Look straight forward with your shoulders back and your spine straight
3. Start the movement by descending into a squat, bending at the hips and knees to lower your body.
4. As you descend, push your knees outward and keep your weight on your heels.
5. Descend until you either reach the full squat position with your hamstrings on your calves or until your back starts to round. At the bottom of the motion pause briefly.
6. Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels, straightening the knees and hips taking you back to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Rest 45 secs then perform
A2 – Step ups – 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Step ups are great to help runners increase stability while on one leg and also helps strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.
1. Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing the side of your legs) or perform with body weight if you a beginner or have trouble with balance.
2. Place the right foot on the elevated platform. Step on the platform by extending the hip and the knee of your right leg. Use the heel mainly to lift the rest of your body up and place the foot of the left leg on the platform as well. Breathe out as you execute the force required to come up.
3. Step down with the left leg by flexing the hip and knee of the right leg as you inhale. Return to the original standing position by placing the right foot next to the left foot on the initial position.
4. Repeat with the right leg for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg. Then rest for 1min and then repeat A1.
A strong and balanced upper body will help improve posture which in turn can help increase endurance due better oxygen intake and reduce fatigue.
B1 – TRX rows – 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
1. Set your body in a straight line, as if you were in a vertical plank position.
2. While keeping your arms straight, walk your feet forward until there is tension in the straps. This is starting position.
3. Make sure to keep your palms facing each other throughout the lift.
4. To begin the movement, retract your shoulder blades back and down.
5. Now, pull your torso towards your hands keeping your elbows close to your body. Your body should remain rigid and your palms and wrists should stay neutral.
6. Lower your body back to the starting position and repeat.
7. If the exercise is too easy, move feet a bit further forward.
8. If it is too difficult with correct form, move your feet back a bit.
Rest 45 secs then perform
B2 – press ups – 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
1. Lay face down on the floor (Or if your unable to perform full press use place hands on a raised platform such a bench or step .As you get stronger reduce the height of platform) With arms bent, place your hands palm-side down on the floor a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be positioned in line with your shoulders.
2. Think of your entire body from head to toe as one unit. Brace core by pulling belly button into spline and contract glutes thus to avoid over arching of lower back . While breathing out push away from the floor until you’ve fully extend your arms.
3. From head to toe, your body should be a straight diagonal line. (No bent knees or arched mid-section.)
4. Inhale as you slowly lower your body, bending your elbows until your chest touching or almost touching the floor. That’s one repetition. Repeat for desired reps Then rest for 1min and then repeat B1
A strong core means more than having a six pack or being able to do 100-sit ups. Your core is made of lots superficial and deep lying muscles. All Which play vital roles in stabilising the whole body while running, they help to keep hips, knees and ankles safe by keep your pelvis in an optimal position. This also delays the breakdown of form when your fatigued.
C1 – planks – Plank 10-15 deep breaths
1. Prop yourself up on your elbows with your feet slightly apart.
2. Make sure your body is aligned, contract act the muscles in your lower and upper body, pull your abdominal muscles tight towards your spine.
3. Keep shoulders directly above the elbows pull shoulder blades down and back, avoid being hunched up.
4. Hold this position for 10-20 deep breaths
5. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger. Rest 45 secs then perform
C2 – Lower-Body Russian Twist 10-16 reps
1. Lie on your back with your upper legs perpendicular to the floor and your knees bent 90-degrees.
2. Without changing the bend in your hips or knees, lower your legs to the left side of your body while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor.
3. Lift them back to the starting position, and repeat to the right side of your body. That’s one repetition. Rest 45 secs then perform
C3 – lying leg raise 10-15 reps
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and palms facing up.
2. Engage your core by drawing your tummy in and pelvic floor (the muscle you would use to stop yourself from peeing) up with 30% effort.
3. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, this will stop the muscles in the front of your neck overworking.
4. Lift your legs out above your hips, thrust your hips straight up lifting your lower spine off the mat.
5. Slowly lower back down under good control until your feet are just above the ground. Keep your head and shoulder blades on the mat throughout the movement.
After you have completed the above repeat foam rolling or perform some static stretching to help reduce muscle tightness.