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This exercise will strengthen your lower abdominals.  It's sometimes easy to forget how important the abdominals are to runners.  We just don't use our legs and arms when we run.  We also rely heavily on our abs.  Without them, we wouldn't be able to lift our knees high off the ground. 



Pointers

May 11, 2010

Also known as "bird dogs," this is a great overall core exercise.  It not only strengthens

the abs and back, but also involves the glutes and improves balance and stability.



Pretzel Stretch

May 09, 2010

When you do any exercise routine, it can be tempting to start compensating with your

back.  Avoid this at all costs!  Try to remember the muscles that you are targeting in

each exercise and AVOID relying on your back when it is not supposed to be used. 

 

No matter how careful you are, your back will probably feel some tightness from the

running and the whole body routine.  Stretch it out as you are nearing the end of the

exercises. 



Calf Stretch

May 08, 2010

Runners need loose calves!  A tight calf will cause the hamstring to tigheten...and a

tight hamstring will cause glutes and hip rotators to overextend and tighten....That's why

stretching the whole chain of muscles is so important.



Leg Swings

May 07, 2010

This can be fun exercise, but don't just swing your leg with abandon.  Make each swing

a deliberate motion and think about the muscles that you are activating.  You'll

strengthen your abdominals and stretch your hamstrings, pelvis, and hips in the

process.



Foam Roller

May 06, 2010

Using the foam roller might hurt a little at first, but keep at it!  Over time, you will see

what a difference this "self massage" technique can make.  Foam rollers are a runner's

best friends!



Like the previous drill, heel walking targets the muscles of the lower leg, ankle, and

foot.  More of the emphasis, however, is on the shin.  This drill plays an important role

in the prevention of shin splints (one of the most common complaints of distance

runners).



You might think that marathoners don't need high knee lift, but they do!  This drill will

help strengthen your hip flexors, improve your flexibility, and lengthen your stride.




Butt kicks are a great way to stretch the quadriceps (the muscle in the front of the

thigh).  The quads are important for lifting your knees and increasing your speed.

Quads are often the first thing to go at the end of marathons, causing runners to come

shuffling across the finish line because they have a hard time lifting their feet off the

ground.  This drill will keep that muscle flexible and ready for action




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