Every athlete or fitness devotee wants each moment of training to produce the very best outcomes possible. One way to ensure you are making the best use of your training time is to improve the drills you are using in your programme. Outlined here are a few favourites that can benefit runners and triathletes alike.
Core exercises are vital for your running and will impact your style as well. Ensuring hip and spine alignment is optimal will allow you to create the ideal balance through your run. A strong core enables you to maintain your alignment more easily.
A couple of key drills which you can easily incorporate to improve your core strength are:
1. Cross - Using a resistance band secured to a fence, wall or similar stable structure just above shoulder height, stand side-on with you right shoulder to the wall or fence. Your legs should be shoulder distance apart with your toes pointing forward. You should be just far enough away that you need to rotate slightly toward the wall to reach the band. Grasp the resistance band with both hands diagonally above your right shoulder and slowly pull the band across the front of your body, toward your left hip, rotating your torso as you do. Hold at the furthest point, then slowly take your hands and the band back to the starting position.
Complete 10-20 reps. Repeat on the Left side.
2. Plank – Balance yourself on your elbows and toes, face down to the floor. Structure your body as straight as possible. Imagine a steel rod runs from the top of your head to your heels. Draw your abdominal muscles in a tightly as possible. Imagine trying to draw your belly button into your spine. Take care that your hips are in perfect alignment. Ensure that they do not stick up into the air, or fall too low creating pressure on your lower spine. Hold that position for as long as possible. Aim for 2-3 minutes.
Complete 12-20 reps.
Specifically for running form
3. HighStep – Exaggerate the running motion with short steps and higher knees. Each step should bring your knees up until they are parallel with the ground. Use the balls of your feet for spring and keep your toes facing forward and pointing slightly upwards. Use an exaggerated arm motion. This forces your brain to concentrate on your body’s movement.
HighStep for 50m bursts. Complete 10-20 Reps
4. Quickstep – Using an upright stance, run with tiny quick steps and a close tight arm motion. Breathe steadily through the entire drill. Keep your abdominals drawn in to help maintain a balanced posture.
QuickStep for 50m bursts. Complete 10-20 Reps
5. Single Leg Squats – with your left toes hooked over a hurdle, or similar item, behind you, stand facing forward with your right leg slightly bent. Squat down and spring up in a controlled movement so that your left toes do not lose contact with the hurdle. Focus on keeping your body upright, balancing on the ball of your right foot. Your arms should complete a full running motion in line with the squat step. Avoid a “bounce” at the lowest or highest point of the squat.
Complete 10-20 Reps.
Glenn Skinner from The Change Room (www.thechangeroom.net.au) is an accredited Triathlon, Run, Bike and Swim Coach. Focused on a holistic approach, Strength & Conditioning as Mental Skills are also paramount. As well as Face to Face Training, Glenn has an online training program which allows people from anywhere to access professionally monitored programs that are versatile enough to fit in with a busy schedule. This extremely cost-effective approach is designed to provide the personal attention of 1-to-1 programs, with the practicality of technology to complete visual assessments and program implementation. He is also a skilled and experienced Sporting Event Project Manager, and is running the inaugural Yeppoon Triathlon Festival 1-2 August 2015. For more information, or to register: http://yeppoontriathlonfestival.com.au/