5 Exercises to Improve Your Running Performance

If you’re someone who wants to improve their running performance, it will be a wise move to look at the various running exercises that can be performed.

Running is a sport that is mostly going to require good muscular and cardiovascular endurance capabilities, but beyond that, it’s going to be imperative that you have muscular strength behind you as well as good form.

When you do, then you should have no problem seeing significant improvements in your running performance over time.

While the absolute best way to improve upon your performance with anything is to spend time practicing that specific activity, it’s also important that you consider the various cross training exercises that you can do as well to further your progress along.

Let’s have a quick peak at the top running exercises that you need to know about so that you can get started off on the right foot with making improvements in your plan.

1) Leg Press

The very first exercise that you’ll want to make sure you get into your program plan is the leg press.  The leg press is really going to help build up your lower body leg power and help ensure that you can accelerate while running as best as possible.

Since much of the power you get right off the start when running or while running up any hill is quad derived, the leg press will be ideal to help to strengthen this muscle especially.

2) Lunge

The second good exercise to add into your workout routine to help boost your running performance is the lunge.  Lunges are great because they’ll work the quads, hamstrings, as well as the core, all muscles that are going to be involved with doing this activity.

The lunges are also nice since they’ll help to improve your agility and coordination, which is important for when you’re out there doing a run.

3) Knee Highs With A Cable

Another good exercise to have included in the mix to help boost your running performance and see the best results possible is the knee high with a cable.

One of the most common injuries that many runners face is hip flexor injuries as these muscles will be worked very intensely at any point when you’re doing running sprints.

If sprint training is a large component of your fitness plan, you definitely will want to make sure these are included in your plan.

By attaching your foot to a cable pulley system and then performing knee highs with the cable attached to your ankle, you’ll help to build strength in your hip flexor for driving the knee upwards.

Since this does mimic the running action to some extent, it will provide a nice transfer over benefit to when you’re on the pavement.

One particular thing that you’ll want to note with this one though is that you must stretch the hip flexors out after doing the activity as this will decrease the chance of muscle soreness that you experience after the session is completed.

4) Calf Raises With A Fast Rise

Another muscle group that’s important to strengthen as you go about your workout program is the calves.

Along with the quads and glutes which will propel you off the start when sprinting or running uphill, your calves will also be predominantly called into play and will really contribute much of the force that’s necessary for optimal running performance.

Those who neglect to work their calves are missing out on half the equation for strengthening the muscles involved when running, but since these are such small muscles, they do often get overlooked.

When performing your calf raises, one technique to consider using is a very fast rise right off the start of the movement.  This is what will help to build explosive force in the calves, which is precisely what you’re looking for here.

You ideally want to rise up using a one count, pause at the top for one to two seconds, and then lower back down to a two or three count.

By using a much slower lowering phase you can still maintain a more lengthy total time under tension on the muscles, which is imperative to making sure that you see the strength gains that you’re looking for.

Just make sure that despite the faster tempo pattern at the start, you are still making sure that you do keep the movement controlled so as to prevent an injury from occurring.

5) Plank

Working the core muscles is another vital element involved in boosting your running performance so some good core movements would be considered good running exercises to perform.

When it comes to core strength, you really can’t beat the plank activity.  The plank is going to firm and strengthen all the muscles in the abdominal core as well as the ones running along the spinal column, really boosting your overall level of strength.

The nice thing about the plank is that since it is an isometric movement, it’s going to help to enhance the muscular endurance of the core, which is also important because it will be contracting at a low level the entire time that you’re performing your running activity.

When performing this exercise you’ll want to ensure that you maintain that flat back position through the entire exercise in order to prevent lower back pain and keep the constant tension on the muscles.

If at any point during the exercise you notice that you’re starting to rise up or let the back sway, immediately rest before starting again.

So there you have a few of the top running exercises that you should consider as part of your overall workout routine.  By making sure that you’re performing these along with your usual training that will definitely boost your running performance, you can feel confident that you’re doing everything possible to foster a high level of performance.

Aim to do these running exercises two to three times per week, taking at least one day off between sessions for the most optimal results.

[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology.  In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]

FB Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. Barbara Meyers January 1, 2012
  2. Jack Williams January 1, 2012
  3. Erica Curtis January 1, 2012
  4. Pam Walker January 1, 2012

Leave a Reply