Running is a fantastic all-over cardio experience and can be hugely cathartic. It’s not, however, without its problems, particularly when it comes to leg injuries.
While you should ideally strengthen your whole body, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to the areas you know are weaker or prone to injury.
The following strength exercises for runners will help you prevent the sport’s most common injuries.
(When you sign up to one of the 12WBT running programs, you’ll be given detailed descriptions, videos and photographs demonstrating how to perform each exercise!)
This is a common injury among novice runners and is characterised by irritation and pain where the kneecap rests on the thighbone.
Exercises to prevent runner’s knee:
- Hip Raises
- Reverse Plank
- Side Plank
- Hip Hitches
- Hip Hitch Holds
- Kneeling Core Balance
- Plus running drills such as Knee Hugs
Weak hamstrings – the muscles that run down the back of your thighs – can easily be pulled while running.
Exercises to prevent hamstring injuries:
- Squats – various types
- Lunges – various types but particularly while walking forwards continuously
- Arabesque Lunges
- Hip Raises – two-legged and single-leg
- Step Ups
If you frequently twist your ankle – which is particularly likely if your foot supinates, striking the ground with its outside edge – you could strain the muscles and tendons that stabilise the ankle and increase your risk of painful sprains.
Exercises to prevent ankle sprains:
- Focus on squats, single-leg standing calf raises and arabesque lunges
In summary, there’s no better way to prevent injury than working on your strength and mobility. Regularly incorporating the above exercises at least twice a week is ideal, as well as a fortnightly or even monthly massage.
Now hit that pavement!