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iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

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Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race
 

April 2013

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spring-tune-up.jpg

Spring tune-up

Be a stronger runner by incorporating 4 core exercises into your training. All you need is your own bodyweight.

Photos by Mark Burnham Photography

 

When it comes to hitting the road faster this spring, you’ve got to do more than simply log the miles. Weaknesses in your core muscles can result in a sloppy running stride and set you up for a higher risk for injury. But if you supplement your running with smart, targeted exercises, you’ll see more stability, increased strength and faster running times.

Whether you’re running on asphalt or semi-groomed trails, your running performance will be influenced by several factors including your fitness level, footwear-type, energy stores and running efficiency. Compare running to driving a sports car. A crooked axel will place irregular stresses to the frame and body of your car, resulting in odd wear-patterns and potentially some mechanical issues. Your body is no different. Running with muscle weakness turns your body into an inefficient sports car. For example, a recent study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reported hip muscle weakness could result in biomechanical issues at the knees. Now picture this knee issue occurring over and over again with all the miles you put in every week - this is a recipe for disaster! Therefore, correcting your inefficiencies and tuning up your body, just like a sports car, will maximize your potential for running fast and injury free.

You need to get stronger in all the right places, particularly your core and hips. As a runner, you want to think of your core muscles more as stabilizers rather than movers. Picture the difference between a plank and a crunch. The plank teaches stability and develops endurance, while the crunch teaches flexion and rounding over (which you want to avoid).. Smart targeted exercise selection will make you more effective and help you reach your strength goals sooner. You don’t need any costly abdominal training equipment as seen on late-night infomercials, just some floor space, your own bodyweight and some running-specific tweaks.

 

SPRING TUNE-UP EXERCISES

1 Push-up with knee drive

Muscles worked: Abdominals, chest, triceps and hip flexors

Reason: To increase core stability and upper body strength

HOW TO: Start in the top of a push-up with your hands placed on the ground shoulder width apart. Tighten your abdominals to prevent your back from sagging. With a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, lower your body into the bottom of a push-up. Press away while simultaneously bringing one knee toward your chest. Return your leg straight and repeat on the opposite leg. That is one rep. Do not flex your spine as you bring your knees in and out. See how many reps you can do in 30-seconds. Do 2-3 sets twice a week.

 

2 Glute bridge with leg whip

Muscles worked: Gluteals, hamstrings, and abdominals

Reason: Increase hip extension strength and core stability

HOW TO: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abs and lift your hips upward. Lift your hips high enough to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your butt to maintain position. Lift one leg up in the air without moving your hips. Slowly lower the leg out to the side. Drive your opposite foot hard into the ground to maintain your bridge position. Keep yor abs tight and remember to breathe. Return your lifted leg to the mid-line, place it down and repeat on the opposite leg. See how many reps you can do in 60-seconds. Do 2-3 sets twice a week.

 

3 McGill curl up

Muscles worked: Abdominals
Reason: Strengthen the rectus abdominis

HOW TO: Named after noted Canadian spine biomechanist, Dr. Stuart McGill, this version of the crunch places the least amount of load to your spine. Lie on your back with one leg straight and one knee bent with your foot flat on the floor. Place your hands beneath your low back. Tighten your abs and keep a neutral spine. Tuck your chin slightly and just raise your shoulders and head off the ground a couple inches. Do not poke your head forward or round your shoulders or low back. Hold this position for 6-seconds. Perform 10-reps for 2-3 sets, twice a week.

Dr. Stuart McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo and is considered an expert in the field of low back pain and core strengthening.

 

4 Reverse lunge with added range of motion to knee drive

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexors, and abdominals

Reason: Increase single leg squat strength, single leg balance and core stability

HOW TO: Stand on a stable block or bench roughly 6” high. Take one step backward and lower yourself into the bottom of a lunge. Your rear knee should approach the ground while your front knee remains straight above the block. Push downward with your front leg to return to standing. As you stand back on the block, lift the leg you stepped back with upward, bringing your knee to your chest. Stay tall and don’t round over. Stabilize your body on your stance leg. Bring your leg down and continue into the next lunge. That is one rep. See how many reps you can do in 60-seconds. Do 2-3 sets twice a week.

 

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, CSCS, CEP is a strength coach and freelance fitness writer based in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon is a retired distance runner and a Mizuno Brand Ambassador, who has a passion for strength training runners. Check out more of his work at jkconditioning.com and www.StrongerRunner.com.

 
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