Running for fitness and recreation is super popular for multiple reasons. I love to feel strong when I run and want to be able to run for years to come. I credit adding a mix of running, strength training, and Pilates with keeping me healthy for running.
Here are 5 of my favorite exercises for running:
1. The rear foot elevated split squat:
This exercise challenges your balance, which gets you working your core. Your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes are challenged unilaterally, which is helpful for your running, which requires you to drive off of one leg with each stride.
2. Stomach Massage Series on the Reformer
Lots of runners have tight hamstrings, calves, and feet. The stomach massage series starts you off in a squishy position with your hips deeply flexed and moves you into a position of legs fully extended. The back line of your body will find some incredible stretches, while the hip flexors and glutes are asked to do a great deal of work to close in the carriage of the reformer. Post run, my sore muscles always feel much better after this series.
3. Tree – on the mat or the short box
Runners know tight hamstrings all too well. There is a lot happening in this exercise, in particular, a great hamstring stretch, while flexing at the one hip and finding length through the back line of your body.
4. Box hops
Box hops are a great plyometric exercise for runners. They help you to build explosive speed and learn how to absorb your landing. This will build up hamstring and glute strength that will help you be a stronger, faster runner.
This exercise is similar in Pilates and a strength workout, building strength in the back, core, hamstrings, and glutes. It can be less evident but there is also a stretch that occurs in the hip flexors, quads, and torso. Once again building the glute and hamstring strength. Stronger back and core muscles will improve your posture, keeping you upright as you fatigue which keeps you running and breathing more efficiently.
If you enjoy running and hope to be able to keep running for years to come, cross-training is key to your success. Strength train, practice Pilates, rest, and keep on running!