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Strength Training 2.0

Strength Training 2.0 for Trail Runners

by Doug James, Physiotherapist & Podiatrist, intraining Running Centre

Turbo charge your trail running with these excellent conditioning exercises. Following on from the “Strength training for trail runners” article, these next lot of exercises will help to further improve your running technique for all types of running, but trail runners in particular will find these beneficial.

I’d recommend that you only attempt these once you are able to comfortably complete the introductory exercises STRENGTH TRAINING FOR TRAIL RUNNERS. The introductory exercises provide an important base level of strength, which the following exercises can be used to further improve your running conditioning by adding an element of plyometric or explosiveness to your movement. Please note that these exercises may flare up some tendon injuries, so practice caution and cease doing them if your injury flares up.

Strengthening: Glutes

Your gluteal (backside) muscles are important for running stability and play an important role in injury prevention. Several studies have shown links between gluteal muscle weakness and lower limb injuries – particularly ITB syndrome and shin stress injuries. Strong glutes are important for torso stability when running down hill, and help with quick changes of direction when you come across a technical section of a trail.

The following exercise can help to upgrade your glute strength while also helping your balance and ankle stability – all of which are important for trail running. The Ice Skater exercise is similar to the Side Lunges from the earlier exercises but adds an element of explosiveness to help improve your running power, making hills and acceleration easier.

WHAT: Ice Skaters

HOW: Warm up by doing a few side lunges (for a reminder, click here. For the Ice Skater exercise, start in the side lunge position with your right leg out to the side and your knee bent. Perform a few side lunges in each direction then make the movement quicker while taking a small jump when moving side to side. Start with small jumps about 1m apart, performing 10-12 on each leg for 3 sets.

PROGRESSION: As you become confident with landing, try to speed up the exercise, reducing the amount of time your foot is on the ground. This is good practice for running – since prolonged ground contact time can be a predictor of injury. Once you become stronger, try to increase the distance between landing positions.

Strengthening: Core

On technical trails you may find it’s your core and glutes that get more of a workout than your legs. Dynamic side planks are a great way to build strength in your torso, glutes, and shoulders.

WHAT: Dynamic Side Planks

HOW: Start by laying on your side with your legs out straight. Prop yourself up on your forearm (with your elbow under your shoulder) and the side of your foot. From this position, lower your hips sideways towards the floor then raise back up again. Repeat 12 times on each side for 3 sets.

PROGRESSION: To make it more challenging, keep your top leg elevated at least shoulder width apart while moving your hips.

Strengthening: Calf muscles

By incorporating plyometric (explosive movement) exercises into your routine, you can help to increase your calf muscle strength and improve the stiffness (i.e. springiness) of your Achilles tendon.

WHAT: Skipping

HOW: Start by standing tall with your elbows bent at 90°. Drive one knee and the opposite arm upwards and spring off your toes. Upon landing, quickly repeat on the opposite side. Aim to do 20-30 hops on each leg, and perform 2-3 sets. As you become confident with the exercise, introduce some forward movement turning it into skipping movement.

PROGRESSION: If you’re comfortable skipping on flat ground, try skipping up hill. This can really help to accelerate your strength gain, but be careful if you have any calf or achilles niggles.

 

Summary

Building strength in your leg muscles and tendons can help improve your trail running performance. Aim to do these twice a week for 3 weeks of each month, with one rest week to maximise your recovery. There is an increased risk of injury with these higher intensity exercises (so build them up gradually) but the payoff can be worth it!

 

Doug James – Physiotherapist and Podiatrist,  intraining running injury clinic

Doug James Colour 2020

Doug James  – Physiotherapist  & Podiatrist 

Doug James is a qualified physiotherapist and podiatrist with a special interest in running and sports injuries. He combines the two treatment approaches to achieve successful outcomes for clients of all abilities from non-athletes to elite athletes.

Bachelor of Podiatry (honours), Master of Physiotherapy Studies.

Doug has undertaken further training in dry needling, Pilates, and Rocktape and may incorporate these as necessary during treatment.

Doug is also a keen runner having completed the New York Marathon.

Strength Exercises for Trail Running

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Core Strength exercises for runners

Supercharge your running with strength exercises

Use these 3 simple and quick exercise sessions here to become a stronger runner:

Session 1:  Core strength for runners

Session 2:  Strength exercises using your body weight

Session 3:  Tips to use  your ITB Roller.

Each section has a Runtalk Video with Doug James (physiotherapist and podiatrist) and Steve Manning (podiatrist and running footwear specialist) from intraining Running Centre.  

Safety Tips:  

              • Make sure you take the time to work through the stages of progression in each exercise.   
              • Do not attempt the harder exercises before being comfortable with the first ones.  
              • If you are not sure,  come and see us at intraining for the correct technique.  

SESSION 1: Core strength exercises


Exercise 1: Bridges

core bridge itb 1 edit

Position: 

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 

Action:  

Raise your hips off the floor and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. 

Week 1:   3 sets of 6 lifts, 

Week 2:  3 sets of 8 lifts

Week 3:  3 sets of 10 lifts.

Progression: 

Bridge with foam roller under your feet.

Repeat the set sequence.

Advanced:  

Slowly roll the foam roller away from you with your feet. 

Keep your hips in the air for 10 seconds and aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


Exercise 2: Table Tops

core Itb table top 2 edit

Position:  

Lay on your back with your feet on the floor.

Action:  

Raise your knees up until your thigh is 90° to your hip and your knees are bent 90°. 

Hold this position for 10 seconds then lower your feet to the floor.

Week 1:  Repeat for 6

Week 2:  Repeat for 8

Week 3:  Repeat for 10

Progression:  

For a slightly harder challenge alternate raising and lowering each leg during each repetition.

Advanced

Table Top on full length foam roller. (see image) 

Action:

Lay with your back and head on the foam roller. 

Keep your hands on the floor, lift your legs up to the tabletop position as above. 

Your goal…  to maintain your balance while reducing the amount of contact you have with the ground.

Progression:  

Move from hands to fingertips, to one finger only on the ground. 

If you’re well balanced try not to touch the ground at all. 

Try to balance on the roller for 3 sets of 30 seconds (it still counts even if you fall off).

Exercise 3 – Prone Planks.

core plank itb 3 edit

Position:  

Face the floor with your elbows under your shoulders and resting either on your knees or toes. Your body should make a straight line from your shoulders to knees or ankles.

Action:  

Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Progression: 

Plank with foam roller under the mid part of your forearms.  

Advanced:  

Try to hold a plank position while moving your arms slowly and smoothly backwards and forwards on the foam roller.

Ultimate Challenge: 

Try this while balancing on one arm only!!

 

PROGRAM TIPS:

        • Start with fewer reps
        • Move-in a small range of movement to start
        • Progress the exercises as you feel able by increasing the number of repetitions, difficulty and/or hold time.
        • Stop if you feel sore
        • Need extra help?

If you would like to progress with more challenging exercises or feel that you can not manage the exercises without discomfort or difficulty book in to our team at intraining Running Injury Clinic.  We are runners who specialise in running injuries and biomechanics.

HEAR more from Doug in Runtalk #29 – How to use our ITB Roller for core strength exercises.

SESSION 2: Exercises using your body weight​

Exercise 1:  Squats

Position:  

Begin with your feet hip-width apart and angled slightly outwards.

Ex 1 squats edit square scaled

Action:  

Slowly lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. 

Focus on keeping most of your weight on your heels. 

Return to your starting position. 

Repeat 12 times for 3 sets. 

Progression: 

Single leg squats

Position:

Stand with a stable chair positioned just behind you. 

Lift one foot off the ground in front of you and slowly lower your backside down towards the chair. 

Return to starting position just before you make contact with the chair. 

Keep your knee steady during this exercise (minimise any sideways movement).

Repeat 12 times for 3 sets. 

 

Exercise 2:  Double Leg Calf Raises

Position:  

Stand with your feet at hip-width apart.

ActionEx 2 progression single leg calf raise portrait 2 scaled

Slowly raise onto tiptoes. 

Take two seconds to raise, and two to lower.   

Repeat:  2 sets 10

Progression: 

Single leg calf raises

As per the double leg version, perform this on single let only, using the wall or a table to help with balance. 

Keep an even rhythm throughout the exercise

Tip:  If you’re unable to complete 12 in a row on one leg, continue the rest of the exercise on two legs.

Exercise 3:  Lunges

Care

Be careful with this exercise if you are prone to patella (knee cap) pain.

Position

Stand with your hands on your hips.

Ex 3 lunge edit squareAction

Take a long step forward and bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground.

Keep your front shin vertical and your front knee over your ankle instead of your toes.

Check your knee is pointing forwards rather than inwards.

Step forward with the other leg

Repeat 10 times on each leg. Aim for 3 sets.

Progression: Split squat jump

Alternate jumping and switching your lead leg.

Focus on glute contraction to maintain stable hips at landing.  

You need strong glutes and core for this one!!

Week 1:   2 set of 6 jumps

Week 2:  3 sets of 6 jumps

Week 3:  2 sets 8 jumps

Week 4:  3 sets 10 jumps

SESSION 3: How to use your ITB roller for recovery

Your ITB Roller is a very handy accessory to have at home. 

It helps with:

      • Massaging your legs between runs
      •  A tool to help manage ITB niggles and injuries
      • Strength exercises (as seen in session 1)

Using your ITB roller can be uncomfortable at first, but once you do this a few times, your body adapts.

Position:

Lie your thigh across the roller.

Rest your feet on the ground

Balance with your arms

Action:  

Roll your thigh across the roller using your arms to move.

For more pressure on your thigh, lift you feet off the ground.  

Roll for 5 – 10 mins , 3 – 5 times a week. 

WATCH how Doug James, physiotherapist and podiatrist, uses the ITB Roller for ITB, quad and calf massage.    

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October Training Tips

Training tips to help your running 

Weekly training tips and strategies you can use to improve your running, stay motivated and use as form focus.

If you have a topic you’d like us to cover or a question about training click HERE

Happy Running,

Steve and Margot Manning

Recovery from racing in the heat

RUN TIPS 28

Last weekend was an extremely hot weekend for racing, particularly if you competed in the marathon or half marathon. 

Your thermoregulatory, cardiovascular and endocrine systems will have been pushed hard causing some temporary changes.  So, be proactive in how you rehydrate and recover.  There are certain symptoms from the weekend such as dull headache, elevated heart rate, changes to your blood pressure, lasting fatigue, restlessness, body temperature not quite back to normal (feeling cooler than expected) and loss of appetite. 

To help your recovery:

  • Continue to drink electrolytes for a few extra days
  • Go to bed early
  • Keep your training light
  • Carry more snacks if you have lost your appetite

If the symptoms continue, refrain from training hard until you feel better, talk with your coaches and, if you are not feeling well, seek medical advice. 

It should not take you long to recover and be feeling fresh to train again.   Take care of this and enjoy the company of your running mates at training rather than training for improvement. 

4 Trail Running Tips to get started

RUN TIPS 27 1

You could say October is the start of our intraining’s trail season. Each year we start with the South East Queensland Trail Series, the first event to be held in our backyard (Enoggera) on Sunday the 10th, make sure you wear your club colours and make your way to the intraining tent. This will be the start for many, in their trail running journey, good on you for stepping outside your comfort zone, I can guarantee you will either love the trails or hate them.

If this is your first trail or your first for the season, I have four tips for you:

Tip #1. Lift your feet higher than road running

Tip #2. Scan the ground constantly up, down and 2 metres in front

Tip #3. Leave 2 metres between you and the runner in front so you can see the obstacles in front of you (this can be hard to do in a mass start so take the start easy)

Tip #4. Smile and cheer on your fellow runners, this is one of the best environments to display kindness.

Weekend running with intraining:  OCTOBER

Brisbane Road Runners Club 3 Person x 4.5k Relay

  • Location – West End
  • Time:  6am
  • click here for more weekend run and major race updates.

Stay on the road this season.

  • Check-in with your coaches
  • Stay connected to your running buddies
  • Get your niggles checked early with our podiatry and physiotherapy team
  • Rotate your running shoes

We’re all here to help you love your running.

Core Strength and other exercises for runners

Supercharge your running with 3 essential strength sessions




There are 3 essential  exercise sessions every runner should use to become stronger and faster. 

They’re simple, you can do them at home and they don’t take too long. 

Session 1:  Core strength for runners

Session 2:  Strength exercises using your body weight

Session 3:  Massage and recovery using your ITB Roller.

 

Set yourself a home exercise plan with our FREE Exercise plan for runners developed by intraining’s physiotherapist, Doug James.   

SESSION 1: Core strength exercises

Why you need a strong core.

Building your core strength is a worthwhile investment in your running. Having a strong core enables you to run with a better technique which may reduce your likelihood of injury, and can also help you to run further and faster! In a recent study, amateur runners performed a few core strength exercises 5 days per week. After 6 weeks, the runners recorded an average improvement of 1 minute in their 5km race time!

Use your core for better form.

Utilising your core muscles when running is an automatic process that becomes more effective as the muscles become stronger and fatigue resistant. You should find that you can maintain good running form (upright torso, and reduced hip drop) more easily and for longer after doing targeted core strength exercises for a few weeks. In order to ‘engage’ your core, focus on trying to ‘run tall’. This cue will coordinate the core muscles to improve your running posture and allow you to generate greater propulsion with less wasted energy. It’s important to note that to tense your stomach or core while running is counterproductive and can negatively affect your breathing.

Easy home exercises.

Training your core muscles can be done easily at home with minimal to no equipment. In order to gain a reasonable benefit, you should aim to do a workout at least 3 times per week. Begin with easy exercises – they should feel challenging but not painful. Progress the exercises as you feel able by increasing the number of repetitions, difficulty and/or hold time.  

 

Need extra help?

If you would like to progress with more challenging exercises, feel that you can not manage the exercises without discomfort or difficulty or want to make sure you have the right technique,  BOOK into to see podiatry and physiotherapy team at intraining Running Centre  We are runners who specialise in running injuries and biomechanics.

 

SESSION 2: Exercises using your body weight​

Exercises using your body weight focuses the strength training on more dynamic movements more closely resembling the movements you use when running. 

The added value of body weight exercises is they can allow you to target the muscles either side of joints and major muscle attachment sites.  The benefit of this is the increased loading strength you gain from a number of muscles and tendons working to move and stabilise the body.  This is particularly useful when a particular muscle or tendon has been injured and you are needing to take the load from that one while at the same time regaining it’s strength.  

Care does need to be taken with some of these exercises , such as with lunges, as they can over load joints, like the knee if not done in a controlled and progressive manner.

SESSION 3: How to use your ITB roller for recovery

Exercises using your body weight focuses the strength training on more dynamic movements more closely resembling the movements you use when running. 

The added value of body weight exercises is they can allow you to target the muscles either side of joints and major muscle attachment sites.  The benefit of this is the increased loading strength you gain from a number of muscles and tendons working to move and stabilise the body.  This is particularly useful when a particular muscle or tendon has been injured and you are needing to take the load from that one while at the same time regaining its strength.  

Care does need to be taken with some of these exercises, such as with lunges, as they can overload joints, like the knee if not done in a controlled and progressive manner.

 

intraining... Your one stop running shop

best running shoes

Shop In Store

Come in to the Toowong store and check out our huge range
best running shoes

Shop Online

We stock a large range of running shoes, apparel and accessories
about us

Podiatry & Physio

We make orthotics for runners and sports people
running specialty store

Running Groups

Join one of our friendly running groups