The One Thing You Should Never Neglect in Strength Training as a Runner
As a runner it's incredibly important that you don't neglect strength training - at least one session a week should be scheduled into your training plan. Why? Because when we run regularly we get strong and dominant in a particular set of muscle groups, and usually this comes at the price of opposing muscle groups getting weak and inhibited. Regular strength training means that those muscles that are starting to get lazy from you doing the same activity all the time get a prod to stay switched on, ultimately helping you to be a stronger and more efficient runner.
So if your strength training is pretty minimal, what should you prioritise? Well, when it comes to protecting yourself against injury, studies show again and again that poor hip stability contributes to all sorts of issues including knee injuries, hip injuries and ankle and foot problems. What controls hip stability? Those all important glutes.
But surely I use my glutes when I run, so why should I strengthen them?
When we run, all of our movement is focused to forward and back, forward and back (imagine a slice through the middle of the body) - over time we get really nice and strong in this forward and back (sagittal) plane of movement. Unfortunately, if you're not mixing up your running with some specific strength training, you start to get quite weak in the side to side plane of movement (the frontal plane). What this means is that the muscles that work in that plane of movement start to get weaker e.g. hip abductors. If your hip abductors (glute max, glute medius, glute minimus and TFL) are weak, then your ability to keep your pelvis level in a single leg position is compromised.