Running is a repetitive exercise with no added resistance. Runners build muscular endurance as opposed to strength. Running also increases bone density as the impact of running builds calcium in the bones of the feet, legs, and even the spine. On the flip side, overtraining and lack of calories in your diet, compounded with strenuous running, can lead to injury or even bone loss.
Here are five tips to keep you healthy, strong, and without injury while running.
Monitor Your Caloric Intake + Calcium Rich Foods
On average (depending on bodyweight) a runner will burn 100 calories per mile. Meaning if you want to burn 500 calories, your target distance should be around five miles. To have a successful and strong run, your focus shouldn’t always be on a deficit of calories, which would cause nausea, fatigue, and potential injury on a longer run. Calcium-rich foods help the muscle contraction process during running preventing muscle spasms or cramping post run.
Glutes + Hamstring Prep
Running involves the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs, and calves to name a few. The first muscle groups to experience fatigue on any long run are your glutes and hamstrings. To stay strong, here is a banded glute and hamstring pre-run exercise:
- Position mini band above the knees
- Place feet slightly wider than the hips (just a tad)
- Sit butt back like you were sitting down in a chair and keep your chest lifted and abs engaged
- Push out on the band the entire time and never let knees cave.
- Squeeze glutes to stand
- Repeat 20 times
Shoes Do Matter
All running shoes were not created equal, as no two feet are the same. Supination (weight rolls to the outer edges of feet) or Pronation (weight rolls to the inner edges of feet) can cause pain in hips, feet, knees, and alignment of the spine. Runners find shoes and or inserts that will help to correct your supination or pronation for the longevity of your run without pain.
Cross Training and Strength Conditioning
When recording setting turns up in conversation, runners often overlook supplementing running with strength training exercises, to achieve results. Not only will it help prevent injury, but it will also make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner. Exercises that help to strengthen quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs, and calves include the Squat, Deadlift, Lunge, Push-up, and Plank.
As mentioned, the act of running is a repetitive exercise that will tighten the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves. Excessive muscle tightness or strain leads to potential injury. Don’t forget to stretch post-run to prevent injury.