One of the most common problems distance runners come upon is knee pain. This occurs often because of an increase in miles faster than your body is ready for it. The other reason is your hips and knees just aren’t strong enough to take the pounding, literally.
Based on what I have learned in school and the research I have done throughout I have developed a quick circuit that you can supplement your runs with to avoid injury!
Rationale for each:
- Squats and Lunges: increase quad strength and improve patellar tracking to reduce Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
- Fire Hydrants: strengthens hip external rotators to align the hip and therefore the knee better; be sure you hip is the only part of you that is moving, the rest of your body should be stable throughout
- Standing Leg Lifts: this one is a double wammy, the leg you are standing on gets strengthened as well as the one you are lifting (use resistance bands if you have them available and hold a chair or desk for balance if needed). This strengthens your hip abductors helping maintain hip and pelvis alignment preventing knee, hip and back pain.
- Plank, Crunches and Push Ups: these all strengthen your core, which will be super important in the late miles of a marathon, you can pull everything you need from your core if its strong (I live and die by my core strength); be sure not to be lazy on the planks (your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and back should all be working during this exercise; don’t let your back drop down because it increases pressure and can cause back pain)
I plan on doing this on my two easy days of running during the week. This isn’t a circuit meant to make you “big” or define any muscles, rather to protect your joints to withstand the pressures you are demanding out of it. You can add weights if you feel it necessary, but it is most important to focus on form and make sure you are getting good quality work outs in.
Any questions are welcome, I in fact love it (helps me review for my comp exams)!