Exercises for Marathon Runners

Are you currently in training for a big run?  Perhaps it’s your first time running a marathon and you’re not sure on how to support your running training with additional exercises.  If so, this is the article for you…keep reading!

Whilst the main focus for those training for a marathon is running, there are other key areas not to be overlooked including Core Strength Training, Strength Training, Stretching, Self-Myofascial Release and Nutrition.  This articles deals with the first area on this list of exercises for marathon runners….Core Strength Training.

A strong core is important for everyone, but especially important for distance runners. It is well documented that a strong core helps to maintain good posture, which in turn helps to prevent injury.

Long distance runners are more susceptible to injury when the body starts to fatigue, and good form is compromised. Good core stability can help improve your running posture, stability and speed.

Here are some Tuffit programmes to improve core strength for runners. These exercises can be included into your weekly strength training programme.

Absolute Abs

Quick Core

The Twister

The Waist Trainer

Additional Exercises for Marathon Runners

Excuse my informal snaps, but I’d rather you had the all important pictures showing best technique, even if my pets seem to want to get in on the action!  Make sure to read the instructions carefully before you begin.

Aim for 30 secs on each exercise (unless other instruction is given) rest as long as required between exercises. One set may be enough to get you started. As your strength improves gradually increase the time to 60 sec per exercise and increase the number of sets to 2 or 3.

The Plank (Bodyweight)

This exercise helps to strengthen the core including those deep inner core muscles (transverse abdominis) and improves posture. This exercise also benefits other muscles which include the erector spinae (spine), rhomboids and trapezius (muscles in the back) which all contribute to good postural alignment.

Exercise Instruction

  • Tuck your elbows underneath you, directly below your shoulder joint, palms flat to the floor.
  • Legs fully lengthened with feet hip distance apart.
  • Engage your core, contract the glute and leg muscles, and lift your whole body off the floor.
  • Breathe naturally.
  • Hold the position with good alignment, do not compromise on form. When the core muscles begin to fatigue the hips will fall out of alignment, ensure you rest before this happens.

The Plank (Tuffit)

This exercise is an advanced movement and should only be exercised when you have completed the bodyweight plank with good form and can hold for over 60 seconds.

By using the Tuffit resistance bands as shown, you will further challenge your core to work harder.

Follow the exercise instructions as above only instead of resting on forearms the arms are extended as shown.

Exercise Instructions

  • Attach the yellow bands to the bottom rail.
  • Lightly rest your feet on the bottom rail as shown.
  • Position yourself in plank position, arms extended.
  • Take hold of the handle and under control lift to shoulder level, hold for a few seconds then slowly lower, repeat on the opposite arm.
  • Focus on keeping the hips level, avoid shifting the weight side to side.

This exercise is very tough!

The Side Plank (bodyweight)

This exercise helps to strengthen the core including those deep inner core muscles (transverse abdominis) with an emphasis on the oblique muscles (waist muscles) and improves posture. This exercise also benefits other muscles which include the erector spinae (spine), rhomboids and trapezius (muscles in the back) which all contribute to good postural alignment.

Exercise Instruction

  • Lie on your side with your legs fully extended with your feet stacked on top of one another. If you struggle with the stability you can split the legs as shown.
  • Position the underside elbow directly below your shoulder joint resting your weight on your forearm. Contract your core muscles and lift your hips off the floor forming a straight line from the ankle to the shoulder.
  • Squeeze through the glute and leg muscles to stabilise the position.
  • Keep your neck in line with your spine.
  • Hold the position with good form for as long as you can without allowing the hips to drop. Record the time you held the position for and repeat for the same time on the opposite side.
  • Breathe naturally throughout this exercise.

The Side Plank (Tuffit)

This is an advanced version of the side plank and should only be exercised when you can complete the version above with good form and the position held for over 60 seconds.

Exercise Instruction

  • Attach the yellow band to the lower rail of the Tuffit.
  • Position your stacked feet lightly against the Tuffit.
  • Take hold of the band and lift your hips off the floor in to side plank position.
  • Once the position is stabilised, extend the outside arm whilst holding the resistance band. By adding the resistance to this exercise it will further challenge the core muscles.
  • Hold for as long as possible without compromising good form. Repeat on the opposite side.

The Hollow Rock

This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, deep core muscles and the obliques (waist muscles). It also significantly contributes to improving posture and helps to maintain a healthy back.

Exercise Instruction

  • Lie on your back with your arms fully extended above your head (biceps in line with your ears) and fingers pointed.
  • Extend your legs ankles together and toes pointed.
  • Engage your core and tuck your pelvis under – the lower back should be in contact with the floor.
  • The hollow position – Keep the tension in the core and lift your feet and upper back off the floor together. Keep the tension in the legs and the arms also.
  • Rock back and forth maintaining the hollow position.
  • Keep the neck in line with the spine avoiding tension in this area.

This exercise is quite demanding, if you are new to this exercise practice just the HOLD position before progressing on to the rocking movement.

The Superman

This exercise helps to improve posture, strengthen the core and the back muscles – erector spinae, the muscles which extend from the base of the skull to the sacrum -bottom of spine. Other muscles groups are also worked whilst performing this exercise and include the glutes and the hamstrings.

Exercise Instruction

  • Lie on your front
  • Extend your arms out in front of you (biceps in line with your ears and palms facing the ground).
  • Extend your legs, keeping your heels together and toes pointed.
  • Contract the glutes, hamstrings and lower back then simultaneously with control lift your arms, legs and chest off the floor.
  • Avoid tilting the head backwards, keep the neck in line with your spine.
  • Breathing pattern – exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds then lower under control, rest a few seconds and repeat.

You should always consult your GP before starting a new exercise regime.  The above information should not replace advice from a medical professional.

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