Last week, I posted a workout video clip for strengthening a runner's core. This week I have a full-body circuit workout to share with you. It's funny sometimes how timely things can be. The day I taped the workout, I received the newest issue Runner's World and right on the cover it says in big letters, "Totally Fit: 10 Ways to Improve Core Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, and More." So, I guess, I'm on the right track.
Runners have strong conditioned legs as well as strong aerobic fitness, but to help prevent injury as well as to become an overall stronger and more efficient runner, some attention to all the muscles groups is important. The tiny little stabilizer muscles in the upper and lower legs are often overlooked as well as the adductor and abductor (inner/outer thigh) muscles. When a runner stumbles, steps off a curb the wrong way, or hits a pothole in the road, those little muscles and rarely used muscles are slow to react, because much hasn't been required of them in the past. The old say, "Don't use it, you lose it." applies here. That's when injuries often pop up and usually at the most inopportune times.
Runners that don't incorporate other forms of exercise (i.e., cross-training and/or resistance training) often have an imbalance between their hamstrings and quads (quads usually being too dominant) which can lead to pulled hamstrings and even knee issues. Weak anterior tibialis muscles (the little muscle running down the front of the lower leg) can often lead to shin splints. The exercises in my full-body circuit involve several lower body unilateral movements (1-legged exercises). Unilateral exercises require those little stabilizer muscles to kick-in to help keep your balance. There's also some plyometrics to help increase leg power as well as upper-body and core exercises to help you keep a strong running form and fight off fatigue.
The circuit is designed to be used during the base-building phase (that period of time when you're building a solid base of mileage) before you begin your official fall marathon race training. The circuit is intense and should not be used during the training phase when you'll be doing more intense aerobic workouts. Used during the base-building phase, however, the circuit can get you into tip-top muscular and endurance shape prior to your training. Start out by one cycle of the circuit. Over a period of several session, try to work up to three complete cycles of the circuit.
So, give it a try and let me know what you think.