Fitness and Performance
Cross And Strength Training: Completing Your Marathon Mix
Reduce the risk of injury, improve your stamina and increase your speed during your training
Running is great for you and your body, but it can become quite repetitive when done regularly. Adding cross and strength training into the mix helps break things up and keeps you engaged. It enables you to work your muscles, joints and tendons in different ways to help improve your strength.
Cross-training refers to any activity that isn’t running. From swimming or cycling to a fitness class or yoga. If you enjoy weight training, this will come in handy as part of your marathon preparation. You should be integrating cross and/or strength training at least one-two times per week, even if they are only 15-minute exercises. It is important to recognise that while you need to work your leg muscles, you also need to build your core and upper body strength. This will help you with your posture and spread the load, especially when you’re running for longer.
Mobility exercises are also key. They help prevent the build-up of joint stiffness. If you’re achy and fatigued it may be worth having a rest day. It’ll do you the world of good to go for a walk, stretch and have a good night’s sleep.
Check out some of the most common exercises Rebecca would recommend…
Single leg dead lift
Stand on one leg, with a tall posture. Contract your tummy and bum muscles and keep the knee slightly bent. With a straight back, lean forward as far as you are able without losing control, then come back up to the straight standing posture.
Repeat 3 x 8-12 reps per leg
Single leg squat
Stand on one leg, with a tall posture. Contract your tummy and bum muscles. Slowly bend the knee whilst pushing your bum back, trying to keep the knee in line with your foot.
Repeat 3 x 8-12 reps per leg
Single leg heel raises
Stand on 1 leg on a step, tall/straight posture. Let the heel drop past the step, then raise the heel as high as you’re able. Slowly lower down.
Repeat, 3 x to fatigue.
Start in a position where both legs are at 90 degrees (hips 90, knees 90). If your bum or leg aren’t touching the ground, put a towel under both or either. Start by leaning forward over the front leg, then sit up tall, then rotate around as far as comfortable whilst leaning back. All should feel stretchy and you should feel like your muscle has to work hard. It shouldn’t be painful or pinching. If this happens it may indicate a hip issue, where you should come and see us.
Repeat x 5 per side
Lunges with arm raises
Stand with a tall straight posture. Contract your tummy and bum muscles. Take a step forward and lower the back knee towards the ground. There should be a roughly straight line between your chest and the back knee. As you do this raise your arms above your head. Once this is done, raise yourself back up and step back to the start position.
Repeat 3 x 8-12 per side