At CHP, we often see distance runners for a variety of injuries including knee pain, plantarfascitis, and hip and lower back pain.
In addition to seeing runners as physical therapy patients, we help many runners improve their performance.
There are many things that can be done to help a runner both recover from an injury and positively improve their performance. However, one of the most overlooked pieces is a well-designed strength training program.
Many runners understand the importance of strength training, yet, may be performing strength training programs that are not designed for runners.
These programs commonly contain variations of double leg squats and deadlifts. These exercises are great in the right context, however, provide little carryover to what is required to be an effective runner.
When running, there is never a time when both feet are touching the ground simultaneously. The arms and legs are constantly moving in opposite and alternating directions as the body transitions from one foot to the other.
Therefore, double leg movements have little carryover to running itself.
For these reasons we advise that runners perform exercises that promote single leg control and strength. These exercises include, but are not limited to: lunges, single leg squats, split squats, and single leg RDLs (Romanian deadlifts). Simply adding one of these activities into each of your strength training sessions can have a large impact. Take a look at the videos below for examples of these activities.
A thoughtful and scientific approach to strength training, specifically designed for runners may be all that is needed to help you drastically improve your running performance. It may not even require you to train any harder, just smarter!