Becoming a more efficient and economical runner isn’t all about logging as many miles as possible (though that wouldn’t hurt).
The key to running immortality – or, you know, better endurance – is heavily predicated on shoring up your muscles, activating your core, back, and lower body, all while keeping your form fluid.
To help in these areas, learn and incorporate these three, full-body strengthening moves to your weekly routine for at least three days a week minimum. These can be done before or after your run. You’ll notice a large difference in strength, which extends to performance, sooner than you’d think.
Along with sit-ups and crunches, planks are the gold standard of core exercises.
Not only will your abs be engaged, but the move incorporates your back, quads, and hamstrings, making it the quintessential full-body exercise for running folk.
To plank like a pro, position yourself in the ‘up’ part of a push-up. Ensure your palms are directly under your shoulders, with legs extended behind you, making your body a rigid line from head to toe.
Hold the pose for 10-30 seconds, keeping your abs tight. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Related: Want to Run Faster? Try ChiRunning
Your hips and glutes are two important areas runners regularly need to activate; clamshells can help strengthen both muscles.
Start by lying on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at 45 degrees. Keep your head rested on your arm, and using your top hand, place it on your hip. For proper form, be sure the inside edges of your feet are touching, then lift the top knee as high as possible, keeping your hips & pelvis stable. Hold the position for a moment, then lower the knee.
Do this for 2-3 sets, or 10 reps on each side.
For everything else, there’s side squats.
This exercise targets your outer thighs, hips, and glutes. To perform the move properly, position your feet hip-width apart, with hands on hips. Now, squat. Stand again, but move your left foot a step out. Squat again; now, bring that left foot in as you rise.
Rinse and repeat, alternating feet. Again, 2-3 sets is ideal, or 10-12 reps on each side.