Do you ever run by a store window and wince a little?
"oooh! I'm looking a little slouchy today!"
"what's up with those shoulders? Bring those back!"
"I thought my stride was looking better…"
I know I've been surprised.
But you make the necessary corrections…and run on.
But that's not the end of the story. (duh).
Once you get home and start your post-run strength or mobility routine (right?) you ask yourself WHY.
WHY did my running form o look a little off today?
Am I tired?
Do I need a little extra recovery?
Is there something missing from my strength routine?
Do I need to foam roll more?
(just a hint. It's not that last one…)
Or at least I hope you reflect on your run and ask yourself WHY?
Because when you do, you come up with questions.
Note: I didn't say answers.
You come up with questions.
And you search for the answers…and that's why you're here. Because you're looking for a new way, a fresh and different way to improve your running form.
And you found it.
You're also smart enough to know, that truly correcting your running form is a process.
It's a process of remembering:
how a certain footstrike should feel
that sometimes the best and truest running form changes occur over time and with consistency.
And that's the category these 3 circuits fall into.
But I promise you, if you build these into your regular routine, you will see and feel a difference in your running form.
You will feel stronger.
Your hips won't feel as tight.
You will increase your power.
You will increase your speed.
But like all good things, especially true in running, it takes consistency, time, and hard work.
But you're a runner; so you got this!
So let's dive in.
Circuit 1: Strength // Strong like a Runner
A couple basics here:
Because running involves spending the majority of our time on one leg, it's crucial that we train our legs and train leg strength also on one leg. That's where this lunge position comes from.
It looks like long running stride and places 90% of your body weight on the forward leg.
Runners also require a LOT of endurance from their upper back and shoulder muscles. This, in addition to your core, is what keeps you running tall. (Check out my core blog here on how to train your core like a runner.)
Combining single leg and shoulder strength exercises is a time saver but also trains your body how to stay strong while living in the running position.
2-3 rounds, 12x ea side
Runner's lunge position: mid rows / low rows
Runner's lunge position: back flys
Runner's lunge position: single arm overhead press
Circuit 2: Mobility // Recover like a Runner
A couple basics here:
Raise your hand if your hips ever feel tight. Is your hand raised? I bet it is! One reason our hips get so tight so quickly is we're constantly asking the powerhouse-foundation of our lower body, our hips and glutes, to constantly go to work. Go up hills; go long distances; leap over puddles.
Because our hips are holding us upright, powering us forward, and constantly adapting to standing on 1 leg at time, they get tight! That's why it's so important to respect our hips and take care of them. This mobility routine is one way to do that.
Shin boxes, 8x each side
Crawl sequence, x5 each position
Table top to/from child's pose, x8, holding the stretch to your preference
Circuit 3: Movement // Move like a Runner
A couple basics:
I know this looks DIFFERENT and maybe even sounds and looks weird. But DON'T skip this step! Because honestly, most runners do. But this circuit can give you an edge that a ton of other runners just don't have.
Why? Because we run, yes, but how often do we train our running movement? How often do we explore running or running type movement in different ways? As adults either working or in school-it's not often!
Why does this matter?
Because our bodies are made for 4D movement and running is fairly 2D.
Our bodies thrive on spontaneity, moving in varying directions at different speeds with different tasks! It thrives on pure instinct and reaction: this is how we were made to survive!
Running is ….going forward. Forever. Maybe sideways occasionally to side step a puddle. So we need to supplement that running movement so our bodies can continue to adapt and overcome and stay fresh and healthy. And this circuit is one way to do that.
2 rounds; 5-8x each side
Crawl to 1/2 kneeling with runner arms
1/2 kneel to runner's stance on tip toe
Wide runner's lunge to runner's stance with jump
So, what do you think?
Can you see how each of these work on a part of your runner form, building on basics and perfecting them to allow your body to move as efficiently as possible?
Can you also see in last circuit, the Movement Circuit, how each of those exercises progressed or flowed into the next?
They build up to look like a sprinter…and they take a lot of effort too!
Did you try them?
Go ahead, I'll wait.
They're a workout by themselves.
Because that Movement Circuit specifically challenges you in the end ranges of running-from where you're most stable to where you're least stable and where you might feel you're going to tip!
That's ok! Let these be challenging!
Put that Strength Circuit 2x into your weekly routine.
That Mobility Circuit, perform after every run.
And that Movement Circuit, do that 1-2x a week.
Do all of these for 2-3 weeks.
We've come full circle because…
yes, all of this takes time, consistency, and hard work.
But like I said before: you're a runner and you thrive with a goal to chase and savor the chance to smash a challenge.
So take this one and commit below in the comments! I'll keep you accountable!
Till next time,
Marie Whitt, PT, DPTemail@example.com
P.S. Looking for more? I got you! Check out my FREE running guide that dives even more into these topics of what mobility, strength, and movement look like for runners.