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Is a Weak Core Slowing You Down? How to Strengthen Your Core for Faster Marathon Times

It's peak speed work time....

and you are FLYING!

But have you ever run so fast that you start to feel slightly out of control?

It's mildly unnerving.

and I accidently did exactly that.

I was sprinting around the track and I felt it go.

and then I felt a strain.

*and adult words were said in my head.*

That was when I (unknowingly) learned a valuable lesson:

Your core strength DIRECTLY influences just how fast you can actually run.

What I had felt: my core give out.

I couldn't control or handle the speed I had created.

The result?

An injury: an adductor (groin) strain.


Don't let a weak core slow you down and result in an injury because...

There's nothing worse than weeks, months of preparation and hard work, feeling great at first, then succumbing to an unexpected, anxiety-inducing injury, leaving you questioning, "am I even going to make it the start line?"

You want to feel on-top-of-the-world, capable, and strong for your next marathon.

So let's strengthen your core for your fastest marathon times yet!

TOP Core Exercises for Faster Marathon Times


3 sets each // Medium-heavy weight + body weight

1/2 kneeling lift/chops

  • x8 ea side with medium-heavy weight

Up-Down Plank

  • x20 (up = 1, down = 2, up = 3...etc)

Sprinter Plank

  • 8-10 Reps ea side

Running Your Strongest, Fastest Marathon

1/2 kneeling lift/chop

Immediately, can you see how this looks like running on your knees?

  • THE TRICK: you have to move the weight FAST!

  • This exercise is meant to replicate the fast, powerful arm swing and drive you develop as you increase pace or even kick at the end of a race. And by doing this one on your knees, you take your feet out of the equation, forcing your GLUTE and CORE to communicate and help keep you upright.

  • THE MAGIC of this exercise: if you choose a heavy enough weight, you will feel the struggle of not only lifting the weight towards your ear, but you'll battle the momentum of that weight. THIS is what it means to EARN the right to run fast. You have to be able not only to create speed (run fast), but you need to be able to control your deceleration to avoid injury. And your core plays a huge part.

Up-Down Plank

I realize this exercise isn't ground breaking, but you NEED it ANYWAY!

  • STORY TIME: my repeat injury is a right groin strain. I can do all the adductor (inner thigh) work in the world, and this injury will still come back once I try to run speedy times.

  • THE SOLUTION: this plank. While you do this, I want you to pay attention to when you're PUSHING up. What do you feel? (besides your arm about to fall off.) For me: when I push up with my LEFT arm, I can feel my right lower core and right adductor muscles working HARD to stabilize my body.

  • THIS across-body, L arm push talking to R core/groin is EXACTLY the same movement pattern and muscle coordination/talking that occurs with every stride you take. This plank can be your secret weapon to running faster times (and not getting injured).

Sprinter Plank

Yup, you've seen this one before. So have you tried it yet???

  • THE REASON: there's always a method behind my madness. I like to repeat the exercises that give YOU the most impact/strength in the least amount of time (but that doesn't mean they're easy!)

  • We've talked previously how this plank hones in on anti-rotation core strength, meaning, it helps your core stay strong during the natural rotation that happens through your torso with every stride and especially, during faster paces.

  • When you build a more fatigue resistant-core that can handle speed, you EARN the right to RUN FAST. Until then, you're flirting with injury.

  • pssst! can you see how this exercise looks like running into the ground? More reasons to train like a runner with strength exercises that look like running.


Core work for your fastest and injury-free marathon doesn't have to be complicated.

It needs to be specific.


And your needs as a runner!

I know I've experienced the anxiety of an injury and worried about the set backs: the time I'll lose on my pace, the progress I've made on my base, etc.

The tools I needed are the core exercises above. So I want you to have those in your back pocket to try out.

Build a strong core.

Make it injury proof.

Earn the right to run fast.

And watch your marathon (or any race) times drop.

I'll be cheering for you!

If you want MORE strength and core exercises made for runners to help you run stronger, better, and injury free, try out my FREE 14-day Strength Challenge for Runners: 2 weeks of strength workouts done entirely for you!

Dare to Train Differently,

Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //

P.S. Really, really.

A FRE 2 week program of running-specific strength workouts...just waiting for you ;) Take the 14 Day Stronger Runner Challenge!

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