As if you needed 1 more reason to do your core work, right?
But do you do it?
I mean really do it.
Not just stare at the workout on your phone or hang out on a foam roller exhausted from your run.
Just me? Well then…this is awkward.
All jokes aside, a strong core does more than just hold you upright, prevent low back pain, make you a stronger runner, etc. Those are ALL valid reasons to do core work. But let me explain ANOTHER advantage of doing a core workout regularly.
The Core Basics
We all know having a strong core means having a strong foundation for any activity or sport. But I think as runners we fail to understand just how specifically core work benefits us.
Running by nature is an endurance sport, whether it's a short distance like a 100m or a marathon, you must first be able to complete said distance, yes?
Then, add in the element of speed. You must be able to complete a specific distance at a specific speed, regardless of that speed changing.
How do you accomplish this? Through a strong core that is built for endurance to last out over any speed or distance. Our power as runners comes from our core and hips working together to generate power to propel us over that distance. I realize this can start to sound like I'm over explaining…so let's flip this scenario.
What happens with a weak core? Well, something else, another part of your body, has to hold you upright! That was your core's job, until it reached a point where it tapped out. But your body doesn't just stop-you don't just fall over like a marshmallow. Another team member, another part of your body, picks up that slack to hold you upright. Mainly your hips, or your low back, or… You start to get the picture. Compensations start to happen.
But why jump right away to hips? Mostly because the hips are designed to help hold you upright. Quick fast and furious anatomy lesson: your pelvis was designed as a bowl and your femurs plug into that bowl creating what we call the hip joint. Those hip joints begin to "stiffen up" in response to poor core use and the demands of you asking your body to continue running.
Relating this back to mobility, when your core works correctly, those hips are able to move smoothly, freely and generate the power for your legs that they were designed to do.