Five Great Exercises to Help Improve Your Long-Distance Running

By following these five top tips to improve your long-distance running, you’ll be able to stay healthy by getting stronger, making your body more stable while running and improving your form for when you get tired. Plus, late in a race when you start to get fatigued, core work will help you maintain an efficient running form, enabling you to hold a faster pace. After all, strength training is the perfect complement to endurance training.

The Runner’s Core Workout

This series of exercises targets the entire core, including the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, oblique muscles and lower back. It’s convenient too, as a standard core routine requires no equipment so you can do it whenever, wherever. It includes six movements repeated two or three times for between 30 seconds and one minute each, all of which will help improve your long-distance running.

1. Modified Bicycle

  • Lie on your back and extend your right leg up in the air. Your thigh should be perpendicular to your torso with your shin parallel to the ground
  • Lift your right leg two to three inches off the ground, hold for a few seconds, then switch legs
  • Make sure your lower back is in a neutral position during the entire exercise

2. Plank

  • Start by lying on your stomach and prop your weight on your forearms and toes
  • Keep a straight line from your head to your feet and hold this position for the entire exercise, making sure your abs, glutes, and lower back are engaged
  • If you want an added challenge simultaneously lift the right leg and the left arm, hold for two to three seconds, and switch

3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground
  • Lift your hips so there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees
  • Extend one leg straight out, hold for a few seconds, then place it back down on the ground and repeat on the other side

Note: Make sure your hips don’t dip and your butt doesn’t sag to the ground during the movement

4. Side Plank Leg Lift

  • Lying on your right side, lift your body so your weight is propped up on your forearm and the side of your right foot (or, stagger both feet to modify). There should be a straight diagonal line from your head to your feet.
  • Hold steady, engaging the core muscles.
  • For an even greater challenge, complete 10 lateral leg raises, by slowly lifting your left leg to a 45-degree angle and lowering it back down to the start position.
  • Switch to the left side and repeat.

5. Modified Bird Dog

  • In a tabletop position on your hands and knees, lift your left arm so it’s parallel to the ground
  • At the same time, lift your right leg back behind you so your thigh is parallel to the ground and your shin is perpendicular. Your knee should be bent at 90 degrees and your glute muscle activated
  • Hold for several seconds and switch sides

As for all strength workouts, always monitor your form and make sure you’re maintaining good posture during each exercise. Once this bodyweight routine is comfortable, then you can try integrating more challenging exercises into your strength program to further build your strength and endurance.

Our Fitness Motivators are happy to help you with any questions about the exercises, and if you require more help with your individualised training needs, why not book a Fitness Program or a personal training session?