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Other exercise to help improve running fitness.

(22 Posts)
Hadron21 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:54:33

I'm training for a half marathon this year and yesterday went to a class in the gym. I have realised I have no upper body or core muscle strength! I want to improve my running fitness and wondered what the best type of exercise would be? Core strength? Weights?
Thank you .

CMOTDibbler Tue 12-Jan-16 12:12:37

Swimming is great cross training, especially crawl as you really engage your core

KeyserSophie Tue 12-Jan-16 12:57:36

To be honest, upper body strength isn't a big factor in running speed. Core is more relevant, especially on trail.

Kettle bells might be a good option. However, if you want to improve your speed, the best thing to focus on is high intensity aerobic work (i.e. working out at your aerobic threshold) , either by incorporating speed sessions into your running, or doing something like Spin or circuits.

carrie74 Tue 12-Jan-16 13:35:24

Not a marathon runner, but when I was in training for my first 10k, my PT told me doing strength straining and intervals would help, so basically, what Keyser said!

Hadron21 Tue 12-Jan-16 13:43:30

Thank you. Would spinning classes be suitable? I really don't like the kettle bell classes but if needs must smile
I'm a terrible swimmer and end up huffing and puffing rather than swimming!

KeyserSophie Wed 13-Jan-16 04:42:51

Spin wont do much for your core but it will definitely improve your aerobic threshold, which is more important. Core strength helps, but it's one of those things that makes the difference when you've exhausted all the low hanging fruit. If it's your first half, I'd just focus on longish slow runs to ensure that you have a good aerobic base, and something like spin for a bit of threshold work. If you really want to do some core stuff, just do plank at home a few times a day, building up to say, 2 mins.

Hadron21 Wed 13-Jan-16 08:38:13

Will do - thanks.

lljkk Sat 16-Jan-16 09:38:38

the advice I've read says do most of your running in lower aerobic zones (Z1-2) : it's maddening to go so slow most the time, but you can run a lot further, at least.

MrsMook Sat 16-Jan-16 19:16:18

I started at a circuits class before taking up running and it makes a difference. I've got more power for hills.

I dabble with yoga. That kind of core/ flexibility work is good for posture and core strength that reduce the risk of injury and reduce fatigue.

Cross training generally is good and helps keep the interest up.

eatingworms Sat 16-Jan-16 19:20:04

I do Pilates and found it's really helped in reducing the aching I used to get in my shoulders and round my ribs after a particularly long run. I think it's made my running posture much better, I used to hunch and tense my shoulders too much which wastes energy, now my core is stronger to hold me up so my shoulders can relax more. I think it's made running more enjoyable overall.

DancingDuck Sat 16-Jan-16 19:39:00

Speed hill-running. Find a local hill and run up it three times in a row as fast as you can once or twice a week. That massively improves speed and cardio fitness for the long haul.

Also, power yoga or hot yoga. The deep stretches really release tight muscles and could help prevent cramps as well as reducing time off for injuries resulting from tight muscles. (If hamstrings or the muscles along the outer thigh are too tight you can get really bad knee and hip pains as they strain the tendons.)

Hadron21 Sat 16-Jan-16 20:53:57

Thanks everyone. I really want to improve my running without running. I've got a niggle in my hip and it's starting to ache after a long run.
Dancingduck I've always fancied hot yoga and there's a new place near me so I'll try that.
I love hill runs and circuits so I'll increase them too.

Thanks again everyone. I just need to know how I'm going to find the time to fit everything in. If I won the lottery the first thing I'd get is a personal trainer.

fitzbilly Sun 17-Jan-16 12:55:33

You need to focus on strength training for your legs and core, and also for your hips. There are lots of good videos on youtube full of strength training for hips and legs specifically for runners.

Also, if you want to improve your running, add some interval training (very fast bursts of 20-60 seconds) or threshhold training (2-4 minutes at threshold pace followed by 2 minutes recovery, then keep increasing the time you run at threshold) into your runs, or fartleck

fitzbilly Sun 17-Jan-16 12:56:56

I am desperately trying to improve my running speed as I have been a plodder for years, so have been doing lots of reseach!

Hadron21 Mon 18-Jan-16 10:28:20

Thank you Fitzbilky

KatharinaRosalie Mon 18-Jan-16 10:31:35

Does your gym offer LesMills CXWORX? That's a very good core training class.

Anglaise1 Mon 18-Jan-16 14:08:32

Core strength is important for long distance and endurance and it can help with your running posture.You don't necessarily need a gym. Exercises like the plank (front, side and back 1minute x 3 reps), bicycle and vertical leg crunches etc. all help and can be done at home. Pylometric exercises also help improve running - things like star jumps, burpees, height skips, lunges etc. Skipping is a great exercise for improving aerobic capacity. Cycling (as well as swimming) is a great cross training exercise because it works the same muscles that running does, but differently.

Hadron21 Mon 18-Jan-16 14:25:32

Thanks - my gym doesn't offer that class but it does do core classes and Pilates. I just can't get the hang of burpees - it's like my body can't put together the different moves!

Plateofcrumbs Mon 18-Jan-16 19:53:33

Ahh this is the perfect thread for me - I'm also training for a half marathon but if DH is late home I can't always get out for a run after DS is in bed (believe me I have contemplated running round the garden with the baby monitor clipped to me!) so I need exercises I can do at home a couple of nights a week that will still help my training.

Hadron21 Tue 19-Jan-16 12:33:16

Plate - try the Jillian Micheals shred DVD. I'm going to dig mine out. It's 30 mins and I used to it when the my toddler was a baby.

Plateofcrumbs Tue 19-Jan-16 17:02:50

I'll take a look - tried a couple of YouTube videos last night, but didn't find one that really did what I was looking for

mumwhoruns Fri 19-Feb-16 13:45:05

Dynamic stretches and specific running strength exercises are good e.g static stand to jump onto one leg (probably best if you google strength exercises for runners!) plus loads of plank work for core.

Oh and speed hill sessions - killer! But do the job

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