Minimizing The Risk Of Injury

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Runners tend to focus their cross training on strengthening  the muscles they use the most while running (i.e., hamstrings, calves and quads).  Running does a sufficient job of strengthening and developing these important muscle groups.  Cross training should be focused on strengthening other important muscles that aren’t as engaged during running.

Strengthening your glutes and core will provided a perfect balance to your fitness.  This area of your body provides a solid foundation for your running.  If you have a weak core or glutes you’re vulnerable to a host of injuries.  Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) and shin spints are two of the more common injuries resulting from instability in this area. 

I prefer to use a stability ball and yoga blocks to perform exercises that engage these muscles.  Here’s an example:



Experimenting with a stability ball and attempting to engage muscles that running doesn’t is as important to your running as a great workout.  On days when you simply feel like you need a rest from running you should spend 30-45 minutes performing activities that promote a strong core.  You will have much better posture and your running form will dramatically improve.  Here is an example of an exercise utilizing a yoga block:


You can bring the yoga block straight over your head and back up to your knees and also off to the side of your knees to work your lower abdominals and obliques.  Visualize what your form will be like after running the first 16 miles of the Boston Marathon.  You’ll be entering the more difficult section of the course as your drop down into Newton Lower Falls and begin the trek to the hills of Newton.  The section has earned his name as Hell’s Alley because you’ll encounter your first significant hill of the day.  Crossing over 128 is wide open and can be extremely windy and there tends to be fewer supporters on this portion of the course.  It’s critical to arrive here in great physical and mental shape.

Spending time each week utilizing a stability ball to strengthen you core and glutes will provide a greater degree of confidence on Marathon Day, particularly on this section of the course, when runners typically begin losing their form due to fatigue.  Once you begin to lose your form it’s virtually impossible to regain it.

Focusing on achieving balance in your entire body will improve how you look and feel.  It will also improve your performance throughout training and particularly during the marathon!

  1. Paula says:

    Hi Coach! Great post. I could’nt agree with you more. Being a personal trainer, fitness and yoga instructor myself before taking up running I realized the benefits immediately. I tell my clients all the time doing yoga, strength and core training makes you a stronger runner and vice versa. People often ask me how I teach the classes I do and talk the entire time. I say because I am a runner and I cross train. The benefits are endless! Sidebar. I took your advice on pineapple and papaya and other natural anti inflams. and I also reduced my dairy intake sufficiently. The bursa and swelling in my knee has improved big time. Thanks again!

  2. Hello Paula,

    I am sure you understand the benefits I described as well as anyone. Runners tend to think that running is the solution to everything until we get injured. We tend to be very determined…a nicer way of saying stubborn…so we have to learn many lessons the hard way.

    I’m glad my advice on the natural anti-inflammatories worked. Thanks for all your feedback!

    Your Coach,


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