knees, hips, etc. you are pretty much asking for an injury. Furthermore, if there are any muscular imbalances, running pattern deficiencies or anything out of alignment in your hips , trunk,etc., there is even more trouble coming your way. This is why it is absolutely imperative that you are in shape to run and not the other way around (running to get in shape if you are overweight).
Proper strength training is a must to stay injury free and boost performance. Repetitive motions like running easily cause imbalances, especially in the hips. Strengthening the musculature around the hips (especially the glute medius and glute max) will ensure that knee position is
controlled and that gait patterns are ideal. Paying attention to the external obliques, lats, scapular muscles and quadriceps muscles (among other muscles) are all important as well. Any imbalances from side to side or between synergistic muscles have to be addressed.
The specific muscle fiber types that are being trained must be paid attention to. An endurance event like
running relies primarily on slow twitch muscle fibers. These fibers can be hypertrophied to improve their
performance without adding any real size or weight to the body (which you usually don’t want to do if you want to improve running performance). By using slower controlled tempos and specific time durations with exercises, these fibers can be focused on. While this will help, there shouldn’t be too much time spent on them as they are used so much as it is.
Training fast twitch fibers and nervous system output for max
strength and speed strength will ultimately help performance. The more force that you can put into the ground, the faster you can potentially be. Performing an exercise such as the squat for speed with lighter weight and for max strength with heavy weights will improve force output, which in turn will improve
running performance. This can also be done without too much size being added. Neglecting these specific factors will limit ultimate performance potential. In part two, I will discuss energy system development, hip issues and more specific exercise information.
This was taken from my last writeup in the SAC Newsletter. I have to narrow things down in there because of space limits so I will add more detail as soon as I get the chance. If you haven't already done so, be sure to read previous posts on runners and stay tuned for the next installment!