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Develop your core for faster running.
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If you want to run your best, you have to have a strong core. Without solid muscles in your abs, lower back and glutes, you lack the stability, power and endurance you need for better performance. Developing your core increases your ability to run farther and faster as you become a more balanced, efficient runner.
Your core is the foundation of the running movement and is essential for speed. The muscles in your abs, lower back and glutes stabilize and balance those of your lower body. This allows these muscles to perform their duties without overcompensating for weaknesses in the lower and middle body. Your core ensures you maintain proper running form during challenges such as hills, sprints or the final leg of long distance runs, supporting tired muscles even when you are fatigued.
Core Mechanics for Speed
According to вЂњRunner's World,вЂќ your body depends heavily on your abs and lower back when running for speed. As you pick up your pace, you recruit muscles to extend your stride and quicken your leg and foot turnover. The stronger and more stable these muscles are, the more force and speed you can generate as you push off. Your core muscles -- especially your glutes and abs -- also support your pelvis, which connects to the leg muscles used when you run uphill. The stronger your core, the more power and speed you have to ascend the incline.
Developing Core Strength
To run faster, train your core muscles three times a week for optimal performance. Focus on your glutes, lower back, hips and abs by doing strength training exercises for each area. Effective core moves for runners include supermans, glute bridges, planks, oblique crunches, medicine ball twists and standing wood choppers, which strengthen the muscles. These moves brace these muscle as they coactivate the muscles that surround the spine, helping you run with more efficiency and better form. Each core workout should last approximately 15 minutes and target each of the muscle groups with at least one exercise.
If you start training for speed without a strong core, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for running injuries. Without stability and support from your core, your hamstrings, knees, back and other lower-body areas become vulnerable as they compensate for your weak midsection. With the increased workload, these muscles can become inflamed, strained, pulled or torn and send you to the sidelines. Weak core muscles in your hips and glutes can also lead to Iliotibial band syndrome, which requires extensive rehabilitation. If you experience pain or injury during your workouts, stop training and treat the area, consulting your physician as needed.