Running is a brilliant form of exercise that can even become addictive to those who love the buzz it brings. However, if your sole focus is on clocking up the miles, you probably won’t get the most from your workout. 

The key to becoming a good runner is building and maintaining your strength and flexibility so that your muscles are more likely to withstand longer distances and faster speeds. Cardio work is fantastic but once it’s paired with strength and flexibility, your body becomes the all-rounder you evolved to be. 

So, it’s time to get your Glow on and start working.

Hips, Bum and Thighs

Squats are great for stretching out your glutes and increasing the flexibility of your hips. Add in some weights and you can build your strength up too. Squats are also beneficial for your hamstrings and can work well as a cool-down exercise. However, it’s good advice not to start your workout or run with squats as you’ll just tire yourself out!  

There are a few different types of squats you might like to try from Sumo squats where you widen the gap between your feet and pistol squats which look impossible until you suddenly manage to do one! Rotating between various types of squats is a good way to mix up your workout and increase the flexibility of your hips by stretching in different directions.

Back and Shoulders

You may assume that your legs are putting in all the work when you run but actually, your back and shoulders deserve a bit of attention too. A simply lying spinal twist is a good way to loosen up your lower back and hips, to begin with but there are all kinds of more complex yoga poses you might like to try. 

Improving your posture when you run and walk is really important if you want to avoid back pain. Many people suffer back pain at some point during their lifetime and this is usually a postural problem. By strengthening your back muscles, you can avoid unnecessary pain and treat any pain you might have from a sedentary lifestyle. 

Legs and Calves

As you would expect, your calves do a lot of work when you run. Many runners experience problems with calf strains and even hip pain and Achilles tendonitis because their calves are weak. Luckily, there are a number of calf exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles and reduce the chance of injury. 

If you’re already in the mood for squats, a plyometric jump squat is a fun modification of a regular squat. To make the most of any weights you are using, a farmers’ walk on your tiptoes will really help too. Finally, adding a downward dog position into your yoga routine will help to prevent injury and stretch your muscles too. 

Running is a great way to get fitter but you need to look after your body to get the most from your workout. Try adding a few of these different exercises to your regular workout schedule and see what a difference they make. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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