Marathon running can be one of the most physically demanding, yet rewarding endeavors. Any runner that has ever crossed the finish line can endorse the importance of putting in miles before the big day, but training for a race needs to go far beyond just the mileage. It is important to complement your running with strength and flexibility training as well cross training in order to increase running efficiency and reduce your risk of injury.
Strength training is a simple and effective way to improve stability with running. Training the "core" muscles, including abdominal, back, and hip muscles, is essential. Exercises such as planks can be used to strengthen the abdominal muscles that provide a base for your mid back and to improve upright posture. Lunges are an effective exercise to improve strength in hip/leg muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals.
Flexibility training can be done in a variety of ways, from simple strap or standing stretches to more complex stretching such as Yoga or Pilates. Muscle groups in the body work together to create harmonious movements, so when one group of muscles is tight or weak, imbalances and difficulties can occur. As an example, tight hip flexor muscles can not only place a strain on the front of the hip, but this can also risk injury to the hamstrings and lower back muscles.
Cross training such as biking or swimming is a great way to build up exercise tolerance without the stress of running. You are able to train your heart and lungs as well as work some of the same muscles required for running. Perform biking or swimming either indoor or outdoor on off days from running (2-3 times per week).
It is important to note that not one type of exercise or stretch is appropriate for everyone. Seek out multiple ways to stretch and strengthen in addition to your running. If you notice that you have started to develop pain or discomfort with running, ask your physician about seeing your physical therapist to get you back on track!
In celebration of the Flying Pig Marathon
's 20th Anniversary on May 5 & 6, we've asked some of our physician and employee runners to blog about their experiences, share tips they've learned along the way, and provide inspiration for those who might interested in participating this year for the first time, whether for the 5K, 10K, relay, half marathon or full marathon.
Are you planning to walk or run one of the events? Be sure to share your preparation and inspiration photos on Instagram
or our Facebook page
using the hashtag, #GetPiggyWithTCH, for a chance to be featured on our social media channels!