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3 Things to do to Prepare your Body for Running Season that you are not doing

running 3 things injury risk prevention marathon training run more faster core strength workout abs

A few weeks ago, I talked about being in a set routine to help productivity. When it comes to writing fitness blogs, 9 times out of 10, I am in the local coffee shop across from where I live. The headphones do be in and I am always listening to movie soundtracks (I'm not sure why but it seems to help). For the last few months, I have been listening to Hans Zimmer live as I type my weekly newsletter and blogs out and work on my business. I even got tickets to see him tomorrow night on a very rare Monday evening off - even if the workaholic in me feels incredibly guilty about that.  It helps me concentrate but I thought it was a weird routine... until I read what Stephen King does to get into "the zone" for writing. I'm not saying I'm anything like Stephen King but there's something to be said for getting into a routine for creating the right state of mind.

When it came to training for the Dublin City Marathon last year, I had to get a steady routine for when I would get my runs in. My evening runs would take place in the Phoenix Park every Monday and Wednesday evening after training my Booty Camp classes (cheap plug: ladies Boot Camp class on every Monday and Wednesday evening from 7 pm in St. Brigid's Castleknock Community Centre).

The closer I got to the marathon date, the darker the evenings got. After one particular run where it looked like a deer came literally out of nowhere to charge at me, I was done with evening runs. I don't need deer stags piercing through me. Although it was great motivation to help me run faster. Running when it became that dark in the Park was no longer an option.

Bye bye routine! 

But now with the evenings getting brighter once again, the park is filling up with runners. And people are getting back into the routine in running more, myself included. But before you throw your running shoes on and go out in the Park, make sure your body is prepared.

Doing too much too fast can lead to injuries with the knees, ankles, shin splints etc. What you may not know is that while your knees are hurting, they may not be the cause of your pain. 

You need to reduce your chances of injury. You can never fully prevent injury but you can greatly reduce the chances. And to do that you need to obviously strengthen your legs but, and probably more importantly, you need to strengthen your core. 

To get better at running, you do need to run more. But do not neglect your gym programming completely. By combining them both, you will have a better chance of preventing injury and achieving your goals for this summer. 

Here are three things you can do:

1. Perform Single Leg Exercises such as Bulgarian Split Squats

Contrary to popular belief, stretching alone will not help you become more mobile and flexible. You have a great chance if you strength train under increased flexibility. One way in doing that (and the first main exercise in the start of 6 week challenge, beginning tomorrow) is by performing Bulgarian Split Squats. 

You are training the front of the leg and your backside while increasing your range of mobility with this exercise. And because you are on one leg, you are also increasing your knee stability strength and ankle mobility. 

To perform this exercise, start with your back leg on the bench and one leg out in front as if you are doing a lunge. If you find holding this position too difficult, have your back foot lower on a step instead (on the ground if that is too difficult). From there, you are driving your back knee to the ground and then pushing off your front leg to get back to the starting position. If you can do 8 reps with relative ease, hold some dumbbells and go again. 

For a visual of this exercise, check out this video HERE

Combine exercises for the front of the legs with an exercise for the back of the legs such as a Kettlebells Swing, Glute Bridge or a Hip Extension and Leg Curl on a Stability Ball which is a great exercise as it also works your core muscles.

2. Work your Core 

Speaking of core muscles, if you haven't got strong core muscles, other muscles are going to compensate which could lead to injury. Now, this does not mean doing a ton of sit-ups... or any sit-ups to strengthen your core. You don't bend your waist at all when running so why would you train like that to strengthen your core. You do battle to keep your core braced and yourself upright. So try to incorporate more planks and "anti-rotation" exercises into your routine. "Anti-rotation" is just a technical term for exercises that challenge your stomach muscles while you are not moving them. Planks are the most common example of this.

But you will find some great examples HERE that will keep your training more interesting and challenge rather than just holding a plank for as long as you can. Exercises such as Famers Walks are also great for working your core and your entire body!

3. 7 Leg Series

To my clients and those that are in my Booty Camp Castleknock classes, they know exactly what I am talking about here. This looks very simple and easy to do until you actually attempt to do it. When done right, it is literally a pain in the ass! But really good for strengthening the right muscles for running!

To do the 7 Leg Series, lie on your side, one foot 12 inches off the ground with your toes pointing towards the ground and then, without resting that leg until all 7 exercises are done (10 reps on each exercise before moving to the next), perform a Side Leg Raise for 10 reps into Forward Leg Swing into Back Leg Swing into Forward and Back Leg Swing into Clockwise Circles into Anti Clockwise Circles into Bicycle Kicks 

There is a follow along video (from 12:01) of me doing 15 reps of each exercise HERE

It will be a killer the first time you do it but if you do this routine 2-3 times a week, it will have a huge benefit for your running. Once again, don't neglect your gym/strength training. A combination of both can lead to great success in your goals

That's it for me for this week. Thanks for reading this newsletter. Hope you're reading to start tomorrow STRONG! Especially those reading this newsletter for the first time that have signed up to the 6 Week Challenge.

I'm off to do final preparations for that challenge now before this place shuts. Enjoy the end of your weekend in these longer evenings. 

Tomorrow is a regular Monday, no excuses about Bank Holidays. Get the workout in and start the week STRONG.



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This blog is an excerpt from the Coach Seán Weekly Newsletter. If you enjoyed this blog, please subscribe below to get FREE weekly updates from me to help you with your health and fitness goals