Strength & Conditioning.
But so is good form. And who’s opting for bad form….?
What is Strength & Conditioning?
It’s the fundamentals. It’s isolating the important elements that contribute to your overall performance and improving them step by step. Therefore reducing the likelihood of injury.
The trouble is, that for every new effort, every increase to the demand placed upon something that was lagging – there’s increased fatigue.
And that’s where I’m at.
Week by week, I’m introduced to something somewhere that complains at me. Feet, Knees, Back, more Back, Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings and so on….
And the worst part….it’ll all be worth it… So I endure.
The reason I’m so convinced that this constant fatigue is worth the trouble? Well, soon after having tried it short term, I gained a PB on my half marathon. A half marathon that many believe is generally a few minutes slower than the flatter, easier courses out there. So if I ran 1hr 25min (and some change), I ought to be looking at a 1:23:00 at some point, or faster.
And that’s worth some aches, pains or the odd yawn in my book.
I continue to stretch. I make the effort every Friday morning, along with several members of Team Accelerate – and we all of us, go through a range of exercises, designed to pinpoint the stages in the running gait. We steadily maintain this routine and almost without noticing the results, attempt to pull off moves on one foot, arms extended, while hopping, on and off of steps, up and down stairs, sometimes with medicine balls.
It isn’t always about these moves paying off with greater strength. In fact that’s rarely the case. It’s more about waking up the parts of you that were under-performing and creating a stronger Neuromuscular connection that in time, invites more of the correct muscles to do their fair share, which in turn (eventually) creates a better, more stable, more efficient running form.
It’s a slow process and something of a leap of faith in the early stages. But as soon as you notice the benefits appearing, it gets easier to put up with.
We’ve always believed at Accelerate, that it’s better to ‘get strong to run’ than it is attempting to ‘run to get strong’, since forcing a tired body to do more inevitably causes injury, or limits your potential at the very least.
So for the foreseeable future, I shall endeavour to do the raises, twists, stretches and hops until I feel that both sides are working in tandem. That I’m running until tired, instead of until something feels like it’s going to break!
It’s worked so far. It’s what the best runners around the world are doing. It’s what should be happening a lot more and it’s actually easy to fit in to your routine.
If anybody’s interested in taking up a few of these ideas and adding some much needed strength to their running form, feel free to ask us here at Accelerate, as we’re always more than happy to help.