THE STRENGTH TO SUCCEED
Perform one of these quick sequences of exercises after each run to beef up running-specific muscles and prevent common injuries
Lie on your stomach, then prop your weight on your forearms and toes, forming a straight line from head to feet (no arching your back or sticking your bum up in the air). Hold.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Extend your right leg, hold for several seconds, then lower and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating legs. Make sure that your hips don’t dip and that your backside doesn't sag.
Lie on your left side, then lift your body so your weight is on your left forearm and the side of your left foot, forming a diagonal line from head to feet. Hold. To make it harder, add a lateral leg raise: lift your right leg about 45 degrees, hold for a few seconds, then lower. Repeat five to 10 times. For the second set, switch to your right side.
Lie on your back, legs extended. Raise your left leg and bend it 90 degrees. Raise your right leg two to three inches off the floor. Hold for several seconds, then switch. Continue alternating. Keep your lower back in a neutral position: slip a hand under the small of your back; your back should not press into the floor or lift up off your hand.
SUPINE LEG LIFT
Lie on your back with your weight on your elbows and heels. Lift your hips and maintain a straight line from your toes to your shoulders (don’t forget to activate your glutes and your core). Now lift one leg about 20cm off the ground, hold for several seconds, then switch to the opposite leg. Continue alternating.
MODIFIED BIRD DOG
Start on all fours, with a flat back. Lift your left arm so it’s parallel to the ground. At the same time, lift your right leg so your thigh is parallel to the ground and your shin is perpendicular. Your knee should be bent at 90 degrees and your glutes should be activated. Hold for several seconds, then switch sides. Continue alternating.
Standing on one leg, slowly squat so your thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Your knee should not collapse inward. Do five to 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Lie on your left side with a resistance band around your ankles. Lift your right leg about 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower. Do 30 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Lie on your left side with your knees together and a resistance band around your lower thighs. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees, with your thighs at a 45-degree angle from your body. Keeping your pelvis still and your feet together, raise your right in a controlled manner. Do 30 reps, then switch sides.
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lift one leg so all your weight is on the other leg and your back. Lower your bum almost to the ground and thrust upward by activating your glutes. Do 25 reps on each leg.
With a resistance band around your ankles and your knees slightly bent, take 10 steps laterally. The band should be tight enough so it provides constant resistance. Facing the same direction, take another 10 steps back to your starting position. That’s one set; complete five sets.
Stand on your right foot with your left leg slightly bent. Drop your left hip so it is several inches below your right hip. Activate your right hip muscle to lift your left hip back to its starting position. Do 20 reps, then switch sides.
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and legs straight. Swing your right leg over your torso and up toward your left hand. Repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep; do 20.
ALL-ROUNDER These exercises do more than help protect you from injury: they will improve your running form, too.