Regardless of a person's running ability or experience, building up and improving core strength has many positive benefits for runners. A strong core will help both sprinters and distance runners in different ways. This article will focus on the benefits of a strong core for distance runners when it comes to form and posture.
Followers of Sub30 Core would have heard me compare the core region to that of a tree trunk. Its foundations keep everything balanced, upright and stable, allowing other parts of the body to function, grow and flourish. This analogy is the perfect fit for the mechanics of running. Balance, stability, and good posture (upright) are important foundations for all runners. Allowing the legs and arms to play their vital roles in the running motion.
As a distance runner fatigues, the first areas that suffer are form and technique. Good running posture is replaced by poor posture, especially in the upper body area. The upper body leans forward, the head drops down and the shoulders hunch over. This opens the runner up to many possible injuries and stresses, especially in the back and neck area.
The main benefit of core strength for the runner is the improved and increased stabilisation in the torso. It also allows the remaining muscles and joints that a runner uses, such as the pelvis, hips, and glutes to work in harmony to ensure good form, technique, and posture.
One of the fundamentals of running is having a good breathing technique. When the upper body is hunched over it restricts the role of the diaphragm and lungs. It decreases your breathing capacity and results in shallow or chest breathing. Chest breathing means less oxygen will make its way into your system and to the muscles. As a result of this, the runner experiences less energy and increased fatigue
A strong core will ensure that a distance runner will remain in the upright position for longer, reduce the chance of injury and the issues we have discussed above. As we have mentioned in previous blogs the key is to strengthen all the muscle groups of the core region. For runners this takes on even more importance, remember the glutes, hip flexors, and lower back not only make up part of the core region but are also key muscle groups for runners.