Every month on The Locker Room we have a new 30-Day Challenge. These challenges have varied from 3-minutes of stretching, 5 serves of vegetables, foam rolling your quads and even “dry-July” which was a month with no alcohol.
The challenge that I have found helped my running the most, was 50 walking lunges at the end of every run. At the time of that challenge I had been spending more and more time working on a computer (writing these articles!) and less time than usual moving around. My hips were tight, my lower back was sore and running was becoming more of a chore than a relaxing and enjoyable activity.
At the end of the month’s challenge, I had done 2500 walking lunges and my lower back and hips were feeling pretty close to 100%. It worked so well that I have been doing 50 walking lunges either before or after most runs ever since that time.
One of the reasons I think it worked so well, was because the strength was combined into the time of the run. Runners love to run more than anything else. Like most runners, I am good at finding an excuse as to why I should go for a run, but I am also quite good at finding an excuse for missing out some foam rolling or strength sessions.
By doing the lunges at the end of my run, I was already out there, I was already warmed up and had my shoes on, it added less than 90 seconds to my running time, so there really wasn’t an excuse not to do it.
That philosophy of adding some strength work into your running time, combined with one of the most beneficial “core” exercises for a runner – the single leg deadlift – has led me to this challenge.
50 Walking Deadlifts at the end of every run. If you are too tired or too sore at the end of any run to do these walking deadlifts, then you ran too hard! They are not a difficult exercise from a strengthening or fatiguing perspective. You might find the balance aspect difficult, or the stretching element a bit of a challenge – but that’s good. At the end of a month you will have improved.
Make sure you get your deadlift technique right! Check your technique to make sure you are doing the deadlifts correctly. You might need to use a stick for the first few sessions to learn how to keep your back flat.
Watch this video on this page for some specific instructions: 50 Walking Deadlifts Demonstration
Mark is a highly qualified physiotherapist and an accomplished athlete having competed at the top level in trail running for a number of years. He's the founder of The Locker Room, an outstanding resource to help runners perform at their best.
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