Top 5 strength exercises for runners, as recommended by a PT

Following on from our previous post, Sian from SC fitness takes a look at the best strength exercise for runners.

You may have read in our recent blog that strength training is very important for runners. Not only because it’s going to improve your running, but perhaps most importantly because it helps prevent injury. As running is a high impact sport, risk of injury is also high and I bet you have experienced – or at least know someone who has – a niggle or two due to running regularly. It’s understandable, however, that strength training – which is completely different to running – can be overwhelming when it comes to knowing what exercises you should be doing to make sure you’re getting the benefits you need. To help keep things simple and uncomplicated for you, here are my top 5 strength exercises for runners which I advise you include in your training.

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A Runner’s Guide to Strength Training

Our latest blog post for the Run Series comes from Sian at SC fitness. She takes a look at strength training for runners, and where to start with building the right training plan for you!

In a runner’s world, running often takes priority – understandably! However, in order for you to improve your running, to feel good whilst you’re running and essentially for you to be able to continue to run for as long as you want to, strength training needs to be part of your training schedule too. Runner’s can often neglect their strength training for numerous reasons. Perhaps it’s unfamiliar to them and they don’t know what they should be doing, or maybe they find it tedious and uninteresting. Whatever your own reasons may be, if you want to run to the best of your ability and stay injury-free, strength training is a non-negotiable. To help you get started, here’s a simple guide of why you need to and how you can implement your own strength work into your weekly routine.

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Tips for Increasing Your Distance From 10km to a Half Marathon

Congratulations to everyone who completed the Bristol Run Series 10k. To help you to step up to the 15k and Half Marathon, Personal Trainer, Sian from SC-fitness has some helpful tips below.

Stepping up your distance

So, you’ve worked up to running 10km and you’ve decided you’d like to go further. Perhaps you’ve signed up for a Half Marathon event and you’re feeling excited…but the jump from 10km to 21km feels a bit daunting. That’s completely understandable! However, I bet you thought that running 10km seemed a long way off when you first ran 5km, right? Yet you did it! That’s why I want to reassure you that now you’ve reached 10km, you can absolutely get to a Half Marathon. There is simply more training you need to do beforehand and that’s what I’m here to help with.

Here are some tips for you to focus on in the run up to your event to get you over that finish line not only having completed the distance, but having enjoyed it too!

Tip 1: Set yourself a realistic timeframe to train for your event

The main thing that gives you confidence when running long distances is that you know you can do it. This requires preparation and enough time to work up to the distance in question. To expect your body to go from running a distance such as 10km to a Half Marathon takes time and patience, as well as a sensible, progressive training plan. You really don’t want to rush into things. My advice is to build up your running gradually so that your lungs and your legs increase in fitness and stamina and are able to cope with the longer distances.

If you’re already comfortable running 10k, I would suggest giving yourself about 6-8 weeks to work up to your Half Marathon. If you’re new to running, you may want to increase this time. Essentially the more preparation time you have, the more gradual your training can be and you can work up in smaller distances. Make sure you do what’s right for you.

Photo Credit: JennyHill

Tip 2: Focus on increasing your weekly mileage

Running further than 10km doesn’t mean that you have to cover more than 10km every time you run. Your focus needs to be on increasing how far you run over the week as a whole. This will include more than one run (I would advise planning for at least 3 per week) and they should be of varying distances. You may also want to include some tempo or interval runs where you can work on your speed and recovery. One of your weekly runs should be a ‘long run’ where you are working up to your Half Marathon distance and depending on the time you have available to prepare, I suggest you increase your long run by 1-2km each week. Keep the progressions manageable and consistent so that your body is able to keep up with the increase in duration and intensity.

Tip 3: Don’t forget about recovery and injury-prevention

Running is a brilliant sport and I love it for both the physical and mental health benefits. However there is no denying that it is also a high-impact activity and injuries can be common. That’s why I advise that around your running sessions you prioritise some strength training and mobility workouts. These don’t have to be long or complicated, they simply need to be part of your routine too. Our muscles and joints go through a lot when running, so having strong muscles which aren’t constantly tight and fatigued is important.

Make sure to incorporate some exercises which work your lower body muscles including your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts are great, as well as single leg movements such as lunges and step ups. Yoga classes are really good for recovery and they can help you learn some useful movements which you can repeat at home around your running program.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba

You can do it!

Hopefully, you’re feeling more confident that you can now increase your distance from 10km in an achievable and enjoyable way. Running is a form of movement that is challenging and forces us to push ourselves, yet it is so rewarding too. Nothing feels better than running a race which you know you’ve trained well for and crossing that finish line with a huge sense of relief and achievement. Now go and enjoy your training – you’ve got this!

Keeping Active to Combat Loneliness

This year for Mental Health Awareness week the theme has been loneliness. Loneliness is something many of us experience throughout our lives, whether we’re at university or later in life. Feeling lonely can really impact your mental health, as you may feel the absence of meaningful relationships around you. Finding connections is an important part of combatting loneliness – whether that’s with ourselves, others or with the world around us.

Keeping active is often promoted as one of the ways that you can promote good mental health; it can help improve your sleep, boost your mood and reduce stress! Regular activity can also help provide the benefits of a structured routine and help build a sense of community.

Today we’re going to highlight some of the ways you can keep active whilst also combatting loneliness.

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Increasing Distance: More Top Tips for Runners

Matt Dorber, local Bristol Running Coach and regular runner with Queen Square Run Club, gives us his advice on how to increase distance. This second installment in his series of educational blog posts covers more top tips ahead of the Bristol Run Series 10k which starts next week.

The series launched in January and after the incredible success of the 5k, we’re thinking ahead to our 10k, 15k, and half-marathon. Whether you’re looking for advice to help you on your virtual 10k over the next couple of weeks, or looking ahead to the in-person inflatable 15k, you can make use of this expert advice!

This time, Matt talks how to work increased distances into your training plan, listening to your body, and looking after your mental wellbeing.

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Club Spotlight: Women’s Cricket

As the usual BUCS season ends and the summer term begins, it’s time for Cricket to take it’s place in the spotlight. With the Cricket Season beginning last week, the University of Bristol Women’s Cricket Club have got their first match today, and we’re all excited to see how they do. There’s no better to club to kick off the latest series of club spotlights, showcasing sport clubs at Bristol. 

We spoke to Nadia, UBWCC Treasurer, who was excited to describe the “small but growing” community of the club. Read on to find out about their upcoming season, what training looks like for cricket, club social life, and how you can get involved!

 

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New To Running? Here’s Our Top Tips

This year, we’ve teamed up with Matt Dorber, local Bristol Running Coach and regular runner with Queen Square Run Club, to bring you a series of motivations, inspirational and educational blog posts throughout the Series.

The University of Bristol Run Series launched in January and we’re hurtling towards the virtual and in-person 5k events which take place in March 2022! Whether you are completely new to running, returning after a break or a season pro, you can never get enough advice from the experts about how to make it through your events in the speediest, safest and most enjoyable way!

We’re kicking off with Matt’s top tips for new runners, from mindset to what you wear on your feet.

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The Big Sport, Exercise and Health Winter Quiz

You know that point in the day where the presents have been exchanged, the turkey has been eaten and everyone’s a bit sleepy? We’ve got the perfect between-meals quiz that everyone will enjoy!

You will need: 

– A quiz master!
– A pen and paper for each participant

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