Exercises to prepare for a marathon - Women's Running UK

Strength exercises for marathon runners

Read Time:   |  March 24, 2016

Running further gets you ready to race your marathon or half, but before you hit the start line, it’s important to condition your body for the extra stress by strengthening key muscles employed when running. Here’s four exercises to boost strength in the hip flexors, thighes, core and glutes.


Muscles: Bottom and rear thighs (glutes and hamstrings)

April3Why do it?
Teaching your hips to rotate less when you run can reduce back, hip and knee pain.

■ Lie on your back on the floor with your feet hip-width apart
■ Lift your hips off the floor until you form a straight line between your knees, hips and shoulders
■ Lift your right leg off the floor
■ Ensure that you don’t drop your hips
■ Replace your foot on the floor and repeat on the other side
■ Alternate between left and right

Watch points:
If you are unsure if your hips are dropping or not, place a broom stick on your hips while you perform the exercise. The stick should stay level with the floor.


Muscles: Hip flexors (psoas muscles)


Why do it?
Strong hip flexors will help you increase your speed and run better uphill.

■ Tie a resistance band around your left ankle and a secure object
■ Step forward with your right leg
■ Place your hands against a wall or chair and lean slightly forward
■ Pull your left knee up until your upper leg is level with the floor
■ Return your left leg until it’s straight behind and in line with your body

Watch points: Keep your upper body upright and don’t flex your hips.

Don’t have a band? Browse various ranges at Amazon.


Muscles: Inner thighs and core muscles (adductors, transversus abdominis)


Why do it?
Your inner thighs help you with balance during running. Strong inner thighs can also help support your lower back by keeping your pelvis level.

■ Stand on your left leg and hold a weight in your left hand
■ Step to the side with your right leg
■ Bend your right knee and keep your left leg straight
■ Lower the weight to the floor in front of your right foot
■ Step back into a single-leg stance
■ Complete one set on the left before changing over to the right

Watch points: Keep your stomach muscles tight and squeeze your bottom in the standing position to aid your balance.

Don’t have a band? Find the right weight for you at Amazon.


Muscles: Bottom (glutes)


Why do it?
When you push against the wall there are no joint movements and the muscle length stays the same. The benefit of this is that you can isolate your bottom.

■ Stand on your left leg next to a wall
■ Keep your body upright
■ Bend your right knee
■ Push your knee against the wall without moving your upper body
■ Hold the position for 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Watch points: Don’t do this exercise if you suffer from high blood pressure.


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