Make your core stronger and your times faster
How core work can improve your running
The more you run in training the more benefit you are going to see in your fitness. Running is a straightforward sport and there is no getting away from the fact that simply by running you will become a better runner. However there are certain things that you can introduce into your training that will supplement your running and make you a better athlete. One of those extra elements is core stability.
Why core stability matters
Most people would think having good core stability just means to have a six pack or amazing abs. Runners tend to be less vain and just focus on building strength without the 'glamour abs'. Having a strong core is going to help your stride because this is where most of the power comes from. I'm talking about your core, and also the gluts and that whole trunk area. Making sure these areas are strong enough to handle the amount of mileage you're running is definitely going to help prevent injury. It can also help correct a bad posture that can in turn also lead to an injury.
There are many exercises out there for your core but there are some that are more beneficial than others. For runners it is important you don't just focus on one side. If your stomach is stronger than your back, then this will create an imbalance and that is definitely not good!
A weight ball for resistance training using your core is one type of training I would really recommend. Having someone throw the ball to each side of you and controlling your core is an excellent exercise for strengthening. Another exercise using the medicine ball is 'Russian Twists'. You do these by simply holding the ball, making sure your back is straight and moving from one side to the other. This will activate the core on both sides and the ball will act as resistance.
As I said there are many exercises out there for you to research, but do keep in mind that you mustn’t just focus on one area. A lot of people only think about strengthening their trunk and abs and as a result the back is often neglected. A lot of the gym work that I do is mainly for injury prevention, to make sure that my body is strong enough for the amount of miles that I will be running. That said I usually do 2/3 different gym sessions a week to maintain my strength. For the enthusiastic runner I would think that starting off by doing some light core work once a week is a good way to get into it.
Experiment with exercises
You will need to experiment which day to do these sessions, because ideally you wouldn't want to do them before one of your harder run days. If you do, you might find that your long run is a painful affair because you are sore from doing the core routines the day before. But don’t panic, as time goes by your body will adapt to the core sessions. Any exercises that mimic the running action and include some resistance are going to be the best ones for you, and these are often the hardest too.
With all the exercises there will be a lot of development you can do with each one, for example using more weight or changing the movement slightly to make it more difficult. It is a learning process and you will need to find out what works for you. Good luck with those abs!