You Want to Run Faster? Start With Your Core!

You Want to Run Faster? Start With Your Core!

If you want to run faster| the key might not be upping your speedwork and mileage. The answer might just be strengthening your core. Keeping your torso stable while your legs power you forward makes your running more efficient. And the efficiency leads to speed. Here are some effective core exercises to add to your training program.

| Runner’s Crunch

This move teaches your abs| back| and hip flexors to all work together to strengthen your center.

  • Start on your back with your elbows resting on the floor at 90-degree angles.
  • With your core engaged| roll up to almost sitting while bringing your right knee up to meet your left elbow. It should feel a little like running.
  • With control| straighten your leg as your slowly peel your back down| vertebra by vertebra| until your shoulders touch the mat last.
  • Alternate with your other leg to complete one rep.
  • Do 10 to 15 reps.

| Side Elbow Plank

This simple plank variation trains the torso to stabilize with emphasis on the obliques| the abs on the sides of the torso.

  • Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you’re balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds| then switch sides to complete a rep. Do two to three reps.

| Elbow Plank With Arm Reach

Adding some arm motion to your planks is great stability training and translates directly to your running form.

  • Start in an elbow plank with your palms facing inward.
  • With your abs pulled toward your spine| reach your left arm forward| keeping your torso as still as possible. Bring your elbow back to the mat. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat on the other side| and continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.