Personal trainer Grant Ford joins us to share his approach for becoming a stronger runner. He gives his advice on the different factors that will help you to improve your running and to increase your longevity in the sport.
This interview includes plenty of practical instruction from Grant for exercises, including some great videos. Grant also explains the background on why he recommends these exercises for runners. We have split this article into three parts for you…
- Core (With Videos)
- Strength for Legs (With Videos)
- Strength for Arms (With Videos)
- Points for an Effective Strength Programme
- Recovery, Rest, Deloading & Sleep
- About Grant
He explains why a balanced training programme, including good strength and core work, can help us to stay injury free, improve our running and keep doing what we love for as long as possible…
Q: Grant, thanks for joining us! What do you think are the key points for developing a balanced training plan?
“For any athlete, whatever their sport, the most important part of their training should be the practice of the sport itself. So, if you are a runner, the majority of your training time should be spent running. However, strength training and mobility work should also be integral parts of your programme.
“Running in itself requires you to be moving forwards, in one direction, for the majority of the time and certain muscles will get used more than others. I would bet a high percentage of the runners reading this will have experienced tightness in hip flexors, IT bands, hamstrings and calves to name but a few.”
Q: So what should we do about that, in practice?
“One of the first, and most important steps when designing any programme is to identify any of these tight areas, and to note whether they have led to imbalances at any joints.
“One of the most common imbalances I see occurs at the hips, where the hip flexors and adductors are too tight, and the glutes—particularly the gluteus medius—are not strong enough. This causes instability at the pelvis every time the foot strikes the ground and causes problems at both the knee and the ankle. Patellofemoral (knee) pain is one of the most common complaints in runners and a huge proportion of it can be improved by addressing the imbalance at the hips.
“So a well-balanced training regime will include mobility work to help loosen anything that is too tight, and strength training that will strengthen any relatively weak muscles.
“I would encourage people to do two dedicated strength sessions per week, alongside their normal running programme.”
Grant’s video here gives some excellent exercises to help with improving pelvic stability and activating the glute med:
Q: Grant, what is your advice for an effective warm-up?
“Before every training session, be it strength training or running, I would advise people to spend 10 minutes running through a dynamic warm up designed to activate any muscles that have been found to be weak or inactive.
“Mobility exercises are important to help loosen any areas that are too tight. This is particularly helpful before a training session, and can easily be incorporated in to a warm-up routine.”
Grant’s video shows some practical examples of exercises for warm-up and mobility…