Weight training is one of the most essential workouts to any endurance athlete, but is overlooked by some. If leg and core workouts are not done on a regular basis, you become more vulnerable to injury and on race day such as cramping and muscle fatigue. Here are a few exercises you can do that can build on core muscles:
1. Run the Rack Calf Raises - This is done in 2-5 sets (1st set – 25 reps each, 2nd set – 20 reps each, 3rd set – 15 reps each, 4th set – 10 reps each, 5th set – 5 reps each) depending on your strength level. Start with 50 pound dumbbells and move down the rack in increments of 5 pounds until you have no weight. For example, the next dumbbells will be 45, 40, 35, etc. Alternate your feet placement after each set as well (Inward, outward, and straight) to work different areas of your calves. If 5 sets are done you will have completed 825 calf raises.
2. Lounges - 4 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg. Use dumbbells for this as well.
3. Jump Squats - 4 sets of 10-15 reps. Adding weight is optional.
4. Leg Press/Leg Curls - 4 sets of 10-15 reps.
5. Core Work - P90X is a great tool to use for ab exercises.
6. Run Stairs - 2500-5000 stairs every other week. Stairs work your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes simultaneously and provide a runner’s most essential ingredient for success: power. During this high intensity workout, it builds leg muscles rapidly, improving running time significantly. Do not do this workout the same day as a lower body workout. Place at least 2-3 days apart.
After a lower body workout, I always integrate a run afterward. The legs are completely shot, but it is the closest thing you can get to the muscle fatigue felt during a long distance race. For best results, weight train 2-3 days per week.
A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done. – Vince Lombardi
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