core exercises for trail runners
Reduce your risk of injury. Feel stable and confident in the mountains. Remember, your core is what keeps you upright when you trip on a technical trail.
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Why do core exercises?
Here's the deal.
Even though at-home exercises aren’t as as fun as running down a mountain, you can’t do the later without first dedicating yourself to the former.
A good core routine builds strength in our upper body (our “core.”) This strength keeps our bodies aligned, which helps us maintain good posture while running. Good running posture = more control = safely cruising those downhills we talked about.
A core routine is a vital component of your training routine as a trail runner. Running higher, running farther, running faster: these are all great things, but if you want to get there, you have to put in the off-trail work. It’s important to prepare our bodies to safely withstand the impact they take while running downhill; to move uphill with power during long trainings and races; and to keep us strong during all distances.
When you do these core exercises—not rushed, but with effort and focus—you’re building a longer athletic life and preventing common trail running injuries.
Always do your core routine on a day with a moderate to easy run. (Before or after your run is fine, whichever you prefer.) Don’t mix core exercises with an intense training or long run. If you’re too tired, you won’t have the strength to do the exercises correctly.
Quality > quantity. Don’t be shy about cutting the number of repetitions. It’s way better to do fewer repeats, but to do them with control. Then, you can keep building from there.
You should do these exercises at least once a week (but don’t exceed three times per week.) In order to build strength, consistency is key. You need to have weekly contact with your core routine—that’s why we always it in our trail running training plans.
How to do our core routine
Listen to your body. Don’t overexert yourself, and only do all the repetitions once you feel ready.
If you need a break, take one. Pause a little bit between each exercise; the most important thing is to execute the movements correctly. This helps avoid fatigue and stress, which are things that can spell injury later down the line.
The only way to develop results from core exercises is to do your routine every week. It takes dedication—strengthening the core isn’t a one or two-time deal. Enjoy the process, and remind yourself why you do these exercises: to support you when you’re exploring the great outdoors.