Pushups The next time you head out for a run, take a look at your form. Holding your body tall and your head high, your shoulders down and tucking in your abs will get you the thumbs up from running pros. Unfortunately, when we tire, we tend to forget these points, says John Stanton, founder of the Running Room. “When you fatigue during a run, a lot of times your upper body will crunch down into itself. To prevent that, you’ve got to maintain good arm and shoulder strength and strength in your chest. Pushups target all that.” For beginners, he recommends starting with two or three pushups after every run and adding one pushup a week so until you reach 25. “You’d be amazed how it helps your overall toning and body conditioning,” he says. “It will also improve your enjoyment of running because you’ve improved your running form.”
Squats While it’s true you have to run to become a better runner (duh), not all races are won by logging extra miles. Resistance training helps to build strength and power. Squats target quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and the glutes. For beginners, says Stanton “the easiest way to do squats is to get a chair. Stand and then hover above the chair – don’t let your butt touch it.” Once you’ve perfected that movement, remove the chair and try to squat even lower during your sets. For extra burn, try plyometric squats: jump off the floor when your rise out of the squat.
Ab work Crunches, sit-ups, planks – you name it, working on your core will help your running. The reason? It goes back to Stanton’s point about pushups. If your body hunches over when you run, you won’t be able to breathe as well and your performance will be affected. “The stronger you are everywhere, the better off you are,” says Colleen Parsons, from the University of Calgary’s marathon program.