Each workout has been broken down in to the following segments;
Warm up and Dynamic Stretching Series
Recent research has validated the benefits of a comprehensive dynamic stretching warm-up as opposed to the traditional static stretching routines. Some research even indicates that static stretching before a running event can actually decrease the ability of the muscles to generate the power needed to perform at peak levels. The benefits of a comprehensive dynamic warm up include:
- Elevation of the core body temperature
- Increased heart rate in preparation for activity
- Encouraged dynamic flexibility by taking the major muscle groups through their entire range of motion
- Stimulated neurological feedback loops that help with force generation and dynamic joint stability
- Primed central nervous system by engaging the neurological synapses that will be firing during training.
Stability Training and Neuromuscular Training
The intent of this portion of the session will be to increase the overall stability of the entire kinetic chain (feet-ankles-knees-hips-pelvis-core). Most of the work will be done in single leg standing positions and will be done on unstable platforms, such as foam pads, balance boards, and half foam cylinders.
Agility Training and Plyometrics
The agility training will help develop overall strength and stability around the lumbopelvic girdle and core musculature. It will also increase the speed that the runner will be able to drive their knees up and forward in preparation for their next stride.
Plyometric training addresses the efficiency of running. The more a runner is able to harness his or her elastic potential in their muscles the more efficient their running stride will become, which means they will be able to move faster with less energy.
This is the only portion of the Strength and Conditioning program that adds an element of intensity. The intent of the strengthening component of the program is to increase power, primarily around the hips. Research indicates that an important aspect of running faster over long periods of time is developing the ability to put more force into the ground every time your foot hits the ground. In the strengthening portion of the program some common power development techniques are used (some modified for runners) to help develop and increase strength and power throughout the entire body. Most of the strengthening is done with low weights and high reps. Some examples of the strengthening exercises include;
- Body weight squats
- Dead lifts
- Single leg dead lifts
- Overhead squat
- Overhead lunges
- Squat press (thrusters)
- Weighted step ups
This portion of the strengthening component is done at lower levels of intensity and the intent is to target and strengthen the smaller muscles that runners notoriously neglect in their every day training. This is where a lot of the injury prevention exercises are performed; eccentric calf raises, lateral hip stabilization exercises, etc.
Core strength and stability cannot be emphasized enough when talking about athletic performance enhancement. Core weakness will translate to weakness throughout the entire system, and core instability translates to running inefficiency. During this period of the training we focus all of our attention on increasing the strength and stability of all the muscles between the ribs and the pelvis.
Stretching and Foam Rolling
This is the final portion of each session and is invaluable. Maintaining the health of the soft tissues for a runner is vital for decreasing the potential for injury and improving the ability to perform at a high level over the course of an entire season.