Training for Sprinter and Marathoner
By Alexius Chua
May 4, 2015
Question: When you run, do you prefer to -
…A) run short or B) long distance?
…A) speed through the course in one short burst or B) pace consistently for the long haul?
…A) cross the finishing line as fast as you can or B) trot through the course for an hour or two while enjoying the scenery?
There’s a major difference between how a sprinter and marathoner runs and this distinction affects their training regime and which muscle groups to concentrate on. If you choose A), then strength, speed and power would be core in your training programme. If you choose B), endurance and stamina should be the focus of your workouts.
We came up with three frills-free exercises for you – the sprinter or the marathoner – to up your game for the next race!
1. Bunny Hop (height and distance)
There’s no other exercise as simple (and fun) as the Bunny Hop. There are two types – skipping for heights and skipping for distance. For heights, spring up as high as possible and pump your arms for each skip. Do as many as you can within a 1 - 3 minutes time-frame.
For distance, try springing forward as far as possible for around 20 – 40 meters, walk back and return to the drill. Be sure to feel the tension on your leg, calf and ankle muscles for each jump.
2. Walking Lunge
Image sourced from Got-Crossfit.com
Sprinters require explosive muscles that can work fast and utilize all their power anaerobically and the walking unge effectively targets this area. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg and with the other leg, flex the knee and drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Make sure your upper body remains upright and your front knee is directly above the ankle. To lift, drive through the heel of your front foot and extend both knees to raise yourself back up. Try to complete as many rounds as possible within 25 minutes.
3. Deltoids Raise
Image sourced from MuscleAndPerformancemag.com
You'd think that sprinters should just work on their legs, but shoulders are also a sprinter’s key asset for lightning fast action. They create a forward motion that adds to the momentum, that’s why sprinters swing their arms during a race. Begin this exercise in a standing position; hold a dumbbell on each side, bending your elbows slightly. Then raise the weights directly in front of you to shoulder height. Return the weights to your side. Try this for 4 sets of 8 repetitions.
1. High-powered bike intervals
Image sourced from IndoorsFitness.com
The ability to keep on running without losing steam is essential for all marathoners. High-tension pedaling helps to build stamina and works your leg muscles without impacting your joints. Here’s a tip to make your next cycling regime in the gym more challenging – stand up and pedal at high tension for 30 seconds, followed by a one minute seated, lower intensity pedal. Keep alternating between high and low intensity for around 20 – 30 minutes.
2. Dead Lift
Image sourced from WorkOutLabs.com
Who says long distance runners don’t require strength training? Training for strength enhances mobility and flexibility, reduces risk for injury and boost overall running performance. Dead ifts work all your muscles with the heaviest weight possible. Start by standing with the bar above the centre of your feet. Grab the bar handle so your arms are vertical to the floor and bend your knees until your shins touch the bar. Lift your chest and as you pull, keep the bar close to your body, hold for a few seconds before returning to the first position again. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 repetitions.
Proper form is especially important for this exercise. To avoid injury, ensure that you don’t lean back or round your back.
3. Hip Thrusts
Image sourced from Fitbie.com
Your glute and hip muscles control the legs during the running stride and are accountable for ensuring that legs function the way they were designed to move. Unfortunately, these areas are weakened due to the fact that the majority of our time are spent sitting down. Try this exercise to reboot this underutilized area back into its proper state: lie on your back with your weight on your upper back. Lift one leg so your weight is all on one leg and your back. Lower your butt close to the ground and thrust upward by activating your glutes. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.
Want to shed some time off your running timing? Learn more about the SAFRA Running Club!
Join us for a day of double fun at SAFRA Celebration Run & Ride, the first-of-its-kind running event complete with thrilling rides! Early bird registration starts 5 May. More details soon!