Stability for Runners

By Physiotherapist Cailen Gothard

So you’re a runner.

Maybe you’re the kind who enjoys a morning jog along the river in the morning, or maybe you’re gearing up for your first (or fourteenth) marathon. No matter your level of experience, there’s one thing we all have in common: a desire to “go one better”. There are plenty of ways of doing this… expensive new socks, fancy running pants… but what about strength training?

Over the past few years, new research has been coming out to support the use of stability and resistance training as a way of improving running performance.

So much so, that when compared side-by-side with a control group, runners who also completed a stability program focusing on core strength had an improvement in their 5k time of 47 seconds (compared with 17 seconds).

Okay, have I got your attention yet? Great.

“Core stability” is a term that gets thrown around fairly frequently in the exercise world, but what does it mean in the running world?

The “core” refers to a corset-like band of muscles that supports your trunk and pelvis. It might also be referred to as your “lower abs”, “T-Zone”, or “deep stabiliser muscles”.  In runners, this is particularly important as it helps to reduce excessive pelvic movement. If you find that your hips move from side-to-side when you run, or you get sore on the outsides of your legs, this likely applies to you! As well as being less efficient (since your body is creating unnecessary movement), a weak core also leaves you at risk of injuries as your surrounding muscles work to make up for the lack of stability from your purpose-built postural muscles.