Just like driving a car, your running should be capable of switching gears. Learn how to dial into the proper core engagement for running with one simple exercise.
Your core controls how much power you can put out AND sustain, as you run.
Depending on the distance or terrain of your run, the level of this power output (or lack thereof) can make or break you.
So how do you take control of how hard you’re working?
Your core engagement is the amount of tension created in your midsection and central posture.
The higher the tension, the more power and strength you should be able to get from from your legs, hips, glutes, etc to drive the body forward.
On the other hand, the lower that tension, the weaker your form becomes and the less power you have to endure your run.
To gain control over your core engagement, you must first find (and be able to sustain) your maximum level of tension.
The plank position is a simple way to use gravity to force the body into response.
A solid plank position should directly mirror how your body looks when you run:
An engaged core guarantees these details to stay in place.
The moment it relaxes, things fall apart.
So here’s the drill:
Repeat your QUALITY plank hold 3-5 times, with a 30-45 second rest between.
If this is fairly easy, here are ways you can up the intensity:
You’ll repeat for the same amount of time, for the same amount of rounds.
You want to find a version that challenges your core’s max amount of engagement for the entire 30 seconds.
For best results: complete this plank workout twice per week!
Now that you know what your max core engagement for running feels like, you can feather out from it in your running.
Dialing back the engagement to meet your needs is a lot easier than trying to dig up core strength that you don’t have in the first place.
If you’re running a 200 meter sprint, your body should be in high gear, max tension.
If you’re running a flat 5 mile run, dial it back to something in the middle.
If you’re running up a long hill in the middle of your 7+ mile run, find a higher level of tension to support you up the hill, and then dial it back once you hit your downhill.
There should never be an instance when the core is completely turned off.
It’s your engine, so use it to the best of your abilities!