So you want to run your first marathon?! You’ve come to the right place, because we came up with the ULTIMATE strength test to see if you’re READY to train for this thing!
Don’t get us wrong, we believe in every single one of you!
It is, however, extremely important to understand the kinds of demands training for the marathon entails.
The first thing to understand is that there’s running…and there’s running well.
Your training is only as valuable as the quality of your efforts:
The list goes on.
Today we are focusing on nailing down that form.
A push-up can tell you a lot about what your tendencies or “habits” are likely to be as a runner.
Is your midline stable? Are your shoulders weak? Can you keep your hips stable and square through motion?
The push-up should exactly mirror the arm position you’ll be using in your run stride: the top half of your arm (shoulder to elbow) should be controlled to hang perpendicular to your midline.
Let’s take a look at what you’re working with:
Start strong in a straight arm plank. Shoulders over wrists, hips parallel to the ground, butt squeezed, head neutral (extended straight out from neck, gaze at ground).
From here, rock slightly forward on toes, keeping arms straight.
Now, with elbows staying squeezed into your sides, lower in one piece to the ground.
Keep head neutral, resting chin on ground, without overextending and breaking the line of the spine.
From here, squeeze the butt, keep whole body in one line and push through heels of hands to come back to the straight arm plank.
Was it too hard to come up to the plank in one piece?
No problem! Here’s a modification.
Lower to the bottom in the same exact way.
But at the bottom of the push-up, press hips and knees into the ground.
Using your arms, “snake” only your chest off the ground.
After chest is off, squeeze and lift the lower half of your body to meet your chest at the top of the plank.
Basically, you’ll be coming back to the top of the push-up in two pieces, vs. in one.
If you can manage a set of 10 push-ups (modified is TOTALLY fine!), we believe that you will be capable of hanging onto strong, efficient posture as you work through the many miles of your training plan!
If you cannot yet do 10 push-ups, give yourself a few weeks to build strength in this position before getting started!
This one’s even more simple.
And we’re going to use it to see how well you can stabilize your midline.
In other words, how much do you let your hips and arms unnecessarily swing or twist as you run?
Let’s give it a go:
Start in a straight arm plank, just like you did at the top of the push-up.
The only difference this time is that you’ll separate your legs about a foot apart.
Now you’re going to lift and extend your right arm out in front of you, while keeping your other hand and feet on the ground.
Now take a look at your hips. Are they both still parallel to the ground?
My guess is that to compensate for the one hand coming off, you’re a little twisted, leaning heavily on that left side.
So, what’s the goal of this?
You want to be able to maintain both shoulders and both hips staying parallel to the ground, even when the hand comes off.
Having the strength to hold that good position with less support will translate to a more efficient run technique.
Without strength through your midline, your running will get ugly quickly. The arms start swinging across the front of your body, your hips start sinking, you start kicking the insides of your calves…all of this taking away from your energy to drive the body FORWARD, the direction that you’re running.
Aim to accumulate 30 seconds on each side (right arm extended, then left).
Try to break this into chunks of no less than 6 seconds.
Again, if 30 seconds is impossible to accomplish at this time, take your time and work up to it! Once you’re there, we KNOW you’ll be ready to start training for your first marathon!