Running is great for toning your legs and bottom, there is no doubt about it. But sometimes it's a good idea to cross training and to mix up your training to get an overall workout, keep your core strong and prevent any muscle getting over-worked or left out altogether. Strength training can enhance your running performance immensely. I swear by circuit training, which I do twice a week. It is a great full body workout, toning all the major muscle groups while giving your legs a change from the pounding of regular running. Salt Ayre Sports Centre offer different levels of circuit training to cater for everyone. One class - Lower body blitz is one of my favourites as it works the thighs, glutes and hamstrings really hard, strong legs is what you need to tackle the hilly runs.
Not only does a toned tummy look good, it helps you run better too! A strong core can be almost as important as strong legs when it comes to running. As well as decreasing the risk of injury it helps your legs to work more powerfully and effectively. World record holder Paula Radcliffe advises on the importance of a strong core. "It's so important, The stronger the core, the more likely you are to hold you form and less likely to get injured". Without a strong core problems can occur in the knees, hamstrings and lower back because there will be too much unwanted movement which puts extra pressure on your joints. Strong muscles help to absorb more impact when running.
As I am trying to get rid of a persistent injury in my calf I decided to write about this and other injuries runners often encounter at some time in training. In the last few years I have suffered a few injuries, most seriously a stress fracture in my tibia and an ankle broken in two places (after tripping on a twig!). Other injuries have been short lived including calf strains, achy quads and tight glutes resulting in hip pain.