BTTC Trainer Piper Shares Her Three Essential Running Exercises

by Piper Renard, BTTC Training Instructor

Ski to Sea is almost upon us, and I’m excited to share 3 essential exercises for runners that I personally use to prepare myself for races.

Although strength training isn’t always included in runners’ training programs, it is the backbone of real endurance training!

Race preparation especially should always include running-specific strength exercises to help you run faster, further, and help to prevent injuries. It is also important to identify certain areas of weakness or past injury that need to be strengthened or supported by different types of exercise. Running truly is a full-body activity!

Without further ado, here are 3 awesome, essential exercises to get you going:

1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Targeted muscles: Quads, glutes, calves, core

Standing in a lunge position with your back foot resting on a (1-2 foot) bench or box. Lower down into a lunge by bending your front knee taking care that your knee is not moving forward past your toes. When front thigh is parallel to the ground, hold for a few seconds before coming back up to a neutral position.

Repeat 10-15 times on each leg.

*Optional to hold dumbbells in each hand for added weight.

2. Clamshells

Targeted muscles: gluteus medius (extremely important for runners!)

Begin by lying on your side with legs together and your head resting on your arm. Then bending both knees up into a 45-degree angle. It helps to use an exercise or yoga mat so you can line up your back body with side of mat ensuring correct posture. Without moving your hips or upper body, you will then slowly raise your top knee up while keeping your feet together (at least somewhat) until you feel the exercise in your hips. Slowly and with control, return to original position. It should resemble a clamshell opening and closing.

Do 2-3 sets of 15 on each side.

3. Founder

Targeted areas: hips (the biggest joint in your body), glutes, lumbar

Stand with your legs a little wider than shoulder length with feet parallel to each other. Begin to anchor your lower body and pelvis to the ground by “gripping” the ground with your feet while shifting your weight back into your heels. Pull your hips back behind your heels while stabilizing spine and keeping knees unlocked, then bring arms to your sides, thumbs facing out/away from body. Keep your chest open and neck in line with spine. Extend arms in front of you, bringing fingertips to touch. Slowly start to elevate arms in front of you as high as you’re able (this is very similar to chair pose in yoga) and hold for 3-5 breaths or 10 seconds.

Repeat or add into your warm up sequence.

One last tip! For runners of all kinds - from competitive to occasional - I highly recommend reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall as well as Running with The Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. They are both beautiful, inspirational and also informative.

See you at the BTTC Booth at the Ski to Sea finish line in Marine Park!