This core workout for runners will improve your 5k time (without having to put your trainers on)

Trying not to leave the house but worried about losing your running progress? This core workout is totally doable from home and will help improve your stability and balance.

Finding the motivation to run is one thing. But when it’s cold, rainy and dark outside, we can’t think of a single thing that would convince us to put our trainers and high-vis jackets on to get those miles in.

It can be frustrating to feel like you’re losing progress on your runs during the winter, having to start all over again come April. Fortunately, there are a couple of things that runners can do to maintain and even improve their progress that don’t involve running at all. 

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Whether you’re a long-distance runner, a sprinter or simply trying to get from the couch to 5k, developing full-body strength, good balance and stability are all important. “When it comes to running, a strong core is one of the main foundations,” says Imo Boddy, a personal trainer and founder of the online coaching service Lift and Run.

“A strong core keeps you dynamic but stable and upright in the torso, which helps with power, efficiency, form and injury prevention,” Boddy tells Stylist.

The core isn’t just the abdominal muscles, as people often assume. It’s actually made up of a number of muscles including the pelvic floor muscles, the transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, erector spinae and diaphragm. Basically, it’s everything between your chest and your hips. And although it’s your legs that get you moving during running, it’s this central part of your body that keeps you stable and strong.

Having a weak core was linked to almost every common running injury in a 2018 study published in the Journal Of Biomechanics. This is because a lack of stability in the torso puts pressure on other parts of the body, such as the back or the knees, forcing the body to rely on what are already fairly weak joints and small muscles.

To help you avoid injury and improve your runs, Boddy has put together a quick and easy core workout that you can do from home, which targets and strengthens the entire core.

Here’s a breakdown of the workout:

40 seconds on, 20 seconds off:

Shoulder taps

In a high plank position, tap the opposite shoulder with your hands, keeping your hips and core stable.

Forearm plank crunches

In a low plank position, touch your knee as close to your elbow as possible, keeping your hips and core stable.

Sprinter sit-ups

Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you and your back stretched out over your head. Sit up and as you do, bring your knee into your chest, alternating knees with each sit-up.

Banded row

Attach a long resistance band to something stable, like a squat rack or a bannister. In a low plank position, loop one hand into the band and pull your elbow towards your chest, then reach forward towards the band.

Banded deadbug

Keeping the long resistance band attached to the stable surface, lie on your back facing away from it and hold the resistance band with both hands, moving slightly away from the surface so there is some resistance. Lift your knees up so your shins are pointing towards the ceiling and then slowly stretch each leg out one at a time.

Rest for two minutes then repeat four times.

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For more workouts and expert tips, head to the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Getty

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