Be the Captain of Your Ship
Over the past few years, strength training has grown in popularity with the running community and more runners have FINALLY resigned themselves to getting the gym and getting stronger. Strength training not only improves power, speed, and overall performance, but also builds tissue resilience and load capacity. When our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones are primed to handle increased loads, we are injured less frequently and experience less pain.
The stronger we are, the more force we put into the ground with each step. More force=running faster. However, if we are unable to “control” our force, or use it efficiently, we fatigue more swiftly, our running economy suffers, and we again become primed for injury. This is where “stability” training comes into play.
In fact, the USA Track & Field defines stability as “The stability of an object is its degree of resistance to toppling over.” Every time our foot makes contact with the ground while running, we transfer force into the ground, and the ground in turn applies an equal force into our foot, and up our leg. Stability is our ability to control these “ground reaction forces” and keep ourselves upright as we continue propelling ourselves forwards.
Thus our “ship” can be strong and fast, but we must be able to “captain” and control our ship & strength to prevent injury and improve our “fuel” economy.