How good is your balance. Does it matter when it comes to running? The definition of running is to have a suspended phase where you have both feet off the ground – and by association, most of your running is only done with one foot in contact with the floor.Good balance and stability on one leg is the key to injury free running Click To Tweet
A simplified way of looking at running then, is that it is a series of single leg hops from one leg to the other. This then, is why being able to balance and be stable is a really useful skill to master.
Can you stand on one leg? Can you do it without wobbling?! You might not be injury prone (fingers crossed) but if you can’t hold a rock solid single leg balance – without putting your arms out for support – then you may be losing a reasonable amount of power.
Improving Your Balance
Try this: stand on one leg as in the image above. Concentrate on maintaining good posture – lengthen your neck and stand tall, and squeeze your buttocks to help control your pelvis. If you are balancing on your right leg, try pressing a finger into the side of your glutes to help focus on switching those muscles on. It’s your glutes that will help keep you upright, stop you wobbling and keep your hips level and not dropping down.
If you find this is easy – or you progress to the point where this is, try closing your eyes while you balance or adding in a small knee bend. You only have to introduce a small amount of movement to make balance a challenge again.
As an exercise for helping to strengthen and improve your running, this is a really easy one to fit into your day; you don’t even need to make special time for it. You can try balancing on one foot while you brush your teeth, cook/wash up, or if you are stood waiting in a queue (maybe make sure you are reasonably stable for this last one!). I like to do 2-3 lots of 30 seconds a day on each leg, just maintaining that proprioception and stability. I’ll do one eyes open, one with my eyes closed, and the third just doing slight knee bends.
Finally, if you want something a little more advanced, there are a multitude of different single leg exercises. Here is one of my favourites!
As always, I encourage your comments, experiences, and questions about cadence and technique in the comments section. See what’s up next week for our #RunFormFriday tip! For more in depth understanding on how to put this into practise, get in touch and we’ll see how we can help!