I would like to know if you could direct me toward some information on resistance training and stability ball work for a client wanting to improve his marathon times. Thank you.
To design a strength training program for your client to improve his run time, we must first ask what his run time is currently? Is he new to marathons (therefore, there's room for improvement) or has he reached his genetic max? I will guess that this person has probably run a few years in 10k or half marathon distances, so the run related training base is adequate. Now, you'll need to add some strength and conditioning "stuff" to it.
As usual, the concern for any athlete or person exercising is not doing too much, too soon. If that thing called over training syndrome creeps into your life, it can make training a terrible experience. Marathoners are determined people by nature, or they would pick a different event. With this in mind, we must focus the "extra" training to exercises that will benefit his goal without causing an excessive training effect. This can be accomplished by aiming at things that will help keep him healthy from all the pounding a person takes when marathon training.
Your resistance training should focus on torso strength, muscle balance and flexibility. Torso strength deals with the abdominal, spinal muscles and hip musculature. Muscle balance focuses on the relationship between the following muscle groups: hamstrings, quadriceps, anterior tibial area, posterior tibial area, abdominals, spinals and the shoulder complex.
There are many acronyms in the exercise world. One you are probably familiar with is Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID).The thing to remember about SAID is the adaptation part. Without adaptation, over training may occur and a decrease in performance.
I would like to refer you to our web site for exercises aimed at the above mentioned muscle groups and exercise ball routines. They are excellent. However, a word of caution on putting them to practice;
- Start with one to two sets at five to 10 reps
- Use light weight and work on range of motion
- Limit the number of exercises to one primary muscle group to start
- Add reps before resistance. Get up to 20 to 25 reps and then add weight
- Only lift twice a week for serious runners
- Add one set every two to three weeks with four sets max, using no more than five exercises for the training session
- Have two exercise routines, one for the first day (Monday) and another for the second day (Friday)
Give this a try and always listen to your client. If he is tired, decrease the overall work load. If he is ready to hammer, give him a little more.
- Rasch,P. and R.Burke. Kinesiolgy and Applied Anatomy: the Science of Human Movement. 6th edition.(1978) Lea & Febiger
- Wilmore,J. and D.Costill. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics.(1994) Champaign,Ill.