In 2016 I ran the London Marathon. It was an amazing achievement, but if I ran it again I would do it differently. The main change I would make would be to add a specific strength and mobility plan to work alongside the running plan.

Why should I add in prehab exercises?

Cross training in running is important. It is not all about the miles. Building adequate strength in your legs, hip muscles and core will help how you load and impact from the ground up, and having good upper back mobility will help with the propulsion phase of each step you take.

This type of training is often called Prehab…similar to Rehab but done as a way to help prevent injuries that occur from overuse, underuse or fatigue.

During my training I was also going through a busy time in my life and I was, let’s say, a little disorganised. I didn’t factor in the timings for all of the running and strength sessions I had planned to do. This meant I favoured the longer runs instead of strength work and intervals instead of mobility.

Along the way I experienced tendon pain, hip pain and fatigue…it was a tough few months.

I did finish the marathon. Just.

It wasn’t my best achievement, and I knew that in my heart I did not plan my training as best as I could have.

london marathon

Fast forward to now and I am starting to run again, and this time I am doing things differently. I add in my own prehab sessions into my week, as well as getting out for the runs, and it is making a difference in how I am feeling during and after running.

Where to start with your personal prehab programme

When it comes to prehab it is often difficult to know the what, when and how’s which can often lead to it being left out. Prehab requires more thorough planning than simply running, and when time is precious the quicker option is always the one we choose (think back to my marathon story!).

prehab for running

Here are a few ideas to help get you thinking about what type of exercises to add into your prehab sessions:

Foot and Ankle

It is always good to start from the ground up and with your foot and ankle. Mobilising this area and adding some strength into the deep ankle muscles will help you manage the load from the ground. Try exercises such as calf raises and dynamic calf stretch.

Hips

Your gluteal muscles (hips) are the strongest muscles of the body and important for running. Add in exercises such as lunges and single leg squats into your prehab program to get these muscles working well for you.

Upper Back

Your upper back mobility is important for how you use your upper body to help with each running step. Try exercises that involve upper back rotation and extension. I love this work on the foam roller!

self foot massage

If you want to get some more ideas, instructions and exercises to add into your personal prehab running programme, I would love to help you.

Here is a link to my 10 favourite prehab exercises and how to implement them into your training. Just click on the link to download: