The rate of force development, commonly called power, is crucial
to many sport performances. Running athletes develop power by
generating the maximum amount of force over the shortest period of
time. The product of stride length (force applied) and stride
frequency (motion) will determine running speed. To optimize
performance in running it takes mobility and strength. One of the
best ways to increase mobility and strength to specifically carry
over to running is to use elastic resistance training.
The training principle of specificity requires that you use your
muscles in the same contraction mode and range of motion in
training that you are interested in improving for your skill. Using
elastic resistance like the TurfCordz series can help a runner
develop functional strength that will carry over to increasing
running performance. The properties of elasticity allow for
resistance patterns that are independent of gravity but dependent
upon rate and length of stretch of the cord. In addition, Cords
have the advantage of applying resistance in multiple planes of
unrestrained movement patterns. When athletes engage in varied
speed drills the resistance also accommodates so muscles can work
in the same movement pattern and joint angles specific to running.
This accommodative property occurs with both slow speed and high
speed training. The cord can be used for explosive start drills, or
even with performing isometric holds in positions when the band is
stretched; for example lunge positions) . Ultimately the resistance
can be tailored specifically to the area of strength weakness the
runner may need to improve.
Running uses a considerable amount of abdominal strength. To
strengthen the abdominals and rotator muscles of the trunk cord
resistance can be used to offset excessive twisting that can occur
due to muscle weakness and prevent the hips and shoulders from
rotating too much during the run. It is very difficult, if not
impossible; to duplicate the exact movements of the legs, hips, and
shoulders used in running with isotonic loads using dumbbells,
barbells, or machines.
Furthermore, the low inertia of the cord mass makes high speed
training a real plus with this type of equipment. Muscles store
energy when undergoing lengthening just like elastic cords. This
type of training is very portable and is not limited to a
gym/fitness setting which makes it ideal for runners who want to
take the cords to the track. Runners can also partner with other
runners and match resistances by alternating each other as the
anchor point on the other end of the cord.
Even though running is considered an aerobic activity runner need
strength to build what experts call a "speed reserve." This reserve
will help give you a burst of speed when you need it most --
something you'll find invaluable when you hit the inevitable "wall"
during a race or marathon.
This type of training also helps reduce the chance of injury. When
you run, your lower body and feet absorb a force up to five times
your body weight every time your heel hits the ground. The
cumulative impact of this constant stress can be devastating if
your body is not conditioned properly. Impact-related injuries are
usually associated with muscle weakness or imbalance. Because
resistance training results in stronger bones and muscle as well as
increased flexibility and stronger connective tissue, it can help
you avoid fatigue related injuries.
Working on specific strengthening exercises along with your
current running program should help you achieve faster race times.
Also you may want to include a variety of lower-back, and upper
body exercises that will improve your strength.