Hannah Kirkman, our senior coach in the Southwest of England addresses the questions that what many runners are asking regarding the core; what actually is it and how do we train it?

Your running core

 The core, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely… quite a lot actually.

 As humans, we stand and walk on two feet, head balanced on top of the tall tower of our spinal column. Something we take for granted, but which is no easy task to achieve. Ask any toddler.

 To give us the freedom to move in this upright position, we’re not solid bone between ribcage and pelvis. Instead, our core muscles act as a ‘pseudo-skeleton’, helping to stabilise the spine, protect our vital organs, and keep those same organs, as well as bodily fluids, where they’re supposed to be, while we walk, run, jump, dance, or whatever.

 And the core is more than just a bit of scaffolding to hold us upright. It’s also smart. Our deep core muscles are packed full of sensors that are constantly telling our central nervous system where we are in space and how we’re moving. So when we suddenly need to swerve to avoid tripping over a tree root, it can step in to stabilise us before our conscious mind has even had time to register what’s going on.

 In running, we up the ante, demanding of our body that it balances on one leg and then the other, over and over in rapid succession. Without integrity in our structure, we collapse, losing efficiency and potentially risking injury. Just watch runners at the end of a marathon to see what happens when core muscles get tired.

 And ChiRunners? We ask even more from our core: to hold us relaxed and stable as we subtly fall forward, so we can cooperate with gravity and useless leg work to move us. Lose our structure, and we’re back to pushing and pulling with our legs.

 Read the full article on Hannah’s website…



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