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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

Core Training for Runners

For all these exercises start with 8-10 reps and build to 12-15 reps, rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice more. So you do three sets of each exercise. For those where you hold the movement start at 30 seconds and build from there.

Focus on good form, if you are unable to keep to the form cues then stop. Do the exercises slowly and with control, this is more effective than a fast approach and will mean you are more likely to be doing them right!

If you can it’s useful to have a mirror nearby so you can check your form for the exercises.


  • Lie on the floor on your front. Position your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor and hands together

  • You then lift your hips and move into a plank, the easier option is with the knees still on the floor. The more challenging option is rising up to be on your toes

  • With either option you want the muscles in the bum and tummy to be engaged (imagine pulling your tummy button back towards your spine) and hold the position steady for up to 30 seconds to start with

  • If this hurts in your lower back then stop. Aching shoulders, bum and tummy are fine!

  • Imagine your head and feet driving in opposite directions and make sure your bum is in a straight line with your shoulders, not lifting or dipping. A mirror is handy to check side on.

Side Plank

  • Lie on your side on the floor, lift your shoulders up and have your elbow under the shoulder supporting your chest.

  • Straighten your legs and lift the hips and knees so you are in a straight line feet to head

  • You can bend the knees and keep them on the floor as an easier option

  • If the on the feet version feels too easy rotate the shoulders and hips to bring your hand under your chest for a few repetitions

Chest raises

  • Lie on your front and place your hands on the floor out to the side of and level with your shoulders.

  • Engage your core by pulling your belly button back towards your spine

  • Keep looking at the floor and engage the glute muscles in your bum to lift the chest and hover the hands of the floor pulling your shoulder blades together behind you, slowly lower back down

Swim Kick

  • Still lying on your front rest your arms on the floor under your head and engage your tummy muscles by pulling your belly button back towards your spine.

  • Squeeze your bum muscles and flutter kick your legs like you are doing the front crawl swim stroke to lift and lower each leg off the floor alternately

Crunch with twist

  • Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor

  • With your fingers lightly against your temples and elbows wide lift your chest and head up and across towards your left knee, lower back down

  • repeat the movement to the right knee and lower, keep repeating

Toe taps

  • Still lying on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor

  • Switch on your tummy muscles by pulling your belly button back towards your spine. Make sure your whole back is flat against the floor throughout this exercise, that’s key!

  • Lift each leg in turn so that your thighs are at right ankles to the floor and your shins are parallel to the floor

  • Slowly tap one foot to the floor and raise back to the start position, alternate with the other leg.

  • Your spine should remain flat on the floor throughout, with no arching in the lower back.

A video version of this set of exercises can be found here

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