Be Fit to Run

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Written by: Allison Gaudet MScPT, BSc(Kin), MClScPT(Manip), FCAMPT, AFCI, Registered Physiotherapist

The sun is shining, gyms are closed, and times are currently uncertain. Maybe running is a sport that you have always loved, maybe it’s something that you have always wanted to take up, maybe it’s something you used to do and now have found the time to bring it into your world.


Did you finish last season with sub-50 min 10kms and want to pick up where you started? Have you had a goal of running a half marathon distance?


Running is a sport to be appreciated for so many reasons. The logistics of running are relatively simple: all you need is a pair of sneakers and an open road. In this time of chaos, running is an easy workout to incorporate into your world. 

Some misconceptions about running have been around for decades. Running should not be the only strategy to get fit. You should be fit to run. You have been running since you were approximately 24 months of age and many of have never been instructed on HOW to run. There are certain biomechanics that have been suggested to be optimal. There is no recipe card that works for every single person, but there are general rules. Without addressing some strength or mechanic faults, injuries can occur and then running, one of the only means of physical activity, could be restricted or halted.

Some general tips and tricks

1) Improve your single leg stance ability – statically and dynamically. Are you able to stand on one leg? Traditionally you train on two legs. You lift heavy weight on two legs, you do two-legged body weight exercises but yet you do life on one leg. You walk up and down the stairs on one leg. You walk one foot in front of the other. You run with one leg and then the other. Truly, running is a series of single leg squats. Before you can single leg squat, can you even stand on one leg? When I test single leg balance, overwhelmingly I receive a response of “oh I have bad balance”. My question is, “how is your body supposed to swing legs and arms around a single leg stance, if you can’t stand on one leg on its own?”


2) Make sure you can’t tell which leg is your dominant leg. Do you have one leg that is stronger and has better balance? You want an equal distribution of power and strength on each leg independently for optimal force production and absorption. Two-legged strength training will inevitability make you favour the stronger leg, without even realizing it. Make sure you integrate single leg strengthening into your program.


3) Determine what your goal is for running and then work backwards in the programming. If your end goal is to run 5km in less than 25 min, you ultimately have to put together 5 rounds of 1km runs at 5min/km pacing sequentially. Can you run even 1 km at a 5min/km pace? If not, that’s ok, we just need to start programming intervals that get your speed, power and strength gains to match your goals.

female demonstrating single leg stance exercise

Test for Single Leg Balance

4) Add mobility and stability programming into your routine. If you have better range of motion, you can produce force over a greater area and therefore become more powerful. Only running to get better at running is inefficient. If your goal is to become better at running, you need components of mobility and strength to improve your performance.


5) Core stability is an essential aspect of running fitness. In order to produce proper mechanics and efficient force production, you need a solid foundation. If you are sloppy through your core (hips to shoulder region) there is no solid place to start the force production, mobility, balance and absorption aspects of running. Your legs may cross midline because you lose the strength through your hips to keep them in an optimal pattern or many other mechanic faults can emerge as well, especially during a fatigued state.

woman showing romanian deadlifts with broom at home

Romanian Deadlifts
with at home equipment

women demonstrating bridge march exercise at home

Bridge March

Side Plank Leg Lift

6) Ensure you are stepping lightly during your run. People who stride with heavy steps increase the ground reaction force through their foot, ankle, knee and hip. Even a simple cue such as “run lighter” or “make it so I can’t hear you when you run” can greatly reduce the impact and how much force is taken up into the joints.


7) Be accountable to yourself and to your cheer squad. Surround yourself (virtually-obviously in this time) with a group that you are accountable to. Find a person or a group that you have similar goals with or that you tell your run routine to. Maybe find a virtual training partner. You both go out on runs separately and then message each other to comment on how great or terrible the run was.

The fact that you are even starting or continuing a running routine in this time is so commendable. Remember that no matter how fantastic or difficult the run feels, you are better than where you were before because you got out to move. Even if it was the toughest training session mentally and you walked more than you ran, you still are better than before you started. Walk-run programs are a fantastic training tool. One runner who I admire so much runs and competes full marathons with a 10min run/1min speed-walk pace. She is a strong runner and out-performs so many other steady-state runners because she pushes her limits for that 10 min, lets her body recover, and then does it again. Her interval-marathon training and competition keeps her performing successfully year after year. Remember, there isn’t one recipe card or one training tool that is universal. Make it fit you. Make it match what you want. Keep moving and stay healthy.

Follow along with Allison

Watch the video to see the full exercises and get yourself fit to run

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