Philadelphia Marathon: 5 Core Exercises To Get You Ready For Race Day

May 31, 2024

The Philadelphia Marathon is coming up quick, and if you’re thinking about participating, or are in the midst of training hard to get ready, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement!

While it’s important to make sure that you’re logging miles and taking care of your legs, one muscle group that is often neglected by runners is the core. Your core is the trunk of your body, and ignoring it to spend time on other muscle groups can lead to injuries which may take months to heal. 

In this article, we’ll go over why core strength matters for runners and give you 5 core exercises for runners that will help you get stronger and stay healthy so you can focus on finishing the race!

Why Core Strength Matters for Runners 

Your core, which is made up by the muscles in your abdomen, hips, lower back, and pelvis, plays a fundamental role in maintaining proper running form, stability, and balance. A strong core will benefit marathoners by:

  • Enhances Running Efficiency: A stable and strong core will help with posture and body alignment, both of which are important for reducing energy loss and keeping up endurance on a long run.
  • Prevents Injuries: A stable core distributes the impact of extended running, helping your body deal with the stress of a long marathon. 

5 Essential Core Exercises for Runners 

Here are 5 core exercises that you can do at the gym that all long distance runners should be incorporating into their training cycle!

  • Plank Variations: Plank variations are a cornerstone of building a strong core, and will help you stabilize your body and build a stronger foundation. Forearm planks, side planks, and planks with your legs lifted are all great ways to build a great base, and necessary for almost all core strengthening routines.  
  • Russian Twists: Russian twists target the obliques, which are an essential muscle in regards to all of the twisting motions that come with running. Russian twists can be performed with a weight if you already have a strong core, but doing them with just your hands is perfect for those who are getting started training.
  • Bicycle Crunches: Bicycle crunches engage both the upper and lower abdominals and do a great job of mimicking the way that your legs move up and down while you’re running. They can be incorporated easily into any workout regimen as all you need is a floor! 

Perform Bicycle crunches as sets or to failure, and really try to focus on proper form to get everything out of your movements.

  • Supermans: Supermans are a great exercise to strengthen your lower back, something that can get fatigued when running from all of the rising and falling your body does during a marathon. They’ll also help reduce the risk of injury to your lower back which can be a pain to heal and affect your daily life in a bunch of different ways.

Much like planks, supermans are performed on the floor and are held for a specific amount of time. 

  • Dead Bugs: Dead bugs are a great slow, controlled exercise that will not only build stability but also strengthen your rectus abdominus, which are your deep core muscles.

Dead bugs, much like Russian Twists, should be performed in sets or to failure. Pay particular attention to how quickly you’re performing the movements, as rushing them will make them less effective!

Incorporating Core Exercises Into Your Routine

To reap the benefits of the above exercises, implement them into your routine using the following tips so you’re ready for race day!

  • Frequency: Try and do a core circuit at least 2 – 3 times a week after your normal workout or training session. You can train your core more than that, so if you don’t feel like you’re getting enough out of that many sessions add 1 or 2 more as long as you’re comfortable!
  • Consistency: If you’re someone who already trains or spends a lot of time in the gym, you know that consistency is key to achieving your fitness goals and becoming the best version of yourself. Make these exercises a priority by using a calendar, fitness app, or any kind of reminder to keep you motivated. You’ll be happy you did them when you cross the finish line!
  • Progression: As you work your core more and more, you’ll want to up the number of reps you’re doing, or potentially even add some weight into the mix. Aim to start with 2-3 sets of 15 reps for each core exercise you’re performing, and slowly add more as you get stronger.

Just be careful to know your limits! Core injuries are extremely uncomfortable and can be hard to heal.

Prep for the Marathon at City Fitness 

If you’re planning on running in the Philadelphia Marathon, there’s no better place to train than City Fitness! Whether this is your first big race, or your a seasoned marathoner, City Fitness has everything you need to help you get into the best running shape of your life and help you crush your goals.

Review our class schedule and see if there’s anything that catches your eye at one of our City Fitness locations. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the closest City Fitness to you.

City Fitness is also delighted to offer all newcomers a Complimentary Experience that allows them to come and check out any of our locations for a day at no cost to them. Come take a class and hit up the sauna when you’re done!