man in yellow tank top running near shore

Small muscles for the long race

I have been doing strength training for the past three years with a personal trainer. He focused on lifting weights to make me stronger. I thought I was doing well – my body had become better toned and I could lift more weight than I ever have been able to. Last year I took up distance running.  I hoped that my hard work in strength training would help me in running. To my surprise, I didn’t make as much progress as I would have liked. I would get tired and I also started to develop heel pain. Over the past few months, I have been working out with a new trainer who is focusing on making me a better runner. His diagnosis – I had focused on my big muscles and had ignored the small muscles in my feet and my back that are very important in stabilizing the core when you run. My body was lop-sided – parts of it were quite strong while other parts were dangerously weak. My new trainer told me that I was risking serious injury if I did not balance my muscle development. Without this balance, there was no way that I could run a marathon. I might make it to a half-marathon, but I would not be able to sustain my pace in a long race.