• Geoff

Run Basics Series - 6. Core Stability

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Running requires a strong core to stabilize you. Van Run Club

Recommending a strong core is cliché. However, I think core stability is something we have a general idea of without refined knowledge of how the core works (Muscle Refinement for further discussion). It's like knowing that our cars need a well serviced engine to run properly; however, most of us couldn’t tinker with it to improve it. Additionally, we can’t hire someone to adjust our core to make us run more efficiently (although personal trainers can guide us. If we aren’t attuned to our core, that guidance is less effective).

Primary and Secondary Run Muscles

I want to talk about the muscles we use to run. To be clear, I don’t have a degree in anatomy, so this is my understanding from my years of grilling my physios, medical friends and teammates. I like to group run muscles into two categories, this is not a common grouping, but it is something that I refer to in my blog series:

  • Primary Muscles - They give you the power and force to go forward (ie. Quads, calves)

  • Secondary Muscles - They provide the stability so that the primary muscles push forward efficiently. Said another way, they hold your midsection tight, so that you don’t wobble around. This may be hard to believe, but running like a baby giraffe is not efficient. Crazy, right?

Why Core Matters

Let’s think about this in an analogue. Take either a car piston or a door hinge (keep in mind analogues are not perfect, this one is meant to highlight the importance of an engaged core).

If a piston or a hinge is too loose, power is lost or the hinge works inefficiently. When you engage your core, it holds your form so you don't lose power or work inefficiently.

If a piston or a hinge is too tight, the friction can cause loss of power and efficiency or slow the movement down. When you engage your core too much, you become rigid and loose efficiency.

This analogue is to help you understand the balance you want when engaging your core during a run. But don’t take my word for it, go for a run and try it out. See how it feels when you don’t engage your core at all or when you over engage it.