Any athlete should strive for a balanced and strong body. Obviously, this is easier said than done. It takes time, energy, discipline, and consistency. This is especially true for runners. I (Allison) have been a lifelong runner. My father set me down this path shortly after I learned how to walk. We spent countless weekends at road races; me watching and he running marathons.
About seven years ago, I started teaching Barre classes, a a core strength class that uses a ballet bar. It was obvious from the start that these hard classes would strengthen my body and help with running.
I have had several runners who decided that Barre classes needed to be a regular part of their training. So many great runners are guilty of doing nothing but running, which is often the rate-limiting factor in their success. It takes more effort to drive to a Barre workout rather than run out the front door, but it is a necessity. Not to mention the classes are a blast!
Here is how Barre classes help my running.
- Barre classes focus on strengthening core muscles. Core strength is used to run faster. (Just pick up a Runner’s World or ask any running coach.)
- Barre classes incorporate stretching. By taking 2 classes a week you get consistency.
- Here is one benefit you may not have thought of: foot strength. Stronger feet, ankles, and toes will undoubtedly help your running.
- Barre also helps improve balance. Many of the exercises in Barre are done along the ballet bar in releve (on the toes). It takes a ton of balance to hold these poses with one hand. For an added challenge these positions can be done hands free!
- For part of Barre class, we use light weights for arm strength for an overall upper body strengthening.
- I believe that barre classes have a meditative quality. I know we play really loud music and you are working really hard, but the classes have a definite inward focus. The small range of motion paired with the difficulty of the class challenges your mental focus.
- You will stretch at the end of class. I am post-run stretching kind of runner. I see you out there thinking the last time I stretched it was this many years ago when my friend made me do it.
- As a runner, my body gets plenty of high impact, joint rattling exercise. Barre is very kind to my body.
- Barre classes help my running stamina. My body is more efficient when I run because it is balanced and stronger.
And if that doesn’t convince you to run to the barre, maybe this stat will between 30 – 65% of runners will get injured within a given year. Barre strengthens muscles, forces you to cross train making you less prone to injury and it’s especially good for eliminating shin splints and reducing IT band injury.
One last try at convincing you some words from Runner Client Katie, will:
“As a marathon runner (a slow one, but a finisher of 8 of them!) I always hated strength training and did the bare minimum. After one class, I was hooked! The 3 locations and variety of classes gives me a ton of options to supplement my running and they have even helped me recover from a shoulder surgery.”
RIDDLE ANSWER: My watch! (Did you get it right?)