Ultramarathon runner, Nike trainer and Blackmores Ambassador Bec Wilcock has run some pretty gruelling races, including the 2016 Barkley 100 – a 160km ultra in the USA. She complements her running with a strength routine, stretching and consistent foam rolling. Watch the video below and read on for her tips.
Bec Wilcock’s Top 5 Strength Exercises for Runners
Bec Wilcock’s Top 5 Foam Roller Exercises
Using a foam roller (with your body weight) will allow you to perform a self-massage (or myofascial release) to break up trigger points, soothe tight fascia and help stimulate blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues. I like to foam roll for 10-15 minutes before a strenuous workout, which helps me to “pre-stretch” the tendons, ligaments and muscles.
Calves – Make sure to stretch out your lower leg because the soleus as well as the gastrocnemius muscles help stabilise the ankle and the foot. In order to stretch it out, sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you. Put the foam roller at a 90 degree angle to your right calf, and cross your left leg over your right ankle. Place your hands directly below your shoulders with your fingers pointed towards you, and use them to support your body. Lastly, roll your entire leg from the ankle to the back of your knee.
I love doing this move as it helps to increase my flexibility and mobility. This reduces the contact time for each foot strike and allows me to run faster!
Quads – Lying in a plank position, move the roller slowly under your quads. This can be done with both legs at a time. For a deeper message, increase the pressure by stacking one leg on top of the other and massage one at a time. Remember to take your time to target all your tight spots.
Glutes – Sit on your foam roller and angle your body to one side so that the roller sits comfortably on the muscle between the sit bone and hip bone. Slowly roll in all directions to help accelerate hip flexion and decrease hip extensions. Repeat this on the other side.
Adductors – Overactive adductors is one of the biggest culprits for your knees moving towards the midline of the body during movement. To alleviate this, get into a plank position and bend one knee slightly. Place the foam roller vertically underneath the inner thigh of your bent knee and roll between your knee and groin area.
Illotibial Band and Outer Thigh – “Runner’s knee” is one of the most common running injuries. To prevent it, spend two minutes to properly stretch out your IT band. With your forearm supporting your body, lie on your side with the foam roller under the bottom leg. Cross the other leg over and place the foot flat on the floor. Roll the foam roller from your hip down to just above the knee. Repeat this on the other side.
Always remember: if an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, do not work directly on it. Instead, shift the roller and apply pressure onto the surrounding attachment areas, gradually loosening the entire area up!