All runners will benefit from having a strong core. This doesn't mean you have to have a ripped six-pack, oh no! The core goes a lot farther than doing a handful of crunches.
A stronger core for all athletes will be hugely beneficial as it will help improve running form and speed.
The biggest benefit of having a strong core helps setting down a solid foundation for the rest of the body's strength to improve.
The Core - is made up of the chest, back, abs, obliques just to name some. When running, core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking & thus, less excess energy expended. Core strength also significantly improves balance, meaning that you react a little quicker if you go over slightly on your ankles.
Core strength for distance runners is especially important, as you start to fatigue, your form begins to suffer. Poor form/posture not only slows you down but could potentially lead to injuries.
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