Engaging Your Core As You Run And Core Running?

Engaging your core as you run?

Running with the Whole Body book by Jack Heggie

This is the best, and cheapest, place to learn how to explore movement for running. Do the exercises, and you’ll be amazed. In fact, you might discover your core in the process.

Engaging your core? Now, there’s a trick!

Better still, run with your whole body.

Move correctly for safe exercise as you age.

To fix injuries, such as plantar fasciitis.

But what is your core?

Muscles of the coreIt’s difficult to explain what I mean, by engaging your core, but I’ll try.

Don’t think that a bunch of crunches will do the trick. That just overworks one set of abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis. It’ll give you a six pack, but an unbalanced core!

For me, my core is centered around dozens of muscles in and throughout my pelvis, but it links to my whole body.

Engaging my core is more a feeling, than tuning into a defined piece of anatomy.

There are plenty of articles on the core, for instance:

The roughly 30 muscles that connect your legs to your hips, spine, and rib cage,” from John Hanc, Runner’s World.

Thirty muscles? See why I explore my core with feelings – I don’t attempt to control each and every one of these muscles, consciously. I can’t! But when I engage my core correctly, body movement flows more easily.

FitOldDog doing the Pilates 100I was introduced to my core by the Pilates 100. Then I learned more from Continuum.

When I actually listened to my body, there it was!


I was out on a nice evening trail run.

The moon was bright, creating black outlines of the trees against a dark bluish sky.

The trail was nice and soft underfoot. Boy, it’s good to be alive!

FitOldDog in Boston Marathon 2009 shirt

Body awareness training and a great coach, Chris Hauth, got me to Boston. A blast!

As I was running I thought, “What about all that Pilates and Continuum core work I’ve been doing. Can I apply it to my run?” So, I did. I focused on running from my core, engaging each side in synchrony with my limbs, relaxing shoulders, head floating.

It felt so easy to run. Especially on the hills.

When I returned home, I decided to look for articles on core engagement whilst running. To my surprise, I found a site called Core Running. How about that!

I looked their site over, read the blurb, and came across this statement, “Practice smiling as you run.” I’ve heard this before, and it is excellent advice (I couldn’t find it on their new site – remember, I first wrote this post in 2011).

Anything that makes running easier, faster, and more enjoyable is fine with me.

I routinely exercise my core for Ironman training, by simply

  1. Lying on my back.
  2. Flattening my lower back, and holding it flat.
  3. Bending my knees to a right angle, which lifts my feet off the floor.
  4. Rotating my knees, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
  5. Gradually extending my legs, so my heels brush the floor, but with no support from the floor.
  6. Continuing to rotate my knees, while exploring all those many core muscles.

It’s an adventure in internal observation, that you’ll quickly learn from Jack Heggie’s lovely book.

If anyone asks for a short video, I’ll make it. If not, I’ll get back to my animal rights work.

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Wishing you happy trails.



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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.