This picture gets me every time

  When many people decide they want to lose weight and get in shape, running is one of the first things they turn to. I mean all you have to do is get out and run? You can do it anywhere, doesn't cost anything, and it's good for you right? Monetarily it might not cost much, but you will pay in other ways if you do it incorrectly. Running is actually an advanced exercise! It has been estimated that 80% of runners will become injured in a year's time. These aren't all major things that cause surgery, but can include painful things like: stress fractures, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc... It is the misnomer that anyone can run that gets people into trouble. There are several factors that play into why these injuries occur. -Improper foot wear -Poor running form -Overuse/Not progressing at a proper rate (trying to go too far, too soon) Those are all very viable options, but I truly believe most of the injuries are caused by a lack of strength. If you break down what running a mile actually is, you are basically  doing 1500 single leg plyometric exercises (think hopping on one leg). If a trainer made you do that, wouldn't you think he was crazy? An area that is commonly lacking in strength and causes injuries are the glutes. Those butt muscles we all love so much. A common sign of weak glutes muscles is when the knees "cave in" (move in towards each other) while squatting, jumping, and running. Imagine the strain you are putting on your knees to have them cave in thousands of times on your 2 mile run. Stand up right now and then squat down into your chair while watching your knees. id they cave in? Either way, you can check out this video and article about to Get a Better Butt. That will be the first place to start. What about the rest of your body? If you starting a strength training program today, I will give you the simplest way to get started. A well respected fitness professional named Paul Chek identified 7 movements that every human should be able to do efficiently to prevent injury. Those "Primal Movements" are: 1. Squatting 2. Lunging 3. Pushing 4. Pulling 5. Twisting 6. Bending 7. Locomotion (walking, jogging, sprinting) If you were going to build a strength program from scratch to improve your running, I would pick one exercise from each of the first 6 movement patterns. Some are easier to figure out than others. Here is an example of a bodyweight only strength training program for runners: 1. Bodyweight squat 2. Walking lunges 3. Pushups 4. Pullups, assisted pull-ups. If you are not strong enough to do full pull-ups, don't have anyone to assist you, then try getting on a box or step and hanging for as long as you can from the pull-up bar or even the monkey bars at a playground. 5. Anti-rotation exercise- Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands together at chest level, have someone push on the side of your hands. Do not let them move your hands. 6. Reaches- Stand up tall with feet together, while bending at the waist, reach both arms forward so your arms end up on the sides of your head. As you bend forward, your left leg will be planted in the ground, and your right leg will come off the ground and go behind you. The object is to get your body parallel to the ground   If you are constantly getting hurt when you start a running program, you may need to ditch the running for awhile and get stronger. Your running will be more efficient, your injuries will go down, and you get to go around flexing all the time. Wins all around.