Core strength training has been one of the new additions to distance running training programs. Advocates believe that a strong core translates to better running and resistance to injury.
Here is the first study I've seen on the subject. Thomas Nesser, an assistant professor of Physical Education at Indiana State University, found only a slight correlation between torso stability and performance (sprinting and strength).
My personal opinion on the subject of core strength training is this- let's test core strength of the top Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners. Until they are found to be significantly stronger than their slower counterparts, I am not buying into the hype.
Alan Webb is the king of core strength training and is now running great, but I suspect his performance can be attributed to his running workouts more than his core workouts.
Fundamental abdominal and back extension strength exercises are probably all most of us have the time for or need. Distance, intervals and proper running form still make up the foundation for better times.
(c) Dave Elger 2007 All rights required.