This is quite common among runners and there are lots of articles and videos out there on activating your glutes before a run. There is a very good chance that you could be wasting your time as it’s unlikely to make any difference to how you run.
There are more and more runners out there I meet in person or online who complain that their glutes are weak (usually as a result of a diagnosis connected to an injury) or that their glutes aren’t firing when they run. This is understandable that when there is an injury, tests can often highlight a weakness in the glutes as well as tightness or weakness in other muscles as well. The natural reaction is to start performing a series of exercises that will strengthen the glutes, or whatever muscle group has been highlighted as the weakness, but is this the right course of action? I would say yes AND no.
Why are your glutes weak?
I say yes here as we need our muscles to be strong to support the activity we do but I would be more inclined to say no as I don’t believe that exercising a muscle group in this circumstances will actually solve the problem. The reason I say this is that no-one is asking the big question, WHY have the muscles become weak in the first place especially with an exercise like running which requires these muscles to perform the activity? It’s impossible to move forwards without activating your glutes but we tend to take things at face value rather than look for the cause. There can be many reasons but the biggest one for me is occupation or lifestyle.
The majority of us now spend most of our days sat behind a desk then sat in a car/bus/train to get to and from work and this often results in poorer mobility at our hip joints. If we look at the average runner and compare to the likes of Mo Farah, you will notice far less range of movement at the hips when they run.