Day 1: No Whining…Just SQUATS!

It’s Day 1 and it’s leg dayScreen Shot 2017-05-31 at 2.17.34 PM!

We already run…that strengthens our legs enough right?

Running does make your legs stronger than if you were just walking or simply sitting on the couch. Whether you are running sprints or distance, you’re building muscular strength and/or endurance, but that is no excuse for not taking better care of your legs with strength training! Especially is you want to keep running on them for years to come!

In fact, of all the things that influence your running, strength training is one of the biggest factors that will impact your health, fitness, and performance.

A lot of runners, both male and female, do weight and resistance training for their upper-body but completely blow off lower-body weight training because they believe that running is enough to strengthen their legs. The reality is, running alone isn’t the best way to strengthen and maintain your legs for life.

Strength training the lower body gives you strength, stability, balance, and added support for running. It can also prevent injury.

The major muscle groups we use in sprinting or distance are the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Your upper body including your arms, shoulders and low back are recruited for momentum and stability and we know our core is what holds it all together. A weak core, which includes our hips, can lead to all kinds of running injuries.

We’ll talk about our core upper body another day….today it’s all about the legs!


Depending on what kind of running you are doing (sprints or distance) you are either conditioning muscular strength or muscular endurance in your legs. Essentially, your body contains 2 different types of muscle fibers:

Type I (Slow Twitch): Your body uses its slow twitch muscle fibers to run distances. Slow twitch fibers aren’t as strong as Type II fibers, but can work for extended periods of time without fatiguing.

Type II (Fast Twitch): These are the muscle fibers you recruit when you are running faster. They are strong and explosive, but fatigue quickly.

We our working our legs in order to strengthen those Type I & Type II muscle fibers and give them the power to fire when we need them.

Day 1 exercises: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Calves – Sets = 2 – 3 x 10

  • Squats
  • Single Leg Balance
  • Pistol Squats
  • :60 Wall Sit

If you are running today, throw in the wall sit immediately after your run when your legs are fatigued. Great time to build strength!

You are probably already familiar with these exercises. They will fire up all the important muscles in our legs when done correctly. Check out the how to videos below for a reminder on form.

Squats: Chances are you’ve done a squat, but have you really done one correctly? Before even grabbing a set of dumbbells or trying a squat variation, watch this video to make sure your form is on point. You’ll learn what the body should look and feel like during a squat and what other exercises can help you master this one correctly. But, most importantly, you’ll be saving yourself from major injury.

Single Leg Balance: Great exercise to strengthen our glutes and lengthen our hamstrings and calf muscles!

Pistol Squats: This is a longer video but a REALLY good one if you’ve never attempted a Pistol Squat before. These are tough…so start high and work your way down to a lower position. Everything little bit counts!

Wall Sit: The wall sit is a really great exercise to target the entire thigh area, your quad, your inner thigh, the back of the leg, the hamstring, and your glutes.

Day 30: Last Day of May!

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We’ve had a great month and the end is here. But it’s not the end of our fitness journey….just another day to work on our goals and shoot for the moon!

Finish strong Crew!

Day 30 exercises:

  • 100 Squats
  • 100 Heel Touches
  • 100 Crunches
  • :60 Wall Sit

Bonus: Today and tomorrow…think about your goals for June. What did you do in May that you can change in June to help you reach your goals? What did you accomplish? Where did you fall short? Tell us how you can be even more accountable in June and make changes to benefit your future! Write a “final May” post and tell us what you loved and what you made the difference for you this month.

Happy Final Day of our May Challenge Crew. Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!

Day 29: Memorial Day Pass

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We’ve all worked very hard this month and today is a day to celebrate those who worked so hard and gave their lives to keep our country free and safe…so today we’re all getting a Memorial Day pass!

Enjoy your family, try to keep the overindulgent eating under control and have a wonderful day!

Don’t worry…we will make up today’s exercises tomorrow!

If you don’t want to double up…you can get todays exercises out of the way today….but don’t stress over it.

Day 29 exercises:

  • 100 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 Burpees
  • :60 Plank

Bonus: Family/Fun Picture Day – I would love to see pictures of your family/fun activities today. Show us how you’re celebrating!

Days 27 & 28: Memorial Day Weekend!

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YAY for a long holiday weekend full of lots of activity, family get togethers….and lots of holiday sweets and treats!

As we take time to remember those who died to give us our freedom, it’s ok to have fun and enjoy ourselves, but keep in mind all the hard work you’ve put in this month and keep your eating in check. I’m not saying you can’t indulge a little…just don’t go crazy. 🙂

And yes…we still have work to do. One of my favorite core exercises is on tap plus a little arm work. Get it done first, then you’ll feel better about letting lose!

Day 27 exercises:

  • Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners
  • 100 Russian Twists
  • 40 Tricep Dips
  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit

Day 28 exercises:

  • 30 Push Ups
  • 100 Russian Twists
  • 50 Squats
  • :60 Wall Sit

Get those miles in and don’t forget to stretch!

7 Key Stretches for Runners

Who’s got a fun Memorial Day race or is putting in some good long runs? Let us know so we can cheer you on! I know Lisa Gibbs has a fun 10 mile race coming up. 1 week post marathon and she is going to stretch out those legs and have a blast! 🙂

Need a reminder “how to” videos for the Russian Twist? Here’s how to do it…this can be done on the floor or a bench, and with or without a weight. Make it it work you!

 

Day 25: Break It Down

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Large asks often look unmanageable when you look at the whole. But when you break it down into manageable pieces, it doesn’t look so scary.

Instead of looking at today’s exercises and thinking, that’s impossible…think of how many times you’ve broken races into smaller segments, work projects into smaller goals, house cleaning into rooms…apply that to today’s workout… and suddenly the impossible…becomes possible.

Day 25 exercises:

  • 50 Burpees (5 sets of 10)
  • 100 Plank Jacks (5 sets of 20)
  • 100 Squats ( 5 sets of 20)
  • :60 Wall Sit

Check out the burpee variation and the “how to” video for plank jacks below.

Make the impossible possible today Crew!

Burpees: I know you are moaning and groaning but remember…nothing is impossible. Check out these combat burpees and do them in place of traditional burpees today, there’s always more than one way to get things done!

Plank Jacks: Great full body exercise that works our arms, core, glutes and legs!

 

Day 24: The Total Package

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 6.07.38 AMA little arms, legs and core….good little full body workout today Crew!

Just for good measure, let’s throw in some hip strength to round out a fantastic hump day!

Who’s sticking with our “No Junk Food Challenge” through the end of the month? Only 7 more days to go!

Day 24 exercises:

  • 30 Push Ups
  • 60 Squats
  • 100 Mountain Climbers
  • 1:00 Wall Sit

Bonus: Modern Moms/Dads Hip Strength!

How to Videos: Push Ups, Squats & Mountain Climbers

Push Ups: Watch Michelle Trapp show us how to get started with beginner push ups and work your way up to full body push ups!

Squats: We squat all the time – doing yard work, picking things up off the ground and just the movement that comes along with sitting, to name a few examples. So building strength in your legs by adding the squat to your exercise routine is a smart way to help prevent injuries while doing your everyday activities.

Mountain Climbers: Great full body exercises with an emphasis on our all important core!

Day 23: Lock and Load…It’s Crunch Time!

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 4.42.44 AMI’ve written about this topic numerous times….so you tell me…why do runners need a strong core? How will strengthening this area help you during a race or long run?

Does “Tiny Tuesday” and crunch day give you added incentive to make this a good day all around? Remember, Tiny Tuesday means watching your portion sizes and even though we’re past the 21 days of our “No Junk Food Challenge” it’s a great idea to incorporate this into your routine today too.

Core work, small portion sizes, and no junk food make for a REALLY good day! Can you commit to a healthy Tuesday?

Day 23 exercises:

  • 100 Crunches
  • 60 Side Lying Leg Raises (per leg)
  • 50 Reverse Crunches
  • :60 Plank

One last thing…only one week left of our May Challenge. Likes? Dislikes? Ideas and suggestions for June? Help me make June awesome!

To make sure you are doing the correct exercises today, please check the videos below.

Crunches:

Side Lying Leg Raises:

Reverse Crunch:

Plank:

Day 22: A Little Cardio + Some Abs

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Pretty easy Monday Crew! Jump rope, oblique Crunches, standing side crunch and a wall sit (post run if you are running today).

Speed Work: In order to run faster, you have to run fast.

I know, some of you don’t do speed work. You run for fun, relaxation and fitness, not to induce pain. You’ve seen me talk about adding speed work before, but your eyes glaze over and you skip right past it, because that just isn’t what you and your running are about. You’re probably ready to skip this one, too. But wait…

Speed work is about more than just getting faster. Your heart will get stronger, your cardiovascular system more efficient, the muscles better able to function at full force. That will translate to greater strength, faster times, easier daily runs. And you’ll just plain feel better.

If you ask a runner why they are getting much better results than a year ago, the response will be “I’ve increased my intensity” — which means they’re doing more well-planned and well-executed speed sessions.

The reasons to do speed work are so simple they almost seem simple-minded. Slogging through one slow, long-distance session after another can only help you improve so much. You need to do something as quick, or quicker, than your targeted race pace.

This will not only increase your pace for short races, but it will make your log runs feel easier!

You’re thinking, “ok that sounds good, but how do I even get started?”

Keep it simple. Let’s say you’re at the point where you’re doing at three or four runs a week, and you feel pretty good. You’re just not sure how to bump it up from there. Maybe speed work seems too complicated with all those distances to deal with, times to record, rest intervals to pay attention to. Then, too, there’s this business of going to a track and acting like the Bigshot Runner. That whole arena is for the serious-minded Olympic aspirant, right?

Well, not really. Most tracks are public facilities and, when not being used for official school practices, open to runners like you. But beginners are often intimidated by the track setting, so there are ways to introduce faster-paced running without leaving the area that feels like home.

Pick up on pickups: Pickups are segments of faster-paced running injected into an existing run. This type of running is called a “fartlek” (fartlek is the Swedish term for “speed play”). To easy into speed work, you can run a favorite 3-mile course begin choosing landmarks and running to them at a quicker-than-normal pace.

It might be the next street light, it might be the top of a hill. Start with doing six or eight of these “pickups” during your run.

Same loop, same scenery, just the occasional decision to run slightly faster for a while. This takes away the stress of going to a track.

Pace yourself: Run at a controlled faster pace, a pace you know you can hold for each of the 6-8 fartleks in your run.

Start with :15 intervals of faster running, then work your way up to 1 minute for each fartlek.

Strides: Strides can be added right after your warm up, in the middle of a workout or tacked on at the end. The goal is to get the body moving in a quick, fluid motion, rehearsing fast running so the muscles and nervous system adjust to it. The key is to enjoy the pure movement of flying down the road, that wonderful rush you get when you run fast.”

Speed work Rules:

Remember these 10 tips when you start adding the fast stuff to your running program:

  1. Graduate from basic training: If you’re a beginning runner, you need at least three to four months of building up before starting speedwork. Meaning? You should be comfortable running steadily for 30 minutes three to four times a week.
  2. Scout out the right course: Avoid traffic and other hazards. Also shun fast downhill running. It looks easy, but it’s actually tough on the muscles and can lead to injuries in a hurry.
  3. Consider the surface: Grass and dirt trails are nice, but a smooth surface is even more important. Tree roots, sidewalk cracks and potholes can be dangerous. Rubberized tracks–smooth and springy–are often your best bet.
  4. Warm up and stretch: Always begin with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running before picking up the pace. Combine that with stretching for optimum results.
  5. Don’t start too fast: Beginners usually err on the speedy side of speed work. Hold it steady, and don’t run so fast that your breathing and heart rate go crazy.
  6. Focus on form: Speed work improves your system’s bio-mechanics, so think about form when you run fast. Visualize yourself running lightly, smoothly, and efficiently.
  7. Find the fun: Faster running is a new kind of effort, but it doesn’t have to be grim. Reduce stress by playing speed games and just plain enjoying the zestier pace.
  8. Rest the day after: If you’re used to running the same pace day after day, you’ll need to work at developing true rest days. Slow way down, cut back on distance or skip running altogether on the day after a speed session.
  9. Start with five: That’s a good number of repeats to begin with for most speed work sessions. And one session a week is wise at first. After your body adjusts, add a second session.
  10. Be careful when you race: A little speed work can instill a false sense of overall fitness. Be cautious about your ability to maintain a fast tempo. Learn to run at a pace you can hold the whole way.

Advanced Speed Work: If you are a more advanced runner and have done speed work before, then it’s time to step up your game.

This week’s speed work is a ladder – this just means different distances incorporated into the same workout.

Workout: 5-7 miles total

1) 1-1.5 mile warm up
2) 4-6x 800M (.5 mile) with a 2 minute rest in between
3) 2-4x 400M (.25 mile) with a 2 minute rest in between
4) 2-4x 200M (.13 mile) with a :60 rest in between
5) 1 mile cool down (slow to easy pace) + a 5 minute walk

Looks intimidating but once you do it you realize it not only “wasn’t that bad” but it was actually fun!

For those who stay in the 5k-10k range, go with a 5 mile speed work session. For those who are training for longer distances like a half or full marathon, put on your big girl panties and do the 7 mile workout!

If you’re not sure what pace you should be running at, PM me and let’s chat. I will help you find a good pace to push yourself but also be able to complete the full workout.

Speed work should be a couple days after your long run, and a couple days before your next tough workout (i.e. hills, tempo run, long run).

I hope to see a bunch of fartlek and ladder workouts this week! Remember….if you want to run faster….YOU HAVE TO RUN FAST! 🙂

Day 22 exercise:

  • 300 Jump Rope
  • 50 Oblique Crunches (per side)
  • 50 Standing Side Abs (per side)
  • :60 Wall Sit (right after your run if you are running today)

I think most of you are familiar with the oblique crunch, but if not let me know and I will demonstrate it for you…

The standing side crunch might not be as familiar so watch the video below to see how it’s done..

It’s Monday Crew. That means NO MEAT and the best time to kick off a great week! Let’s get to work! 🙂

Days 20 & 21: Time for a Little LSD…

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 4.42.32 AMWho’s ready to go long?!?!

What’s your plan? Racing? Long run? Who are your LSD buddies? What kind of shenanigans will happen during your trip?

We are runners… We look forward to the weekend when we can ignore the messy house, the piles of laundry, the dishes in the sink… We get up before everyone else, when the house is quiet, the kids are sleeping, and we set out to do what we love. Long Slow Distance!

This is your “you” time. The time when you can purge yourself of the week’s stress, come home with achy muscles and that empty feeling that makes you feel so full.

Learn to love the long run Crew. That runners high is truly one of the best feelings in the world!

When you’re done knock out day 21 or 22. Whether you’re going long on Saturday or Sunday…switch it up and make it work for you.

AND STRETCH! – Please take time to do our 7 Key Stretches for Runners. Love your muscles so they will love you back!

Day 21 exercises:

  • 100 Jump Rope
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Day 22 exercises:

  • 200 Heel Touches
  • 50 Plie Squats
  • :60 Plank

Good luck and happy feet to all those racing this weekend! Today we’ve got Lisa and Cathy running their marathon and Ellen running her half! Tomorrow Brandy is going to smash her first marathon and Paula running her half marathon leg of the Chattanooga Iron Man relay!

Who am I missing?

I’ve got big LSD plans this weekend too! I mean…what else would I be doing on my birthday weekend right? 🙂 Today I am meeting Jennifer, Amanda, Rosa, and Jessica for some fun miles and tomorrow it’s up super early again for a long run with Amiee, Linda, Alicia, and Loretta! If I’m not running, I’ll be at the baseball park cheering on my little man and his All Star team! My perfect weekend! 🙂

We will be thinking about you all and cheering you on! When things get tuff, channel your Core Crew and know we’ve got your back and let our thoughts and prayers help carry you to the finish line! XOXOXO

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Day 19: Turn it Up for My Birthday! :)

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 8.29.48 AMLooks like a relatively easy breezy day. Wonder if I did that on purpose? LOL

Seriously tho…I know seeing “200” looks like a lot….but it’s really not that bad. Break it into set and it will be done in no time!

So here’s your challenge….It IS my birthday so…I am challenging each and EVERY one of you to get this done today. THAT is what I want for my birthday. I want to be so flooded with I DID IT posts that I cannot keep up.

Who’s with me?

Day 19 exercises:

  • 200 High Knees (50 x 4)
  • 20 Superman (Knock this out in one set)
  • 200 Jump Rope (50 x 4)
  • :60 Plank (break this up how you need to or knock it out all at once)

Bonus: JUST DO IT! 🙂 Then post and tell me how awesome you are and how you did it just for me! xoxoxo

Then…also for me 😉 …. stretch it out and get ready for long runs!

7 Key Stretches for Runners