Days 2 & 3: Hips Don’t Lie!

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If you’ve been with us for a while, you’ve heard me go on and on about the importance of hip and glute strength for runners, but since we have a lot of new Crew members, we should probably go over it again. 🙂

Our hips play a major role in keeping us healthy. Numerous scientific research studies have proven that runners routinely suffer from weak, tight, and under-developed hip & glute muscles.

These hip muscle groups are particularly important because they’ve been implicated in a large range of running injuries. Weak hips can often be the cause of IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), piriformis issues, sciatica, and a myriad of other common running injuries.

I found out first hand how weak my hips were in late 2016 when I ran the Chicago Marathon. Truth be told, it started MUCH earlier than that. I had been suffering from knee pain for a long time, years really. I went to doctor after doctor, had numerous x-rays and 2 MRIs but each time the docs told me I was fine. There was nothing wrong with my knee. SO FRUSTRATING! I mean come on…I knew I wasn’t imagining the pain!

I kept running of course because that’s what we do. We push through the pain…especially when doctors are telling us there is nothing wrong. I got a cortisone shot a few weeks before the Chicago Marathon and that helped NONE. I was fine through the early miles of the race but around mile 18, like clockwork, I started having stabbing pain in my left knee. Holding back tears, I kept running/walking and watched my pace slow a lot. I was doing more walking by then and I just couldn’t keep the pace needed to hit the time I wanted. I watched that PR fade away with each mile. I finished. I cried (I pretty much always cry when I finish a marathon). I did get a PR…by about 3 minutes, and I was happy about that. But I was very ready for a much faster time so the disappointment was still there. My lungs and my legs could handle the pace….but the pain in my knee held me back.

When I got home I called an orthopedic that was recommended to me and was able to get in pretty quickly. He looked at my past MRIs and said the same thing every other doctor told me. “Your knee is fine. There is nothing wrong with it.” UGGGHHHHH!!

Thankfully, he did not stop there. He did not make me feel, once again, like I was delusional and making up the pain. He said that my knee was fine…it was my hips that were the problem.


“Your hips & glutes are weak. When those areas are not strong enough to sustain the weight of your body pounding into the pavement for so long, it shoots pain down into other areas.” For me…it was my left knee.

He gave me some strengthening exercises to do like clams, side lying leg lifts, bridges, Hip lifts, leg swings, etc… I started doing them right away and also incorporated them into our #CoreCrew calendar. No joke y’all…I DO NOT have knee pain anymore. In fact within about 2 months of the strength training I had ZERO knee pain. YAY!! Finally someone was able to explain to me what was wrong and how I could fix it.

My hips did not lie and the Orthopedic was right. All that money spent on doctor visits,  X-rays and MRIs, and all I needed was some basic strength exercises to help me run pain free!

This was all in late 2016. Throughout the summer of 2017, I trained for the New York Marathon. I ran a 4:35 in October 2016 in Chicago….and one year later in November 2017, I ran a 4:05:22 at the New York Marathon and I did it pain free! I won’t say that it didn’t hurt or that it was easy…it was still a marathon. But the dreaded knee pain never came. Not at mile 18, 20, 24 or 26. Yes, I cried when I crossed the finish line…but that’s nothing new. 🙂

Your hips don’t lie either. Are they trying to tell you something?

Day 2 exercises: 3 sets of 10 (see “how to” videos at bottom of post)

  • Bridge
  • Weighted Hip Lifts
  • Clams with Resistance Band (if you don’t have a resistance band that’s ok do it without the band)
  • Reverse Clams
  • Push Ups (3 x 10)
  • Wall Sit (:60 x 2)

Day 2 Bonus: Side Lying Leg Lifts (3 x 10) – This exercise is designed to strengthen our glutes and shape our derriere. In addition to working your glutes, this does wonders for your core, as well. Make sure you are holding your core tight while you’re performing this move!

Day 3: Quick Workout – The Core Challenge: Everyone really liked this workout last week and it fired up our core in a good way so let’s do it again on Wednesday! If you are new to planks, just do the best you can. I promise you will get better at them!

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Speed Work: This week’s speed work is the “Even Steven” workout. You can find the details in our Monday post. Click here and scroll down to find out how to make it happen! I didn’t talk about “when” to do speed work in yesterday’s post, but they best days to do speed work are opposite days from your long runs. So if you do long runs on Saturday, Tuesday or Wednesday are your best options. If you go long on Sunday, Wednesday or Thursday are your best options. If you don’t give yourself enough time after your speed work to recover, your next long run will suffer. If you don’t give yourself enough time after your long run to recover, your speed work will suffer. Resting is important. “Rest” doesn’t always mean no running….but it does mean a nice and easy pace. That easy pace allows your legs and your lungs to take a break from the tough work.

Day 2 “how to” videos: All of the exercises for today are listed below. Please watch how to do them correctly to avoid getting hurt or and to avoid doing all this work for nothing…

Bridge: The bridge exercise strengthens the whole abdominal region, the lower back and the glutes.

Weighted Hip Lifts: This is one of my favorite exercises and it is very similar to the bridge except you’re resting your body on a bench, chair, sofa or bed. Adding a weight will help you build stability and strength. Go slow and don’t add too much weight. If you don’t have a dumbbell you can use, try a medicine ball or anything sort that has some  weight to it.

Clams with Resistance Band: The band resisted clam shell exercise is great for strengthening and mobilizing the external hip rotators. This exercise strengthens and supports our knees so that we can decrease knee stress.

Reverse Clams: Keep some space between your knees and keep your body straight not arched. Great how to video here with common mistakes!

Push Ups: Same how to video from yesterday. Push ups from your knees or against the wall are OKAY! Work from where you are now don’t try to do more than you are ready for!

Wall Sit: Again, same video from yesterday because I really like how she explains how to do this exercise and why it’s so good for us. You will see A LOT of wall sit in your future with the #CoreCrew so I hope you learn to love them! 🙂

Day 1: Leap Into 2018!

leap into 2018

Time to take the leap! 

Nothing good comes from sitting around doing nothing so it’s time to get up and get moving! Remember…it’s the little things that count and today…it’s all about moving those legs!

Trust the yourself, trust the process, trust your legs today…and take the leap into 2018 with a BIG leg day Crew!

Day 1 exercises: 3 sets of 20 (“how to” videos at the bottom of the page)

  • Squats
  • Sumo Squats
  • Curtsy Squats
  • Squat Hold :20 each round
  • Push Ups (3 x 10)
  • Wall Sit :30 x 3

If you’ve had a chance to look over the January Challenge calendar you’ll see that push ups are often on the schedule this month. The reason for that is because we have a push up challenge on the last day of January and I want to get you ready for it!

At the end of a long race, our arms are our secret weapon. Using our arms for momentum is what powers us to the finish line when we are tired and feel like we can’t take another step. In order for them to hold that power, we need to work them just like our legs! So this month….push up challenge o the 31st. And there might just be a prize! 🙂

Speed Work: When you’re first getting moving, it’s important to just focus on getting into the exercise habit; making your run or walk a regular part of each day, finding times and places to exercise that feel convenient and comfortable, and finding a way to enjoy it so you keep it up for the long term.

As you progress as a runner you may start to wonder, how can I get fitter and faster?  You could add time to your workout, or increase the distance you cover. Another approach is to add some structured workouts to your routine. These workouts, which involve running specific intervals or time or distance at a specific pace, can help you develop endurance, speed, and stronger legs and lungs.  And, it can keep your exercise regime from getting stale.

Yes you read that right, speed work is NOT just for getting faster. Speed work sessions help you build up endurance which makes our long run easier, it builds your lung strength or VO2 Max which allows your body to process oxygen more efficiently. Of course, it can also help you get faster and stronger too. Speed work can be scary, but once you try it a few times, it gets easier….or maybe you just get stronger! 🙂

Workout – The Even Steven:

Walk for a few minutes then go into a jog for 1 – 2 miles to warm up. After your warm up you will go into mile repeats. I know this sounds horrible but it’s really not that bad because you want your pace to be “even steven” not all out at any point.

Depending on the number of mile repeats you do, you need to start at a conservative pace (but faster than your easy pace) so you can run each mile repeat at the same pace, or within five seconds faster or slower than the previous mile.

WHAT IT DOES: This workout builds endurance and teaches you to maintain a steady, consistent effort, which is what you’ll want to do in your race. “Runners of all abilities tend to just start running as fast as they can, until they tire out and have to quit,” says Paul.  Knowing that you have a few miles to do, you’ll learn to start your first mile slower and get into a rhythm that you can maintain for each mile.

How many of these mile repeats should you do? That depends on the distance you’re training for and your current fitness level. If you’re a beginner, do a 1 mile warm up, 1 mile even steven, then a 1 mile cool down run/walk. Well into training for a 5K? Add another repeat in the middle and go for 2 miles so 4 miles total. Yes, when training for a 5K you should train to run longer than the 5K distance. See the list below for more distance options for this speed workout. I am here if you have questions about pace or the workout so don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

  • Beginner 5K: 1 mile warm up + 1 mile repeat at a slightly faster pace + 1 mile cool down = 3 miles (mile repeats @ 5K pace)
  • 5K: 1 mile warm up + 2 mile repeats + 1 mile cool down = 4 miles (mile repeats @ 5K pace)
  • 10K: 1-1.5 mile warm up + 3 mile repeats + 1 mile cool down = 5-5.5 miles (mile repeats @ 5K pace)
  • Half Marathon: 2 mile warm up + 4-5 mile repeats + 1-2 mile cool down = 7-9 miles (mile repeats @ 10K pace)
  • Marathon: 2 mile warm up + 5-6 mile repeats + 2 mile cool down = 9-10 miles (mile repeats at Half Marathon pace)

I have added “pace” to each workout. This is relative to where you are in your fitness. If you are confused, please reach out to me! Remember, DO NOT go all out on this workout. You want even steven for each of the miles in the middle and if you go out too fast, you won’t be able to hold those later miles. The goal of this workout is to finish the entire workout with your mile repeats within 5-10 seconds of each other.

Pre-Hab: When you’re done with your workout, it’s time to love your legs! Rolling and stretching is a big part of our maintenance and it adding it to your routine on a regular basis will make a difference in your running, your pain level, and the overall health and fitness of your body. I know it hurts, I know it takes extra time, but I promise it will help you feel better, keep injuries at bay, and get you moving quicker again after workouts.

First we roll. We roll fist to get the kinks out and lengthen our muscles. Then we stretch. A the link to our stretches for runners. is below. It’s actually 8 because we added the pigeon pose which we all really love. All of this stretches have a purpose. Get to know them and love them!

7 Key Stretches for Runners

That’s all for today Crew. Plan ahead to get your speed work in, and leap into 2018 with a positive attitude and a commitment to do the little things that come together and make life big!

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Day 1 “how to” videos:

Squat: We squat all the time – doing yard work, picking things up off the ground and just the movement that comes along with sitting. Squats also help us build strength in our hips, quads, hamstrings and calves. 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.

Sumo Squats: You don’t have to have a dumbbell to perform this exercise but it might help keep you stabilized and balanced. If you use a dumbbell hold one in both hands and use it to balance in the middle as you sit backwards into your squat. Make sure you are putting your weight into your heels not your toes.

Curtsey Squat: Great exercise for hip mobility, balance & glute strength. Our glutes are what pushes up as we run so we need them strong and able to propel our body forward!

Squat Hold: This is going to burn after doing a few sets of the previous squats but that is ok it’s not supposed to be easy! Lower into the squat hold position and stay there for :20 before coming back up and moving on to the next exercise.

Push Ups: Push Ups are one of the most effective body weight exercises we an do to build strength in our core and upper body! This video will show you how to do push ups for beginners and how to progress as you get stronger.

Wall Sit: The wall sit is a great exercise to target the entire thigh area, your quad, your inner thigh, the back of the leg, the hamstring, and your gluts. You’re just going to find a wall. You’re going to come into a squat position. Your feet are going to be out. Your knees are aligned with your ankles, and you’re going to push your weight back into the wall here. You want to make sure that you’re digging through your heels as you’re in your squat position and that your legs are 90 degrees.