Day 18: No Knee Wrecking!

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Knee pain isn’t just a problem for old people: It can hit at any age, says Matthew Abdel, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor at the Mayo Clinic.

And it’s happening more and more frequently. According to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine, the prevalence of knee pain has increased significantly over a 20-year period. Currently, one in five Americans have suffered knee pain, and it’s the culprit behind a third of all doctor’s visits for muscle and bone pain, says Stephen Nicholas, M.D., founder and current director of New York Orthopedics.

Knee pain can be a problem for anyone, but runners top the list. We want to believe that just being active will keep us strong and healthy, and since it’s time for our long runs, today is a great day to talk about the #1 knee wrecker for runners…

#1 Knee Wrecker: Skipping Our Warmup – We’re all strapped for time and want to make the most out of our run. But jumping right into a workout could really mess up our knees. That’s because warming up lubricates the knee joint, circulates synovial fluid into the knee, improves muscle elasticity, and boosts oxygen flow to the area, reducing your chance of injury to the knees.

Knee Saver: Stretch/Warm Up Before Workout – “The most important thing you can do for your knees is give yourself an appropriate warm up period,” says Dr. Nicholas. “Stretching your lower legs is particularly key for long term running health. When the muscles are unevenly lengthened, the knee caps pull to the side, which causes wear or pain on the joint.”

Set aside at 5-10 minutes before your workout to work on dynamic stretching and drills. Warming up lets your muscles gently strengthen, which is key for healthy knees.

Knees need a full range of motion—to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot. This will protect you if you find yourself in awkward positions and increased flexibility stresses the joint less.

What to do? Try some of these easy running drills before setting out on your long run this weekend:

There are other ways to wreck your knees and we talk about those later…but since it’s time for long runs and races…know that adding a few minutes of an easy dynamic stretching/warm up routine can keep you from feeling pain and save you a bunch of money and time needed for Dr. visits.

Day 18 exercises: Long Run/Race + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Plank (:60) + Wall Sit (:60)

Challenges:

  • Ab Challenge – 40 Crunches, 40 Bicycles Crunches, 40 Leg Lifts + :70 Plank (1:10)
  • Burpees – Rest

Don’t forget that our long runs are FUN! Make them fun by taking out the stress…go for an easy paced run for a distance that puts you out of your comfort zone but don’t stress to the point that it is no longer fun. Come home feeling revitalized and STRONG! Then knock out your ab challenge and stretch it out Crew!

Remember that you are doing this for you. Running has given you courage, strength, determination, and a way to love yourself first. Never outrun your joy of running!

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Day 16: High Intensity Booty Work

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-5-44-52-amQuick workout, high intensity…it’s leg day!

Strength and stamina is the name of the game. Let’s do this!

Day 16 exercises:

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Donkey Kick workout (see video below)
  • Moving Clamshells – 3 sets of 10
  • Side Lying Leg Raise – 3 sets of 10
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60

Challenges:

  • Superman – Rest day
  • Push Ups – 40
  • #MadManMartin Plank Challenge – 2:00 (120 seconds!)

Bonus: 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Loved all the yoga yesterday! Let’s keep up that wonderful stretching today and finish it off with our 7 Key Stretches for Runners.

Donkey Kick Workout:


Speed Work: WHOOOHOOOO for SPEED!! Some awesome speed work happening this week! If you haven’t gotten yours done yet…today is likely the last day to get it in before resting up for long runs this weekend. Here’s this weeks workout.

Workout: 800M, 400M X 3 or 4

  1. Warm up – 1 – 1.5 miles slow and easy. Get your hear pumping and your breathing going
  2. 800M (1/2 mile) – Remember those times I gave you for 400’s? Double that and slow it down just a tad. (See times below)
  3. Rest 90 seconds – walk, jog, or stand still and breahte
  4. 400M (1/4 mile) – Do not run these too fast. Remember the key is to be steady here. So you shouldn’t be running these at top speed. Take your 800M (1/2 mile) time and cut it in half.
  5. Rest 90 seconds – walk, jog, or stand still and breathe
  6. Do it all again!
  7. Repeat this cycle 3 -4 times. 3 times = 2.25 miles / 4 times = 3 miles
  8. Cool down – 1 – 1.5 miles slowly to bring your heart rate down keep your legs moving

1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track while 800 meters is 1/2 mile or 2 laps around a standard-sized track.  Here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time.

For this workout, you should take the times below and slow them down just a tad. I run 400M in about 1:45 – 1:50, so for this workout, I’ll run 800M in 4:05-4:08 and the 400M in 1:55 – 2:00. You can do this. Don’t overthink it. Just go out and run a little faster than you’re used to! 🙂

During a conversation pace run, if you average a:

  • 14:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 3:00.
  • 13:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:45.
  • 12:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:30.
  • 11:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:15.
  • 10:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:00.
  • 9:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:45.
  • 8:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:30.
  • 7:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:15.

Today’s workout is a doozy…fast, high intensity that will leave you sore and tired. But oh man that’s a good sore. Let’s knock it out and have a great day Crew! 🙂

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Days 21 & 22: What’s Your Distance?

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The weekend is here!! What’s your distance?

If you planned on cutting it short, remember that distance makes the heart grow stronger!

Go a little farther than you planned and get that runners high! 🙂

Then take a day off…but don’t be lazy. Active recovery, yoga, stretching…whatever makes you fell good. And don’t forget our challenge exercises (if you’re into that kind of thing. 😉 )

Day 21: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Challenge exercises 

  • Burpees – Rest
  • Push Ups Beginner – 17
  • Push Ups Advanced – 60
  • Squats – 145

Day 22: Active Recovery, Yoga for Runners,  Rest + Squats 

  • Burpees – Rest
  • Push Ups Beginner – Rest
  • Push Ups Advanced – Rest
  • Squats – 80

Get inspired, get you some miles and make it a fabulous weekend Crew!

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Day 19: Wall Sit Anytime Anywhere!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-30-20-amMost distance runners will tell you they’ve had a point on one (or many) of their runs where they hit “the wall.” The wall can be both an emotional and a physical barrier. You need mental strength to finish a marathon, but you also need toned muscles!

Wall sits are a great down-and-dirty strength exercise to build strength in your quadriceps and calves. When you’re doing a wall sit, your quads are holding your weight up by pushing it against the wall, and your calves are working to keep your knees bent at a 90° angle.

By strengthening your thigh muscles, you are helping stabilize your knees, which helps lower your risk of injury. Runner’s Knee, which is an unfortunate and common injury for distance runners, can be caused by weak thigh muscles (among other things). By strengthening your quads, you’re helping reduce risk of injury.

Anyone Can Do Wall Sits

Perhaps the greatest thing about wall sits, is that anyone can do them, anywhere, at any time. Can’t find time for your full daily workout? Throw in some wall sits throughout the day. Camping in the woods? Find a tree to lean up against. Got a few minutes before you have to be back at work from your lunch break? Wall sit! Arrive a few minutes before your doctor appointment? The car can provide a solid surface for a wall sit – right there in the parking lot.

Remember, our “challenge” is meant to motivate you to do more than you would each day. We’re not here to beat you up for not getting in every single exercise every single day. If you do…that’s awesome! But we know that busy lives get in the way and the most important thing is being active and adding strength training to your routine.

So when you’re short on time, grab a wall and take a squat. Every little bit counts!

Day 19 exercises: 3 sets of 10

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges (each leg)
  • Wall sits – 3X (:60) or 1X for 3 minutes!
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: Hip Stability Exercies for IT Band Syndrome and Runner’s Knee

Lots of people suffer from tight hips and IT Bands which lead to pain in and around our knees and down our legs. Hip rotation and pelvic imbalances are also frequent issues for runners that contribute to IT Band Syndrome or Runner’s Knee.

Yes, this is a monthly challenge, but I also hope you find information along the way that you tuck away in your personal arsenal for future use. The exercises in this video help to create additional stability and strength for both prevention and recovery. Check it out.

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 45
  • Push Ups Beginner – 15
  • Push Ups Advanced – 30
  • Squats – 50

Speed Work: Climb ladders

Ladder workouts are speed sessions that vary the length of the work intervals in incremental steps and are a great way to get a mix of several high-intensity running paces in a single session. Go to the track or use your GPS watch to track your distance., warm up with 10 minutes of easy running, and try one of these ladders. Run each interval slightly faster than the preceding one, and jog, walk  400 meters (or just stand still and breath deeply) between each interval.

Starter ladder: 400M (1/4 mile), 800M (1/2 mile), 1600M (mile), 800M (1/2 mile), 400M (1/4 mile).

Advanced ladder: 200M (.1 mile), 400M, 800M, 1200M, 1600M, 1200M, 1000M, 800M, 400M, 200M

Remember that it is always important to do a good warm up and cool down before and after every speed work session. And if you’re not doing running drills to loosen your glutes, hips, quads, and calves…you’re missing out on an important part of the workout.

  1. Warm up
  2. Running Drills: Pick a few and take a few minutes to loosen up. Click here for descriptions of each running drill. Butt Kicks, High Knees, Bounding, Grapevines, Slow Skipping, Hamstring Extensions, Running Backwards, Straight Leg Shuffle, Lateral Bounding
  3. Speed Work
  4. Cool Down

Running today? We usually try to do our strength work before we go for a run…but this time save one of your wall sits for afterwards, when your legs are fatigued. Just one…don’t go overboard with it. When it’s all said and done, take time to stretch out those tired and sore muscles so you’re ready to go long this weekend!

Have a great Thursday Crew! 🙂

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Day 12: Magic Legs

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Everyone knows runners have the best legs! But we still have to work for them…

How do we build “magic legs” that will take us the distance? Strength work!

Let’s chat about some myths that maybe you’ve heard before…


MYTH: Runners don’t need to lift weights. To get stronger, run more.

TRUTH: Running–and the optimal balance of volume, intensity and pace-specific work–will always be the primary focus of a distance runner’s training program. And rightly so. Strength training, however, presents a different physiological stimulus, one that includes a host of distinct benefits that running doesn’t provide, but which are crucial to health and optimal performance.

Takeaway: Runners need strength training in addition to running!


MYTH: The key area to work on is the core; running works all other areas.

TRUTH: Research indicates that upper-body, lower-body and midsection strength training all contribute to improved running performance. You should do exercises that involve all of the major muscle groups. Rather than specifically strengthening an area that you assume is weak, you are better off developing strength in all muscle groups, which will create balance and synergy.

Takeaway: Our core is important, but we need to strengthen our upper and lower body too.


MYTH: Lift with quick movements to work power and improve speed.

TRUTH: It’s more effective to lift and lower the weight slowly. Take two to three seconds to lift the weight and at least four seconds to lower the weight. A mantra for the distance runner is, “To become fast, lift slowly.”

Takeaway: Lift slowly!


MYTH: Use light weights and don’t exhaust yourself when lifting for distance running.

TRUTH: Many runners assume that lifting heavy weights can predispose to injury, when in fact, fast movements that create high external forces on joints predispose to injury. Lift a weight heavy enough to exhaust you. Train to the point of momentary muscle fatigue. Focus on continuing each set of exercises until it is utterly impossible to complete another perfect rep. This ensures optimal muscle fiber involvement.

Takeaway: Don’t skimp on the weights. When you are ready to add more weight, do it. You want to continue to get stronger so when it becomes easy, you need heavier weights!


MYTH: Lift on your off or easy days to balance your hard-run efforts.

TRUTH: It is optimal to piggyback strength-training workouts with quality runs. This work complements the training effect of the running, then you fully recover from both on easy days.

Takeaway: Strength work and running the same day is a good idea!


Continuing to strengthen our arms, back, core, hips, glutes, and legs is the best way to build those magic legs (and arms, shoulders, back, core, and glutes) that will carry us through our long runs and races, help us get faster, and keep us safe from injuries. Let’s get to work!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges (both sides)
  • Wall sits – :60 3X
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Since our long runs and races are coming up fast (and I was super sore last weekend after last Thursday’s leg work) the only bonus today is to stretch those legs, glutes, and back. Take a few extra minutes to go through our 7 Key Stretches for runners and get ready to go long this weekend!

Want more leg work? Don’t worry….there’s more squats to do. 😉

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 30
  • Push Ups Beginner – 10
  • Push Ups Advances – 50
  • Squats – 40

Water Challenge: The no junk food challenge seemed to go well yesterday so let’s do another challenge today. It’s one that some people struggle with…drinking enough water.

This is another great way to get ready for our long runs because a lot of people don’t start hydrating in advance for long runs. Let’s start now by drinking LOTS of water today! How much should you drink? Check out the charts below and get that water bottle ready for the day.

For me, a 38 year old female weighing around 135 pounds, I should be drinking 9 – 8 oz cups of water or 72 oz each day. How much should you be drinking?

If you find yourself hungry, bored, stressed, or thirsty, grab your water bottle and start guzzling. Have a great day Crew!

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Days 24 & 25: Merry Christmas Crew!

Merry Christmas Crew! Wishing you peace, joy, happiness and lots of family love this weekend!

Who’s heading out for a long run before the festivities begin? Long run today plus some stretching and one :60 plank and you’re ready to party!!

Day 24 exercises: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + one :60 Plank of choice

Day 25 exercises: One :60 Plank of your choice + Rest

I wanted to thank Gwen and Jennifer again for my sweet Christmas cards and presents. You ladies made my day! And a big thank you to my whole Crew for making this year so awesome!

What are you waiting for? Go run! May your Christmas miles be merry! XOXOXO

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Day 23: Earn Your Cookies

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2 more days till Christmas and for lots of us…only 1 more day till tons of yummy food comes our way on Christmas Eve! Ready to Earn Your Cookies?

Put in the work today and burn some serious calories at your long run tomorrow, then you can enjoy your feast and the time with your family without guilt!

Great workout coming today Crew, let’s get to it!

Day 23 exercises:

  • Modern Moms Hip Strength
  • Bonus: Snowman Workout – 10 Rounds
  • Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-12 (Last Day!!)
  • One :60 Plank of your choice

Modern Moms Hip Strength: By now this should be burned into your brain…almost so you can do it without following along with the video. But for our newbies…and for those who’ve skipped it a few times, here’s our Friday hip strength workout.


Bonus: Snowman Workout – 10 Rounds 

Push ups, Sit ups and Squats…great calorie burn/strength workout…and 10 rounds might seem like a lot but this should be quick…if not painless. Rock it out!

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screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-5-10-48-amExtra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-12

Last day for our 12 Days of Christmas. Who will be glad this is over?

  1. 1 minute skaters
  2. 20 Squats
  3. 15 Push Ups
  4. 10 Superman
  5. 1 minute Jumping Jacks
  6. 20 Lunges
  7. 15 Tricep Dips
  8. 10 Mountain Climbers
  9. 10 Burpees
  10. 20 Side Lunges
  11. 15 Pike Push Ups
  12. 10 Plank Shoulder Taps

Finish off your day with one :60 plank of your choice then take 10 minutes
to stretch before our long runs tomorrow. The benefits of our 7 Key stretches for Runners are improved performance, better range of motion, joint stabilization and injuries avoidance. I know you’re busy doing all those last minute things to get ready for the holidays but your body is craving these stretches so make the time to do them!


Want to work extra hard on Monday to erase the holiday gluttony and guilt? I don’t! Think before you eat and make good choices this weekend starting now! This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, just think MODERATION and be AWARE of what is going in your belly!

Eat slowly, take small portions, and drinks lots of water to go with your wine!

No excuses Crew…let’s get to work and EARN YOUR COOKIES!

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