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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Days 24 & 25: Relax…You Got This!

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Oh, the long run. It’s both the bane and the bliss of every runner’s existence.

Regardless of what your “long” run distance may consist of, we all go through the same range of emotions leading up to this oh-so-important run.

  • Usually the anxiety starts midday Friday. We start thinking that there is no way we can actually run whatever distance we’re scheduled the next day. We get this feeling in our stomach that is half nerves and half a bad reaction to our lunch. This normally subsides about the time we go to bed—you know, 9pm because we’re really fun on Fridays…
  • We start out our long run feeling happy to be running with a group, or loving the time get get to oursleves. The moon is high, the air is cool (only because it’s still early and the sun isn’t up yet), and we are moving! It feels great.
  • Soon we’re overestimating how far we’ve gone. We’ll think we’ve run seven miles when it’s only been three. Right about then we just want to end it.
  • We have to have small goals to check off while running long. Usually it goes like this: only 3 miles to the turnaround and then we’re halfway done! Only 2 miles until the water stop and pretzels! Less than a 5k until we are DONE!
  • We made it. Now it’s time to eat, stretch, and nap!

When it’s all said and done, we wonder why we had so much anxiety in the first place. We know we are strong. We know we can handle it. We know once we’re out there we’ll be burning calories, sweating buckets, making progress, and loving it!

So the questions is…are you having fun when you’re out there? That’s the most important thing right? This is supposed to be fun! Over thinking the run beforehand will drain your motivation. Try not to stress about it. You have it planned, you know you can do it…so trust your training and relax…you got this!

Whether you’re going long on Saturday or Sunday…make sure your having fun, and don’t forget…we still have work to do on the day we’re not running.

Here’s the weekend skinny… Leave it as is, or switch it up…but plan it out and get it done.

Day 24: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Plank – Your Choice (:90 2X)

Day 25: Arms / Back – 4 sets of 15

  • Burpees
  • Bicep Curls 21s (4 sets of 21)
  • Wide Rows
  • Plank – Your Choice (:90 2X)

Bonus: Active Recovery – Short run (30 min or less at conversation pace), walk, swim, bike, play outside with the kids, yoga. Choose something that will get your muscles loose and that will promote healthy, active recovery after your long run. Being sedentary after a hard work out will only make you more stiff and sore…get moving!

Remember…our long distance runs make our hearts stronger…and our legs and lungs too…

Eat good, hydrate, get your outfit and gear ready, then relax…you got this!

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Days 10 & 11: Long Run + Stuff & Arms/Back

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Time for our favorite workout of the week…our long run!

This weekend instead of doing the same old boring long run, let’s throw in some fun stuff.

“Stuff” refers to adding strides, surges, pickups or progressions to the typical easy or steady long run. The goal in adding these components is to change the stimulus for adaptation ever so slightly. By adding in some faster running toward the end of the long run, you force recruitment of muscle fibers that generally are never trained at an easy or steady pace. By slightly changing which muscle fibers are recruited, you now train those harder-to-recruit fast twitch-type fibers under aerobic conditions, therefore increasing their endurance.

Strides and surges are two easy ways to get a little more bang for your buck during the long run without adding much undue fatigue. They both work by changing the muscle fiber recruitment slightly, and can prevent the post-long run flatness that often occurs. This happens because the faster segments change the tension in the muscles and leave you with some “pop” in your legs instead of staleness.

Strides should be done immediately after the completion of the long run and should include four to ten by 100-meter runs in length at about your 10K race pace. This should be seen as an introductory session, which then progresses to surges over the following weeks.

Surges should be done during the last 3-4 miles of the long run and should include segments where you pick it up to around 10K race pace and then back off to your easy pace for a short segment. I recommend starting with 5 x 30-second surges with two minutes of easy running between reps and work your way up progressively to where you’re doing 8-10 x 45 to 60-second surges with 2-3 minutes recovery in between.  This should not be a taxing workout, but instead a comfortable surge that lets the legs loosen up a little bit.


Pickups and progressions are two slightly more challenging options for adding some spice to your long run. The goal of these runs is to press the pace down so that the body gets used to increasing speed, increasing the aerobic demand, and recruiting muscle fibers when glycogen levels are getting progressively lower at the end of the long run. Once again, we are looking at training muscle fibers that aren’t normally trained aerobically and triggering the body to become more efficient with using up its glycogen stores.

Pickups should be introduced in small doses. Start by picking up the pace to marathon race effort or slightly faster during the last 5 minutes of your long run. Every few weeks, increase the length of the pickup by 5 minutes until you get to the point where the last 20 minutes of your long run is done at a quicker pace.

Progression long runs, on the other hand, should take a gradual approach. Instead of spending the last bit of your long run making a sudden change in speed, spread that speed increase out over a longer distance. Start with a gradual progression over the last quarter of your long run (the last 4 miles of a 16 mile run, for example) and increase that until the last half of your long run is spent gradually ratcheting down the speed. The goal is the same: get down to just faster than marathon race pace by the end of the run.

Progression runs sound very similar to negative spits, but there is a difference. Negative splits refers to your time coming down a little bit each mile. A progression run is where your time stays very similar during the first part of your run and then you choose a point where you pick up the speed and hold that pace over the last portion of your run.

What type of run will you choose this weekend?

  • Strides
  • Surges
  • Pickups
  • Progression

Remember these different long runs are not just for distances over 10 miles. You can do these types of workouts with any mileage…just make a conscious choice before you start and add it in as you go. If you’re doing a 3-5 mile long run and want to do a progression run, do the first 1.5-2.5 miles at a slower pace then pick up the pace and hold it for the last 1.5-2.5 miles. If you’re thinking pickups, for the last 5-10 minutes of your run, pick up your pace to the pace you want to run at your next race.

The whole point here is to start taxing your body a little each long run so it starts to get easier and more comfortable. This way, when it’s time to race, you’re ready to hold that faster pace.

Whatever you decide, make a plan before you head out. Having a plan is very important to ensuring you know what to do, how to do, and are successful following through.

Day 10 exercises: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Plank – Your Choice (:45 2X) 

Day 11 exercises: Arms/Back – 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Burpees
  • Bicep Curls 21s (3 sets of 21)
  • Wide Rows
  • Plank – Your Choice (:45 2X)

Bonus: Active Recovery and/or Yoga for Runners – use today’s bonus to get you moving and stretching out your muscles after your long run. Go for a short easy run (30 min or less), or chill out and go through our Yoga for Runners at home. Either way, an active recovery will help with post-run soreness and stiffness.

Racery: Don’t forget to keep logging your Racery miles. Click here for the Racery page to log your miles and see how your team is doing.

Current team standings:

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Before you go…I want you to make a decision on what kind of “stuff” you’re adding to your long run. Post it in Strong to the Core under this pinned post so we can keep you accountable and cheer you on!

Have a fabulous weekend and get ready to go the distance Crew! 🙂

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Days 13 & 14: I Run Because I Can

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.10.56 PMRain or shine you are piling up the miles, getting ready for the next. But your performance doesn’t seem to be improving, maybe you’re even going backwards, or the fear of injury is creeping in.

Consider the difference between training for running and conditioning for running. Training is the daily run itself; conditioning is about preparing for those runs.

When you are “conditioned” for running, you are prepared for the demand all those miles put on your body. The reality is most runners spend their time training, believing that running alone is the key to running better. But staying in the best running shape means understanding the demands running places on your body and meeting them with a conditioning program.

There are lots of running myths out there, but these two line up well with our long run / rest day weekend routine.

Myth: Stretch alone is enough

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I know I harp a lot on stretching, but this is a great point to consider as well. I’ve started foam rolling and using a small hand help massager on my legs several times a week. This has made a big difference in the knee pain I’ve experienced lately. Loosening up the muscles that connect all those lower body parts allows my knees to move more freely, to handle the impact more efficiently, and helps prevent inflammation.

Running is a high impact exercise which causes two and a half times your bodyweight to crash into the ground. The impact is absorbed by our muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, fascia, etc. These soft tissues can only take the shock when there is an adequate range of motion available at the joint being impacted. In other words, if your joints can’t move freely, the impact can cause injury.

Action Plan: Stretch, roll, & move. Stretch your quads, calves, hamstrings, IT Band, and back. Our 7 Key Stretches for Runners are the perfect combination to hit all these important muscles. Roll your legs, butt, and back. Start with your calves and work your way up. Hit your IT Band (outside of your knee), move up to your quads and hamstrings, then keep moving up over your butt and to your back. It hurts…but once you get used to it…it hurts so good.

Myth: Recovery is as simple as taking a day off.

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The term “recovery” is often confused withrest, taking complete time off of from movement or activity. While it is important to have “off” days, active recovery plays a key role in maintaining a healthy and effective running game. Scheduled rest days are great, but true healing, nourishment, and recovery actually come from movement, not rest alone. Your muscles work super hard to keep you pounding the pavement and if these intense muscular contractions are not properly balanced with a solid, restorative routine, possible injury becomes probably injury, and you’re in for sore and stiff muscles days after your long run.

Action Plan: In addition to stretching and rolling…you gotta move. Active recovery is less intense and has less volume so plan a short, easy recovery run the day after your long run. When I say short, I mean short. 30-40 minutes tops. And EASY…no sprinting, no technical trails, no watching your mile times. Just go and shake out and loosen up your muscles. If you don’t want to run, cross train…but keep it short and easy as well. Go for an easy bike ride, go swimming, take a nice brisk walk, go to a yoga class or check out our Yoga for Runners. This active recovery will go a long way in helping you walk pain free in the coming days and will keep your head in the right place for your next long run.

What will your active rest day look like? Remember that you can switch up these days to make it work for your lifestyle and schedule but if you go long on Sunday…make Monday an active recovery day. Don’t just go to work and sit down all day. Make time in the morning to get moving before you start the rest of your day.

Day 13 exercises: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

Plank Challenge Day 13 – High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

Day 14 exercises: Active Recovery + 7 Key Stretches for Runners or Yoga for Runners + Low Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow (Calendar has incorrect plank. Watch how to do the correct plank below)

Plank Challenge Day 14 – Low Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow

Bonus: Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 13

  • 5 Sit Ups
  • 5 Crunches
  • 5 Squats

Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 14

  • 10 Sit Ups
  • 10 Crunches
  • 10 Squats

So this weekend…long run, stretchesyoga, planks, ab & squat challenge and active recovery. Questions? Reach out to your fellow Crew members in Strong to the Core or send me a private message.

If you’re thinking about skipping your long run or giving up before you’re done….remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift we take for granted….and run harder for them. They would do it for you.

I run because I can