Day 24: Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving Crew! I hope you all have a very blessed day with family and friends!

Lots of us are racing or just getting out to be active today. Throw in some ab work before your meal, or wait till tomorrow and pair it up with hips…but get it done! Just don’t try to do it after your big Thanksgiving meal. 🙂

Day 24 exercises: Abs – 3 sets (:30 each exercise) 

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch (right side)
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch (left side)
  • Side Planks – :30 each side

Bonus: Give thanks and let us know what you are thankful for today!

I am thankful for so many things. My son and family, my friends, my faith, my health, my Crew, and RUNNING!

Have a wonderful day full of love, laughter, and activity! MUAH!

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Day 22: Training Purgatory

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-13-15-amIf you’re in a warm weather climate like me, this is your peak racing season and you’re probably running a lot and generally trying to eat well.

But for others, as you move into the cold season and your races are over for a while, you might be in a bit of a funk.

What happens when you don’t have a race to train for, it’s getting harder to go outside in the cold, and you have the holidays looming with lots of yummy and fattening food ahead?

This is what it was like for Steve Gosner, Physical Therapist, sub 3 hour marathoner and 2 time Iron Man. He calls it “training purgatory”, when a slight “thickening” around his waist and a “sure, why not?” attitude towards desert (beer) and a second helping at dinner are the norm.

A RunSmartOnline.com article called, Training Between Races, emphasizes this “whatever” period as a time to go easy on yourself, take the 2nd helping, and adopt a “zero pressure running” attitude.

This doesn’t mean you should be gluttonous, skip your strength work, and avoid lacing up your running shoes. Hopefully, being in the Core Crew and watching others continue to train gives you some motivation to keep being active, but according to RunSmartOnline, there are ways to maintain your fitness while still giving yourself a chance to rest, recoup, and be ready when your training starts up again.

Here are a few ideas they suggest:

1. Zero Expectation Running

Whether you’re last training cycle was a huge success or a bust, it’s important to reconnect with running. Let’s face it. It’s not uncommon for our running to feel like a chore when we’re training. We rush to fit it all in, juggling a handful of other tasks and schedule.

During your training purgatory go out and run just to run. Set zero expectations of time, distance, and pace. Go out and simply come back when you’re ready. To me, these are the best runs.

2. Keep It Slow

Unless you’re squeezing in a few short races before training officially begins, avoid working too hard. Wouldn’t it suck to stir up an injury before your training cycle begins? Who wants to get off to a rocky start? Not me and I’m guessing not you.

Find a pace between your easy and base building pace. The sweet spot hovers around a pace that you’re breathing is easy and you can chat freely without gasping for oxygen.

3. Prep for Training

As most runners begin training for their spring races it’s important to avoid a complete shut down. Doing so will not only will it zap your current level of fitness, but it could weaken your tolerance to injury when you start training again.

Keep up with your running, but keep it slow and with no pressure added. Prepare for the time when training will start again with strength exercises. Take the 2nd helping, but don’t overdo it, and avoid late night snacking and too much overindulgence.

What are some other ways you help keep yourself in check? How about signing up for your next race? Signing up for a race, even one that is a little far out, could help keep you mentally prepare to keep up your fitness! If your race season is too far in the future to keep you excited, find a race in Florida and come visit! 🙂

In the meantime, strength work is top priority to be ready and stay injury free. It’s ab day…the perfect way to combat that 2nd helping!

Day 22 exercises: Abs – 3 sets (:30 per exercise) 

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch (left side)
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch (right side)
  • Side Plank (:30 each side)

Bonus: Daily Abs (3 rounds) + No Junk Food Challenge + Water Challenge

The no junk food challenge usually lasts 21 days, but we’re just making the commitment for one day and since it’s Tuesday, we are also going to drink lots of water! Who’s in?

 


Speed Work: This week’s speed work out is one of my favorites because it’s a great workout and still hurts, but is doable for everyone.

Workout: 4-6X 800M (1/2 mile repeats) 

  1. Warm up – 1-1.5 miles (slow)
  2. 4-6x 800M – 1/2 mile repeats with :90 rest in between sets
  3. Cool down – 1-1.5 miles (slow)

Total of 3-6 miles depending on your distance level. If you’re in “training purgatory” the lower level of 3 miles is a great way to work up a sweat and keep your speed in tact. If you’re in peak training and have a race coming up, go for the longer distance and bust out 6 miles with 3 miles of speed work!


Once again, we are coming up on the end of the month. November 22nd means it’s time to plan for December and I want to hear your ideas for next month’s strength work. ALL ideas welcome! Video yourself doing your favorite strength exercises, or just let me know what you want to work on. Don’t be shy! Reach out to me and post in Strong to the Core, or private message me here. If we aren’t “friends” on Facebook, please friend me because I love to get to know you better by seeing your everyday life. 🙂

Whether your in peak training season, or in “training purgatory” let our Core Crew help keep you active. Stay involved, post what you’re up too, and when you get your exercises done. Posting helps keep you motivated and means we can cheer you on!

No matter what keeps you going….get moving and be active Crew! 🙂

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Day 17: Talented Beyond Belief

talentsMost of us LOVE to run and eat, and are great at signing up for races. But that’s not all we’re good at!

Let’s get to know each other a little better and share what some of our other talents are…it can be something you used to do, or something you do now when you’re not running or generally being awesome.

I’ve always been athletic and in earlier days, I loved basketball! I played point guard for my high school’s varsity basketball team and loved every minute of it. I’m also a first degree black belt, rode sport bikes for about 10 years before I had Silas, and even ran track in middle school (440 relay and 100M hurdles). In my free time now, (wait free time? HA!) I love to read and enjoy writing (I write TV and Radio scripts for my advertising clients). Since I have become a mom, most other free time goes towards being active with Silas; baseball, soccer, karate, and he’s starting flag football in January.

When it comes down to it…I’m good at running, VERY good at eating tacos, and am SUPER skilled at signing up for races! 😉

What are your other talents?

When you’re done thinking about all the other things you are amazing at….get to work on those abs Crew!

Day 17: Abs – 3 rounds – :30 per exercise 

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Brid Dog Crunch – right side
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch – left side
  • Side Plank – :30 each side

Bonus: Yoga for Runners 

Remember our Yoga for Runners? Great for some “us” time. Find a quiet place, channel your inner calm and stretch it out Crew! Click here for our Yoga for Runners.


Speed Work: Thursday is usually the last day of the week I would suggest for speed work since we are so close to the weekend and our long runs. Have you dialed in some speed this week? If not….today is the day! Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work.


Each of of us are unique and special. Do you know how special you are? Take time to reflect on how awesome life is, and how much you mean to the world. You are one of a kind, beautiful, and talented beyond belief. We can see it…I hope you can too.

Have a blessed Thursday Crew! XOXOXO

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Day 15: Drink More Water

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Good morning Crew! Time to work those abs and what better way to kick off our Tuesday then another water challenge!

Are you getting enough water? Maybe you should have a glass right now!

We all know that drinking lots of water helps keep runners hydrated but do you really know how important it is for our body and our performance?

Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington D.C.-based nutritionist and ultra marathoner said, “The importance of hydration cannot be overstated, and for most busy runners, it can be hard to remember that water bottle.”

With busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to remember to drink enough water. Like anything else, it takes a while to form a habit. But getting this part of our training in check could mean a world of difference on the road.

Check out this study by the University of North Alabama for the  American College of Sports Medicine,

Researchers rounded up 13 distance runners and had them run a 75-minute evening run, followed by a 10K time trial the next morning on two separate occasions. They monitored sweat loss, hydration and 10K performance in both instances. The difference between these two evening/morning runs was how much the runners drank. After one of the evening runs, they rehydrated 75 percent of their sweat loss, which is typical of what many runners do. After the other evening run, they rehydrated 150 percent of their sweat loss, which is what the American College of Sports Medicine suggests.

The difference in 10K performance the following morning during both experiments was striking. When runners replenished 150 percent of their sweat loss, their 10K times were on average over a minute faster, which was a three percent improvement over running at the 75 percent hydration state. Put into other terms, that could be the difference between a 4:00 and 3:52 marathon.

That’s an EIGHT minute marathon difference, just from being hydrated!

Here’s a few more tips on the benefits of drink water and ways to help you drink more!

Confused about how much water you should be drinking each day? Here’s a great chart showing us a good water consumption for us AND our children. Yes…kids need to drink more water too!

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Todays’ extra credit challenge: DRINK MORE WATER!

Who will take this water challenge an extra step today and get their kids in the mix? Talk to them about why water is important and take a pic of you all enjoying a glass of water for the Crew. 🙂

Day 15 exercises: Abs – 3 rounds – :30 each exercise

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch – right side
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch – left side
  • Side Plank – :30 each side

Bonus: The Hollow Rock 

Well known in the CrossFit world and a perfect core exercise for runners, this exercise is easier said than done. Lying on your back with your arms raised up behind your head, begin rocking by lifting your feet and legs up and then simultaneously lifting your upper body and arms. Your body should move like a rocking chair, while engaging the abs throughout the movement.

Watch the tutorial video below for how to do it and ways to modify the move for anyone who’s never done it before.


Speed Work: Have a plan to get your speed work in this week? Without a plan, it’s easy to let it slip by! Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work.


Ready to take your abs to the next level? Bust out today’s 3 rounds + the bonus + the extra credit water challenge and don’t forget to get your kids involved too! Remember, everyone benefits from drink water but runners need even more!

Have a terrific Tuesday Crew!

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Day 10: Abs Defined

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-5-15-24-pmIt’s Ab day again and we can’t talk about abs without talking about how our they affect our running….but come on…we’re ALWAYS talking about running…

There are two types of runners: those who have great abs, and those who want them! Go ahead, admit it: you want great abs! It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Besides looking good, great abs really are healthy. Research has shown that, for both genders, there is a strong correlation between the amount of abdominal fat a person has and the risk of developing metabolic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Obviously, men and women with visible abdominal muscles have a small amount of belly fat and therefore a lower risk for these diseases.

Blah Blah Blah…right? Yea we all know great abs are healthy, but more important (to us) how to do they affect our running???

It’s no coincidence that great abs also result in other benefits specific to runners: better running performance and fewer injuries!

Visible abdominal muscles result not just from having a small amount of abdominal fat but also from having well conditioned core musculature. Strong abs increase the stability of your hips, pelvis, and even your knees during running. (SCORE!)

The result is less strain on your muscles and connective tissues and less chance of injury. Also, by minimizing wasteful movement at the joints, strong abs make your stride more efficient, so you can run faster, longer. That’s what we all want right? To run faster and longer!

Even if you run 50 miles a week, your paunch won’t vanish if you continue to eat donuts and french fries all day long. We have to eliminate those extra calories from your diet that are turned into belly fat. So diet is an important part of the equation.

If you’ve worked hard and only have a very small amount of belly fat, you still need to condition your abdominal muscles with core strength exercises, because your core muscles won’t show through if they are poorly conditioned.

The take away: Eat Good and Do Your Ab Exercises! 🙂 

Day 10 exercises: Abs – 3 sets :30 each move 

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Brid Dog Crunch right side
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch left side
  • Side Plank – :30 each side

Bonus: There are dozens of abdominal exercises you can use to strengthen your midsection; the best ones for runners are those that have the most functional carryover to the act of running. I’ve done tons of research and the 3 exercises below are the best of the best for runners. Pick one, or do all three and tell us which one was your favorite. If you love the exercise keep doing it on ab day. Progress by adding additional repetitions.

I’m not adding videos for these so you need to pay close attention to the directions. But I would love to see your video to show others and to see if you’re doing it correct!

*Side Note: You may notice that these exercises not only target our core, but they’re also great for our hips and pelvis! 🙂

Lying Draw-In with Hip Flexion

Benefit: teaches your deep abs to stabilize the pelvis during alternating leg movements.

Lay face up with your head supported by a large pillow or foam roller. Begin with your legs bent 90 degrees and your thighs perpendicular to the floor, feet together. Engage your deep abs by drawing your navel toward your spine. While holding this contraction, slowly lower your right foot to the floor, return slowly to the starting position, and then lower the left foot. If you find this easy, you are failing to hold the contraction of your deep abs. Lower each foot to the floor 8 to 10 times.

Hip Twist

Benefit: strengthens the abdominal muscles that prevent excessive trunk rotation during running

Lay face up with your arms resting at your sides and your palms flat on the floor. Extend your legs directly toward the ceiling, keeping your feet together, and point your toes. Keeping your big toes side-by-side, tip your legs 12 to 18 inches to the right by twisting at the hip, so that your left buttock comes off the floor. Fight the pull of gravity by maintaining stability with your abs and obliques. Pause for a moment, then return slowly to the start position, again using your core muscles to control the movement. Repeat on the left side.

Supine Running

Benefit: strengthens the lower abs and hip flexors with a running-specific leg action

Lay face up with your arms resting at your sides. Begin with your legs extended and your feet raised two inches above the floor, heels together. Press the small of your back into the floor. Now draw your left knee toward your head while keeping your right leg extended and your lower spine in contact with the floor. Return to the starting position and then draw your left knee toward your head. Repeat 8-12 times with each leg.


Speed Work: For most of us, today is the last chance to do speed work before our long run this weekend. What are you waiting for? Click here and scroll down for this week’s “short” ladder workout.


Stretching: I’ve laid off harping about stretching lately….does that mean your not doing it? I can talk about it more! 😉 If stretching is not part of your every day routine, your body is missing out on a very important and relaxing part of the plan. If you’ve yet to face an injury use stretching as prehab rather than rehab! If you’ve had some niggling pain this should be a no brainer for you! Our 7 Key Stretches for Runners hit all the major parts and it doesn’t take long. Please, take time to stretch.

That’s all for today Crew. Getting defined abs is another step in the process to becoming a more efficient, faster runner. And all those other health benefits too…take your time and use your core to power through our exercises today!

If you hear that voice inside that yells “can’t” DON’T LISTEN. Push harder and listen for the voice that whispers CAN!

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Day 8: Insanity Is…

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Yea yea…we know….insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results. That’s usually true…unless it’s ab day…then doing the same thing over and over again will bring different results. Nice, strong, trim ABS!

Our Tuesday and Thursday Ab routine is the same as last week. The only difference….now we’re stepping it up to 3 rounds. 3 rounds of each exercise for the rest of the month. In this case, insanely doing the same routine over and over while bracing that core will bring awesome results!

Day 8 exercises: Abs – 3 rounds – :30 each exercise for all exercises = 1 round

****Click here or how to videos****

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch – Right Side
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch – Left Side
  • Side Plank – :30 each side

Daily Abs

Bonus: #DailyAbs – In the spirit of INSANITY and doing the same thing over and over again….it’s back to our #DailyAbs!

3 rounds….1-2 minutes per round + a short rest in between sets = an extra 10 minutes. It would be INSANE if you couldn’t find the time! Come on Crew you got this!

 


five-minute-plank

Extra Credit: #5MinutePlank

What’s Ab day without a 5 minute plank?

This is a moving plank so you aren’t holding the same position for very long. Stick with it and prove to yourself just how strong you are!

 


Sarah’s Calorie Burn: Throw in a little extra calorie burn if it’s a rest day form running!

  • 25 Squats
  • 60 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 50 Crunches

Speed Work: The “Short” Ladder – Check out this week’s speed work by clicking here for Monday’s post and scrolling down. Do you have a plan to get your speed work in?


People often call runners “insane” because we push ourselves past normal limits. We endure pain when others would quit. We get up early, have crazy workout routines, and skip “normal” fun stuff to sweat, have sore muscles, and lose toenails.

But we know the truth. Although runners might be “insane” to a normal person, insanity is…the definition of fun!

Don’t be normal…normal is boring. Be awesome…be different…be a little insane…Be you!

And by that I mean…get up and get to work on those abs Crew! 😉

Day 3: How Bad Do You Want It?

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-8-25-43-pmWe have choices to make every day that affect our goals.

What will we eat healthy? Will be will active? Do we run or rest? Will we stay hydrated? Will we stretch and roll out our legs?

How do we decide? A new study suggests that our decisions rely on two separate networks in our brain: “one that determines the overall value, the risk versus reward of individual choices, and another that guides how you ultimately behave.

The study’s co-author Ralph Adolphs, a professor of psychology at Caltech, explains the distinction: “Your valuation network is always providing you with information about what’s rewarding around you, the things you want to do or buy, but also lots of distracting things popping into your vision.”

Glascher explains that people tend to choose immediate gratification rather than delayed reward, and we ignore risks when the reward seems large. The trick is to go with your gut feeling about whether a choice is good or bad, and to ignore distractions and impulse behaviors. It’s about making decisions that benefit us in the long run versus ones that make us feel good in the moment, but leave us feeling bad after it’s done. Ultimately, it’s about choice.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-28-23-pmChoice is the purest expression of free will, and the freedom to choose allows us to shape our lives exactly how we wish. But choice is difficult because it also represents sacrifice. Choosing something inherently means giving up something else, something we might want tomorrow, or next week.

Life’s not about checking an item off your to-do list, although lists do make it easier to get things done. Life’s about being content with where you’ve been, honest with yourself about where you are now, and the courage to make the right choices about where you’re going. It’s about being proud of who you are, the effort you make daily, what you represent, and the impact that you’re having on others.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-28-34-pmAt the end of the day, contentment lands directly with the choices that you make. So give some serious thought to every choice you face.

“Life is a sum of all your choices.” Are you happy with the path that you’re choosing for yourself? The choice is yours.

How bad do you want it? 

Day 3 exercises: Abs – 2 sets (:30 each move)

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch (Right Side)
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch (Left Side)
  • Side Plank (:30 each side)

Daily AbsBonus: #Daily Abs 

Back to a favorite of mine. How many rounds will you choose to do today? How bad do you want trim, strong abs?

This bonus only takes about 1-2 minutes per round. Give yourself a minute to rest in between rounds, then go at it again.

Got an extra 8 minutes for 3 rounds? 10-12 minutes for 4 rounds? 15 minutes for 5 rounds?

Who wants it the most??


Speed Work: TONS of great speed work yesterday! Super proud of everyone who gets out there and tries it. No matter how well it goes today, it benefits you. Better breathing, faster leg turnover leading to a higher cadence, ultimately…more confidence. If it doesn’t go as planned, keep trying! Don’t go out too fast in the beginning and DON’T beat yourself up. Every time you try you will get a little bit better. Don’t give up! Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work.

When you’re done, don’t blow it by making bad food choices. Think about the risk versus reward, avoid distractions and impulsive snacking. Decide now to make good choices today. Get moving, eat healthy, drink water, stretch, do everything in your power to reach the goals that are important to you.

If those goals are important, you’ll find a way. So…how bad do YOU want it?

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