Day 17: Add Life To Your Years

We strength train to get stronger, run faster, avoid injuries….but we also strength train to gain fitness, and fitness is about more than just exercise.

Gaining fitness affects our health, our mood, our self image…fitness adds years to our life…but it also adds life to our years.

If you’ve gotten bored with the benefits of strength training to your running, remember that being active and fit improves your overall quality of life…even when running is on the back burner.

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Leg day again? No, not really…hip and butt day! We’ve taken the focus slightly off our hips this month but we aren’t neglecting them completely. Continuing to strengthen this area is key to a strong base and a healthy body.

I made a comment the other day that this week would separate the committed from the the…well…not so committed, when in fact,  the challenges this week should seem relatively easy to those who are keeping up.

If you fell behind, now is a great time to think about all the benefits being active brings to your life. Add life to your years and jump back in today!

Day 17 exercises: 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant (both sides)
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams (both sides)
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: Modern Mom’s (or Dad’s) Hip Strength – see video below. You know this routine. It takes about 4 minutes per leg and will fire up those hip flexors!

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 40
  • Push Ups Beginner – 14
  • Push Ups Advanced – 70
  • Squats – 50 (only 50? Easy peasy! 😉 )

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

Today, I want you to get up and exercise for you. Don’t do it to run faster. Don’t do it to avoid injuries. Don’t do it because it’s a challenge and you’re “supposed to.”

Do it because it makes you happy. Do it for a healthy mind, an uplifting attitude, and a fabulous mood. 🙂

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Day 10: Brutally Strong Hips

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We’ve talked a lot about the importance of strong hips and glutes. But it never hurts to hear it again…

Let’s review the November 4, 2016 post for those who haven’t heard this stuff yet, and for those who need a reminder…

When it comes to running strong, efficiently, and injury free, it’s all in the hips and butt!

Our hips and glutes work together to provide postural stability when we’re walking, standing and running. Our glutes stabilize and align the hip, decelerate our swinging leg while running, and provide power in our footstrike and push-off.

When we are pounding pavement (or any other kind of terrain), our pelvic floor, quads, hamstrings, knees, calves, and feet are constantly under fire. Without strong hips and glutes, those essential lower extremities might just blow!

The problem is that runners often have weak hips and glutes, leading to discomfort, inefficiency and—worst of all—injury.

According to the TrailRunnermag.com article 4 Hip-Strengthening Exercises to Help You Run Strong, “Trunk muscles—including your hips and glutes—are arguably the most important part of your running anatomy. Pay attention to them to prevent injury and stay strong.”

Weakness in your glutes is related to a lack of “recruitment,” explains Toni Dauwalter, a Physical Therapist at Accelerated Sports Therapy and Fitness in Minneapolis. “Two big reasons for [glute weakness are] our sitting lifestyle and a history of back pain and injury,” she says. “There isn’t much need for core recruitment in the sitting position, especially the frequently adopted work position of forward head and shoulders and rounded spine.”

When do you do your strength work? We’ve talked about this before too and ideally, the best time to do your strength training is right before you run. Doing these basic exercises just before heading out for a run will not only allow you to warm up a bit, but they will also remind you of which muscles you should be engaging while running and you’ll be more inclined to practice things like firing up through your glutes and maintaining good form.

Ready to fire those glutes and keep building strong hips? Let’s get to work Crew!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant (3 sets of 10 for both legs)
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams (3 sets of 10 for both legs)
  • Plank – :60 (Your choice)

Bonus: Modern Mom’s Hip Strength! – Why not? Throw in the workout for a great 8 minute burn!

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 30
  • Push Ups Beginner – 8
  • Push Ups Advanced – 36
  • Squats – Rest

Speed WorkPick up on pickups – “Speed Play” 

Speed play is the simplest form of speed work. “We simply introduce pickups during a run,” says Bob Glover, who supervises training programs for the New York Road Runners Club.

Pickups are segments of faster-paced running injected into an existing run.

In this first step, runners on 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,” says Glover. “We tell them to do six or eight of these during the 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,” says Glover, “because in the minds of many of these people, you don’t go to the track unless you’re good.”

FARTLEKS!!! Go out and choose small portions of your run to pick up speed. Have fun with it!


Weak or strong? What will you choose today?

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Day 3: Booty Blast

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It’s for the booty….but runners know it’s also for the hips!

An article in RunnersConnect.com called “How and Why You Should Strengthen Your Hip Abductors” says,

We often hear about how running is “all about the hips”, and how the source of all your running injuries is weakness in the muscles around your hips, but what does that mean?

Which hip muscles are so critical to success as a runner?

Turns out your hip adductor and abductor muscles are a huge part of you being able to stay healthy as a runner, and if they are neglected, you are putting yourself at serious risk of an injury.

In the article Proper Running Form: Does Gravity Help You Run Faster?, we considered the importance of hip extension in running, and noted that in cases of runners with restricted mobility in the front of the hips, we often see a forward drop of the pelvis, highlighted by an increase in the curve of the lower back.

What does that mean? The body succeeds in traveling over the supporting leg, but without making optimum use of the powerful Gluteus maximus(the main muscle of the buttock).

As a result, stride length becomes compromised, propulsion is reduced, overall effectiveness of the running gait cycle is inhibited and risk of injury potentially raised.

The Gluteus Medium, a smaller but equally important member of the glute family – contributes to what is commonly known as the “hip drop”.

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An excerpt from RunnersConnect.com

The Trendelenburg gait is exhibited by a person who through weakness in the abductor muscles, cannot maintain sufficient height of the opposite side of the pelvis to raise the foot and transfer weight to the other leg.

Instead, the pelvis drops downwards, meaning the affected person has to bend their leg more than usual at the knee in order to make up for the lack of lift.

To compensate, the stride on the unaffected side typically becomes shorter, along with a tendency for the person to lurch towards the weakened side in an attempt to maintain a level pelvis.

We’ve talked about this “hip drop” before, noting that almost every runner has some form of weakness in their glutes contributing to this issues. Check out the image below…

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What does this “hip drop” lead to?

Various studies have shown a link between Gluteus medius weakness and athletic injury:

  • In a study by Fredericson et al (2000), 24 distance runners with Iliotibial Band Syndrome had the hip abductor strength of their injured limb compared to that of the non injured limb (and to that of a control group). It was found that on average Gluteus medius strength was 2% less on the injured side.
  • After a six-week rehabilitation period with particular focus on strengthening the Gluteus medius (side-lying hip abduction and pelvic drops), 22 of the 24 injured athletes were pain-free and able to return to running. Furthermore, a six-month follow-up showed no reports of recurrence.
  • Other studies have also linked weaker hip abductors and external rotators to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Ireland et al.,2003; Robinson et al.,2007; Cichanowski et al.,2007).

Yep you got it…tight hips, IT Band pain, knee pain, and so on right down the legs. It’s all connected!

So what do we of about it? Blast that booty and build stronger butt muscles! Let’s do this!

Day 3 exercises: 2 sets of 10

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams
  • Plank – :60 (Your choice of plank)

Bonus: Side-lying hip abduction – 2 sets of 10 

side-abduction

To work the right hip abductor muscles (as in the photo):

  • Lie down in a left side-lying position. Make sure your hips are “stacked” (right hip directly over the left hip) and that your body is in a straight line.
  • Placing your top hand on the floor in front of you can help ensure that you are not leaning forwards.
  • Your pelvis should be in a neutral position (not hitched or tilted forwards/backwards).

January Challenges:

  1. Burpees – 15
  2. Push Ups Beginner – 4
  3. Push Ups Advanced – 15
  4. Squats – 75

Speed Work Options: “If you want to run faster, you have to run fast!”

Do you have a plan to get your speed work in? You’ve got options so decide when it will happen and go get you some speed!

  1. On the Track: “High-intensity track sessions move the muscles through the full range of motion, improving elasticity and enhancing coordination between your nervous system and muscles. With time, you’ll develop a more efficient stride at all your paces.”

    HIIT It: Begin with two 100-meter accelerations that include 40 meters at top speed, with 2 to 3 minutes of walking or jogging between.

    Build to 6 x 150 meters hard, including 80 meters at top speed, with 3 to 4 minutes jogging or walking rest.

    Over time, increase the number of repeats to 10, lengthen reps to 300 meters (running nearly the entire distance at top speed), or reduce the rest interval to one minute.

  2. On the Hills: Inclines are a great venue for superfast speedwork. Compared with a flat surface, hills reduce the impact on your legs and limit your range of motion, thereby lowering the risk of strains and pulls. Plus, hill repeats build muscle power, which helps you run more efficiently on level ground, says McConkey.

    HIIT It: On an incline, start with three 30-second moderate repeats and walk down the hill for recovery.

    When this becomes comfortable, progress to 4 x 1 minute near all-out efforts with a downhill jog and an additional 30 to 60 seconds jogging or walking rest.

    Over time, add additional reps, extend effort length up to two minutes, and aim for steeper hills.

Speed Workouts for Beginners: When you’re just starting out, any type of interval—even alternating walking with jogging—will challenge your body in new ways.

Incorporate one of the following workouts each week to introduce intensity and boost your speed.

  1. Track: Run two laps. On the straights, accelerate and hold top speed for 20 meters. Walk the curves.
  2. Trail: Intersperse an easy run with 3 to 4 20-second, moderate-intensity surges.
  3. Hills: Do an easy run that incorporates three 20-second climbs, each one at a moderate effort.

What else should we be doing today? Well…Tuesday is always a great day for a No Junk Food Challenge! And I need it…yes I do need to be reminded to eat well. So here’s to a fabulous day of sweating, eating right, and of course….

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Day 25: It’s A Good Day to Have a Good Day!

Good day to have a good dayIt’s Monday again…and it’s already the last week of July. Where does the month go?

Good thing we have a schedule to follow…because even when life gets in the way and each day isn’t perfect we are still making the most of our month and every little bit counts!

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve done… or how little you’ve done…because today is a good day to have a good day!

The last week of the month is usually when everyone kinda falls off and things in the group are slow. How about a last week full of activity and strength training instead of waiting around on August to start?

Start August feeling good instead of slouching the last week and having even more catch up work to do next week. Let’s finish strong!

Since it’s the last week of the month and we are working with 3 rounds of 10 for all of our exercises, I won’t be pushing a bunch of extra stuff. That means it will be easier to get those runs in AND get your strength training done. No excuses this week Core Crew!

Day 25 exercises: 3 rounds of 10 

  • Goblet Squat
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Front Kick + Round Kick
  • Wall Sit – 1 min (3X)
  • Burpees – 3 sets of 10 – Come on Crew you got this!
  • Planks – 1 min (2X)

A few last week of the month details…time to make sure you’re in for another great month!

PayPal: Payment for August is due by Sunday 7/31 so you have some time but don’t wait till the last minute. Here is the PayPal link for anyone who is due and for our readers who have been lurking but haven’t pulled the trigger on being a part of our fabulous, supportive Crew. Join us now! Our monthly support group is only $10/month and I promise it will be the best money you’ve ever spent on yourself! Reach out to me with any questions through private message here.

August Ideas: It’s also time to chime in and let us know what you want to see on our calendar for next month. Any exercises you’ve seen that you think our Crew would love? Any moves that, done consistently, will help us all get stronger? Now is the time to share! Tag me in a post in Strong to the Core, or send me a private message. I try to fit in all suggestions so don’t be shy!

Most importantly…pile on the miles in this last week of July. Don’t fall short of your monthly milage goals. Running or walking…keep moving and get your daily challenges completed. 3 rounds of 10….you got this!


I know it’s hot, you’re tired, maybe feeling defeated and tempted to just let this week go, but don’t give up on your goals! Keep believing in yourself, stay the course and finish the month strong!

Everyday is a good day to have a good day. Let’s make it a really good day Core Crew!

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Day 18: How Strong are Your Quads?

Wall Sit challengeBack to the grind Core Crew!

Monday’s are leg day and we’re stepping up our leg game to 3 rounds of 10 and adding a contest in the mix.

The wall sit is a great exercise to build strength in our quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It’s also burns calories!

According to the Health Status website, a 150-pound person can burn about 5 calories per minute. If you hold weights in your hands, or place a ball between your knees, you can make the exercise more challenging. The more weight you hold, the more calories your body will burn.

How long can you wall sit? Today’s calendar calls for 3 wall sits at :60 each. After you’ve done your 3 rounds, do 1 more wall sit. Yes your legs will already be burning…but that’s when your true strength will shine through. On wall sit #4, hold it for as long as you can, then post in Strong to the Core using #WallSitChallenge and tell us how long you could sit through the burn.

Day 18 exercises: 3 rounds of 10

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

  • Goblet Squat
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Front Kick + Round Kick
  • Wall Sit – :60 each
  • Burpees
  • Plank – :45 (2X)

Bonus: #WallSitChallenge – The wall sit challenge comes AFTER round 3.

When you’re done, go to this website, scroll down and enter your weight and how many minutes you were able to complete to find out how many calories you burned today doing wall sits!

Speed Work: This week’s speed work is going to be a little different. Instead of hurts of speed on a flat surface….it’s time to throw in some hill work. If you’re in a flat area like I am, find a bridge or a treadmill and challenge yourself!

Hill running increases leg-muscle power; improves fitness; and uses the muscles of the legs, arms and core in ways that are different than running on flat surfaces. Hill workouts can serve as a way to transition into more formal speedwork, or to balance intervals performed on a track or flat roads. Here’s the workout:

Short Hill Repeats – The focus of these short workouts is on speed, power and anaerobic energy recruitment. In general, these repeats should take about 75 to 120 seconds and your effort level should very high, an 8-10 on the rate of perceived exertion scale, if not all out in very short bursts. The grade should be relatively steep. Because you will be working extremely hard for a short period of time, your recovery time will be twice as long as the time it took to run the sprint in order to bring breathing and heart rate back to normal. If you are using heart rate training, these short bursts will be in Zone 4-5, with a recovery back to Zone 1-2. Your pace for short hill repeats will be faster than your race pace goal and medium length hills will be near or slightly above your race pace goal.

  • 8-10x 200 meters (.12 mile) uphill

Remember to give yourself recovery time in between sets (twice as long as the set took) and make sure to get a good stretch in for the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes when you’re done. Our 7 Key Stretches for Runners includes a stretch for each of these areas.

Victory over yourselfToday’s challenge is not about “victory” over your fellow Core Crew members…it’s about  pushing yourself farther than you through you could go. Don’t think about winning…even though that’s kinda fun too… Instead focus on overcoming that little voice in your head that says you can’t hold the wall sit for very long. Face that internal challenge and overcome your fear of self defeat.

Day 11: Stay Focused

heavy weights low squatsWith all the long runs this past weekend it would be easy to say to yourself…”Oh I did plenty…I don’t need leg work on a Monday…”

DON’T SKIP IT!

Power up hills and launching forward when we’re tired takes more strength! Our quads, hamstrings, and calves need extra special attention. They need heavy weights and low squats!

Day 11 exercises: 2 rounds of 10

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

  • Goblet Squat – How low can you go?
  • Butt Lift Bridge – Squeeze your thighs and glutes!
  • Front Kick + Round Kick – Power through each move!
  • Wall Sit – :60 – Tight tight tight…quads and glutes again…squeeze!
  • Burpees – Stop thinking about it…just do it!
  • Plank – :30 (2X) – Easy peasy 😉

Bonus: #StrongLegsWorkoutStrong Legs Workout

Ready to go a little harder? Think strong, sexy, powerful legs and kill those super sets!

***Brownie Points*** Monday Legs….Round 3

1 more round. You’re legs are tired…I get it. Push through!


Running Drills: You know these drills and should be doing them each time you run. Think power and form….just a little extra strength work in the form of drills.

  • Butt Kicks
  • High Knees
  • Bounding
  • Grapevines
  • Slow Skipping
  • Lateral Bounding
  • Hamstring Extensions
  • Straight Leg Shuffle
  • Running Backwards

Speed Work: Who’s planning ahead for some speed work this week? I’d love to see some tough workouts! This one isn’t easy…but instead of thinking of it as speed work… think of it as interval work. 😉

  • 4x – 6x 800M (approximately half mile)

A lot of us do a run/walk right? So think of it this way…push pace for a half mile then walk for 1-2 min to recover. Thinking of them as half mile repeats with a walk in between will help you wrap your head around these longer intervals and make it seem less daunting.

Remember to start with a slow warm up…around a mileis perfect, then go into your intervals. When you’ve done 4-6 half mile push sessions…slow it down for a recovery jog for another half to full mile. Bring your heart rate down then give yourself a big hug and pat on the back!

Go home and stretch it out!


We’ve got some injuries…we’ve got some people down in the dumps…and we have others who are killing every workout and giving us something to cheer for and to look forward too. If you are on the sidelines…find a way to keep your mind focused. Go for a bike ride, or a swim, go to a yoga class, bust out the Ab Pyramid…or do an extra round of leg work.

Don’t give up your fitness because you can’t do exactly what you want. We can stay involved without being on the road…and the rest of our Core Crew is going to hold us up…and hold us accountable.

No matter if you’re on the road…or waiting to get better…your main focus is to remain focused. Stay Core Crew Strong!!

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Day 4: Celebrate Freedom!

Independence DayGood morning and Happy 4th Core Crew! Tons of racing going on today…good luck to everyone! Run with joy and thankfulness because you are FREE!

We all have lots of other fun family stuff to do today but that doesn’t mean skip your workout…2 rounds of 10…too easy? Throw in one or both of the bonus workouts! Would love to see some families getting involved today! 🙂

Day 4 exercises: 2 rounds of 10 ****Click here for “how to” videos!****

  • Goblet Squat
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Front Kick + Round Kick
  • Wall Sit – :30
  • Burpees
  • Plank  :30 (2X)

Bonus: #FireCrackerWorkout and/or #Family4thWorkout

There are people all over the world who don’t have the freedom to workout when they want…who don’t have the freedom to celebrate with family and friends. There are people who gave their time and their lives so we could be free!

Celebrate freedom…give it your all! Don’t skimp out today…remember to drinks LOTS of water (in-bewtween whatever else you’re consuming 😉 )…work hard…make it awesome! 🙂

Celebrate Freedom