Day 20: Go Hard or Go Home

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 5.16.09 AMWhat are we doing today? You got it…Crunching it out for some killer abs!

I don’t know anyone who loves crunches…but we’re doing them everyday because summer is around the corner and we all want to look nice in our bathing suits. Let’s get rid of the muffin top and get those nice toned abs we all crave!

Day 20: “How to” videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Frog Sit ups – 3 sets of 15
  • Oblique Crunches – 3 sets of 15
  • Reverse Crunches – 3 sets of 15
  • Plank – :30-1 min (2X)
  • 75 Crunches
  • Ab stretches – These will feel really good today so don’t skip them!

210 varios crunches today…I think that’s enough don’t you? 😉

Bonus: Dead Bugs and Bird Dogs – These exercises will give you a little extra core work today and are very similar to each other except they are switched around. Knock out 3 sets of 10 each for your bonus today. Here’s how to do them.

Other stuff on the agenda…running drills and speed work.

Running Drill: Running Backwards – Strengthen your glutes and hamstring with this drill. It feels awkward but it will help you build strength.

How: Although it will seem awkward at first, try to replicate your forward running motion while moving backward. You’ll still be pushing off of your forefoot and swinging you arms, but you’ll be lunging backward with your hamstrings and using core muscles to stabilize differently than you’re used to while moving forward. Focus on form, not on speed. Do two or four reps of 50 to 100 meters.

Why do we do running drills? Lots of reasons…build strength, improve form, increase cadence.

A lot of our running drills will help you improve your cadence. What is cadence?

Cadence – Stride rate, number of steps per minute or leg turnover. Efficient runners tend to have stride rates of about 180 steps per minute. Increasing stride rate usually means shortening your stride so that you are running the same pace while maintaining a faster cadence.

Cadence is a critical part of running, lowering the stress on ankles, knees, & feet, improving running economy, reducing injury rates, and enhancing running form. Simply…Cadence is how often your feet touch the ground and it’s easy to modify.

Increasing your cadence will help you run faster and more efficiently and it will also help you avoid injuryy. There’s been lots of talk over the last fews years about heel striking and don’t worry…if you are a heel striker…you are not alone. Consider the results of a study done by Pete Larson at the 2009 Manchester City Marathon. Using a high speed camera, Larson filmed runners at the 10km and 32km points of the race, and later classified them according to their foot strike.

At the 10K mark, his results for 936 runners were as follows:

Heel strike: 88.9%; midfoot: 3.4%; forefoot: 1.8%; asymmetrical 5.9%

88.9% heel strikers! Good news! Experts now agree that heel striking alone is not the problem. Instead of it being all about landing on the heel…experts now say “running efficiency is not so much a question of what part of the foot touches the ground first, but how close initial contact is to underneath the hips, i.e. your centre of mass.” In other words, a heel strike that lands close to the hips and on a bent knee causes no significant over-braking or over-loading to the knee.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 5.46.52 AMWe’ve all heard of Meb, who is a classic example of a a runner with a “good heel strike”. American long distance specialist Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics men’s marathon, winner of the 2009 New York City Marathon, 4th place in the 2012 Olympics.

You can see him here landing on his heel…but you can also see how his knee is bent and his foot lands closer to his body…not straight out in front of him.

What does this mean for us? It means that you shouldn’t worry so much about how your foot lands…but about where your foot lands in reference to your body. Increasing your cadence will force you to pull your landing leg back and closer to the center of your body.

Try this Running Turnover Drill during your runs this week and let us know what you find. Don’t try this while doing your speed work…pick a different run.

Turnover Drill: Find and improve your cadence

  1. Slowly jog about half to three-quarters of a mile.
  2. Begin to run at your normal pace. Once you’ve hit your stride, start your stopwatch, and for :15 count the times your right foot pushes off. Multiply by four. That’s your turnover rate.
  3. Jog a bit more at slow speed, and then repeat Step 2, trying to increase the number of footfalls per minute by two to five.
  4. Repeat up to four more times, trying to increase your footfalls every time. Stop increasing the number of footfalls when you’re not running comfortably anymore.

Speed Work: We are still working on our 1/4 mile repeats. IIP – Introduce, Improve, Perfect. Find this week’s speed work and the pace you should be running here.

When it’s all said and done…don’t forget to stretch!

That’s all for today Core Crew. Keep inspiring each other and yourself to do a little more than you thought you were capable of. Get out of your comfort zone and make it a great Hump Day! 🙂

Ab Stretches and 7 Key Stretches for Runners: