Day 30: Decide to Finish Strong!

Decide to finish strongWe have choices to make everyday…little choices, big choices, some don’t matter much and others carry lots of weight. This one is big…not because it has major consequences, because finishing strong will give you a HUGE sense of accomplishment!

The last day of our March 2016 Challenge is today! What will you do to make it count?

Day 30 exercises:

  • Russian Twists – 100X (each side)
  • Bridge – 1 min (3X)
  • Burpees – 20X
  • Calf Raises – 10X (each side)
  • Planks – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • One Arm Camel
  • Spinal Stretch on Stability Ball

All Over Abs

Bonus: Want to push it even harder today? Try this #AllOverAbs workout and let’s get our abs feeling as sore as our arms. 🙂

vertical leg crunchEverything on here should be familiar except maybe the Vertical Leg Crunches….but it’s simple. Legs go straight up and you reach up to your toes.

Wednesday is a great day for a run so get out there and get some miles in too!

I’ll be looking through the whole month tomorrow to choose out “Top Challenger of the Month” so remember to post today and let’s see who will bring home the medal!

Whatever you do today…go hard and DECIDE TO FINISH STRONG! 🙂

Day 29: Building Awesome Arms!

Header-Awesome-Arms-Workout-e1421103340916

Time for some awesome arm work Core Crew!

Arms, Bonus, Speed work…who will make time for it all today?

Day 29 exercises: 4 sets of 15! 

  • Tricep Dips
  • Shoulder Presses
  • Reverse Fly
  • Calf Raises (10X each leg)
  • Planks – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Arm Stretches (see below)

Awesome Arm Workout

 

Bonus: #AwesomeArmWorkout – We’re already doing shoulder presses today…so you can skip the over head press…or do another 3 sets of 10! Other than the shoulder press…these are all extras for today. 😉

Speed Work: Tuesday is a great day for speed work! We’ve rested up a bit from our weekend long runs and are ready to move!

Doing Pick Ups this week…this is a simple and fun way to add speed to your weekly run and get a little bit faster. Here’s how to do it….

Pick Ups: These “modified fartleks” are meant to be fun…and fast! They’re considered modified because I you do them with a purpose using a specific time or step count. Choose a day when you are doing a short run…30-45 min or 3 miles. Warm up with a slow jog for about 10 min then STOP and stretch. Start your watch over…then do rounds of :15 (all out fast) :45 (slow). Continue this for your entire run. If you don’t to use a stop watch…count your steps during the fast part using the ground strike of one foot…a good rule of thumb is 24-26 steps (one foot). Once you have completed 3 miles slow down and do a cool down for a good half mile or 10 min. Overall you should get in over 3 miles with warm up and cool down. Then go home and STRETCH! Here’s our 7 Key Stretches for Runners.

You’ve got the plan…Day 29, Bonus, Speed Work….get to it and make it a great day Core Crew!  🙂

 

Day 28: Screw Mediocre

dont be mediocreYou woke up today! You’ve been given another chance to see the sun, to kiss your loved ones, to make today better than all the rest…another chance to be fabulous!

Finish StrongYou did not wake up today to be mediocre.

It’s the final 3 days of our March Challenge Core Crew…there’s no time for make ups, or catch up days, or I’ll do it tomorrow….the time is now.

Go hard for the next 3 days then Thursday will be a rest day. Finish Strong!

Day 28 exercises: 

  • Wall Sit – 1 Min (3X)
  • Calf Raises – 4 sets of 15
  • Sumo Squats – 4 sets of 15
  • Planks – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

Cardio Countdown

 

Bonus: #CardioCountdown

Remember all that deliciousness you devoured yesterday?Time to work it off! 😉

This Cardio Countdown will get your heart rate up, your blood pumping, and will burn off those calories! Do all 10 rounds and count down each time. Take a short break between each set but don’t stop till your done!

 

 

Since it’s a short week and I want you to work hard on each day’s exercises, we’ll take a short break from the running drills and pick them back up next week.

Speed Work: If you want to get faster….you have to run fast! No break from speed work! Choose 1 day this week and really kill your speed work session.

Pick Ups: We’ve done these before but let’s do them again. These “modified fartleks” are meant to be fun…and fast! They’re considered modified because I want you to do them with a purpose using a specific time or step count. Choose a day when you are doing a short run…30-45 min or 3 miles. Warm up with a slow jog for about 10 min then STOP and stretch. Start your watch over…then do rounds of :15 (all out fast) :45 (slow). Continue this for your entire run. If you don’t to use a stop watch…count your steps during the fast part using the ground strike of one foot…a good rule of thumb is 24-26 steps (one foot). Once you have completed 3 miles slow down and do a cool down for a good half mile or 10 min. Overall you should get in over 3 miles with warm up and cool down. Then go home and STRETCH! Here’s our 7 Key Stretches for Runners. 🙂

Today’s additional leg stretch are below. Do these after you’ve done today’s leg exercises.

Final thought… Keep this in mind all week.

top of the hill

Would you rather be at the top? Or at the bottom…wondering what the top feel like?

3 Days…you can do anything for three straight days Core Crew! Let’s make it amazing! 🙂

Day 24: Back to Legs & Booty!

booty dayHey Core Crew! How is everyone feeling today? I bet we’ve got some sore arms and abs after the killer workouts I’ve seen this week!

Loved seeing all the speed work yesterday! Y’all really rocked it out and left everything on the pavement…or treadmill. 🙂

Ready to get back to the most important strength exercises for runners? You guessed it…it’s leg and booty day!

Day 24: 4 sets of 15

  • Squats
  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Calf Raises (10X per each leg)
  • Plank – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

You probably know how to do these properly but if you need a reminder here are the how to videos and of course if you’re running…PLEASE take time to go through the 7 Key Stretches for Runners!

stairs workoutBonus: #GotStairs? 

If you don’t have stairs this will be a tough bonus but a great workout if you can find some.

Glute Bridges are similar to the bridge we do on Ab Day except instead of holding the bridge up for a certain amount of time go up and down 20 times slowly. Tighten those glutes and feel the burn!

*Side Note – I’m not a fan of lunges for runners so if you skip them…I’m cool with that!

Running Drills and Speed Work: I’ve seen lots of running  this week on our way through the Appalachians…and some great speed work yesterday!  I have a feeling there’s more killer speed sessions coming today. Click here to find out this week’s track workout and the running drills to add in before you run…and after your warm up. These drills will loosen you up and get you ready for that speed work!

I’m not racing this weekend but I know a bunch of you are! Melissa is running her 2nd full at the Tamoka Marathon…Chris, Catherine, and Lisa are running the Tamoka Half Marathon…who else is racing? Let me know so I can be thinking about you this weekend!

Only a few days left in our March Challenge. Do you have a friend or family member you think will benefit from our group next month? Refer a friend and get April free..or if you paid for the month already…get your $$ back! New members are $10 for the month, $30 for the quarter, or $100 for the year. Core members will always be $5/month. Referrals are awesome so if you know someone who need the accountability and support…tell them about Strong to the Core! I’ll be sending out reminder to those who are due for April. If you’re ready to pay for April now…click here.

Legs/Booty, stairs, speed work, running drills…lots to do and so little time… Let’s get to it and make it a great Thursday Core Crew! 🙂

Day 23: Summer is Coming!

worked out all winterWarmer weather is already here for some…and others are still getting snow…but either way…summer is coming faster that we know!

What are you doing to get ready for bikini weather? Are you working hard now…to feel good later?

We all want a toned tummy…but just as important for runners…is core strength and stability!

Runner’s World talks a lot about how important core work is for runners. In this article, they tell us… ‘A generation ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find elite runners paying attention to their abs. Today, it’s practically mandatory. Coaches drill the importance of core conditioning into our heads. We’re at it all the time.’ That’s because scientists and coaches now know that you can’t run your best without a strong core, the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and glutes. They provide the stability, power, and endurance that runners need for powering up hills, sprinting to the finish, and maintaining efficient form mile after mile. Quality core work isn’t easy. But it doesn’t require more than 15 minutes a few times a week-an investment that will pay dividends on the road.”

Warmer weather coming…stronger core for enhanced performance…what other motivation do you need to get it done today?

Day 23 exercises:

  • Russian Twists – 80X each side
  • Burpees – 20X
  • Bridge – 1:30 (2X)
  • Calf Raises – 10X (each side)
  • Plank – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (each side)
  • Calf stretches
  • One Arm Camel
  • Spinal Stretch on Stability Ball

Bonus: 10 extra burpees 🙂

Running Drills and Speed work: Have you been putting off the drills and speed work? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone talking about either….find out what this week’s workouts are here.

If you’re still unsure of today’s exercises here are the how to videos and the 7 Key Stretches for Runners. Today’s ab stretches are below.

Happy Hump Day Core Crew…make it great! 🙂

 

Day 22: Can You Feel Your Arms?

Cant feel my arms“If running’s your thing, it can’t be your only thing if you want to be fit. That’s like saying you’re going to get all your nutrition from a single food.”

Your miles can burn off a burrito and clear your mind after a stressful day, but skipping strength and upper-body training can keep you from the sexy shoulders, strong arms, and overall healthy image you’re after…and it can keep you from running your fastest.

Our daily workouts will improve your strength…but by themselves they might not be strenuous enough where you won’t feel your arms. Throw in today’s bonus work and I bet you’ll be feeling it tomorrow!

Final 9 days of March are here and we are stepping it up again this week…Get through it and finish the month strong!

Day 22 exercises: 4 sets of 15

  • Tricep Dips
  • Shoulder Press
  • Reverse Fly
  • Calf Raises – 10 each side
  • Plank – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 Min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Arm StretchesTank Top Arms

Bonus: #TankTopArms – This is a great addition to today’s arm workout…who’s up for a little extra challenge?

Running Drills and Speed Work: We’ve got some great running drills and speed work to add to our routines this week. Plan ahead to work them in or you will forget! Check out Monday’s post for this week’s workout.

Everything you need for today is below.

Have questions or need a little extra push? Reach out to me and let’s chat. We’re all here to help each other reach our daily, weekly, and long term goals. Don’t be shy to ask for help!

That’s all for today Crew…make it a great Tuesday! 🙂

Day 21: Love Yourself Enough

Love myself enough to exercise“Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner.”

Will you love yourself enough to make time to exercise today?

Monday is always a fresh chance to start the week off right and leg day is a quick workout so no excuses today! If you’re not running but still want to work up a sweat check out today’s bonus #KillerKardio workout and let us know how many rounds you were able to get done.

Lots of things to go over but it’s not all meant to be done today. I will refer back to today’s post and remind you to fit in the running drills, posture check, and speed work throughout the week.

Without further adieu…

Day 21 exercises:

  • Wall Sit – 1 Minute (3X)
  • Calf Raises – 3 sets of 15
  • Sumo Squats – 3 sets of 15
  • Planks – 1 min (2X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

Make sure you are doing the sumo squats correctly to get the most out of your workout today. How to videos are here and today’s stretches are below. Need a refresKiller Kardioher on our 7 Key Stretches for Runners? I hope you are adding these stretches in after each run…especially the long ones!

Bonus: #KillerKardio 

Don’t quit after 1 round…2, 3, 4 ? How many rounds do you have in you today?


Running Drills: Have you been trying out the weekly running drills? If not…why? They only take a few minutes but are fun and each drill has a purpose and will help you become a more efficient runner.

Slow Skipping:

Why: This drill helps develop calf and foot strength needed during the toe-off phase of the Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 11.24.31 AMgait cycle while also stimulating neuromuscular timing for running with high cadence. It also accentuates the high-knee action of the lifted leg during a running stride.

How: Skip with a moderate leap off of one foot and return to the ground and immediately leap off the other foot, maintaining a compact arm swing as if you were running. This slow-action skipping drill should have a staccato rhythm. Do two or four 50-meter reps.

Lateral Bounding: 

Why: This drill develops lateral strength and agility necessary to stabilize the body and maintain single-leg balance during forward running motion. Specifically, this drill works the glutes, hip flexors, tensors, abductors and psoas muscles in ways that are otherwise neglected in forward running.

How: With an upright torso and level head, move laterally in one direction by alternately bounding with your legs spread and your legs together. You’ll probably need to swing your arms overhead in an opposite pattern to maintain balance. Do two to four 50-meter reps to the left and right, facing the same direction for each lateral movement.

Here’s a quick video showing the one legged version of lateral bounding.


Form Check: Running Posture 

Good posture helps runners move more efficiently, avoid injury, and have a positive mental outlook. Even the casual runner can benefit from a few key posture checks.

  1. Run tall
  2. Keep the torso stable, with the entire body facing forward
  3. Stay relaxed throughout the body

Working on these elements while you’re running will enhance your performance and help you avoid injury. The New York Road Runners site tells us:

  • Running tall will increase lung capacity, leading to increased endurance and a more powerful running stride. It will also help athletes properly position their center of gravity and maintain proper alignment, which will prevent injuries and allow for efficient running.
  • A general sense of relaxation can have a positive psychological effect on runners by promoting feelings of ease, comfort and control. It can also improve performance by saving the body’s supply of oxygen for the muscles needed for the running motion. Releasing tension also allows the joints increased range of motion for fuller, more fluid movements.

Watch this NYRR club video on running posture for more great tips.


Speed Work: I want to challenge everyone to get a track workout in this week. If you don’t have a track…that’s ok..you can still do this workout. Go by mileage 1/4 mile intervals and make sure to take your rest breaks in-between sets.

Track workout –

  1. When setting out to do a track workout, warm up with a mile or two of easy jogging and then perform a set of four to six strides in order to get your fast-twitch muscle fibers ready to do some work.
  2. As for the workout itself, aim for two to three miles’ worth of intervals ranging from 1/4 mile (1 lap around track) to 1/2 mile (2 laps around track). Run them at your goal 5K race pace or even a few seconds per mile faster. For recovery, jog or walk for 2-4 minutes before starting the next interval.
  3. Cool down with a 1/2 slow job to bring your heart rate back down. Overall this should be a 4-5 mile run including warm up and cool down.

Want to know a good goal pace for you for a 5K? Reach out to me with a current 5K, 10K, or half marathon time and I’ll let you know a good goal pace for your track workout.


Lots of info here…but remember some of this is for the whole week and I will refer back to it. Plan your week in advance so you can fit in your key workouts without stressing or letting life get in the way.

Let’s get to it and make it a great Monday Core Crew!! 🙂

Day 17: Love Leg Day!

last squat repMy Favorite leg day!! Squats, Donkey Kicks & Fire Hydrants oh boy!

It’s time to knock out a killer leg day then rest up so we can tackle those races and long runs this weekend!

What’s on your schedule this weekend? Let me know so I can be thinking about you and cheer you on!

Day 17 exercises: 3 sets of 15

  • Squats
  • Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrant
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Calf Raises (1 set of 10 each leg)
  • Planks – 1 min (2X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

How to videos here…stretching exercises at the bottom.

Bonus: #GetClammy

Basic clamBasic Clam: 10 – 15 times

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on your mat. Place a plump pillow or medicine ball between your knees and lengthen your spine. Exhale as you engage your inner thighs and squeeze the pillow. Inhale as you release the pressure without dropping the pillow. Do not allow your tailbone to lift up as you squeeze; keep your spine long so that your tailbone stays down, recommends Robinson. Perform 10 squeezes, noticing how it feels to keep your pelvis steady while engaging your inner thighs.

Open Clam: 10 – 15 each sideopen clam

Lie on your side with your spine aligned with the edge of your mat. Stack your legs one on top of the other, and tuck your knees forward about 45 degrees. Exhale as you lift the top knee up, keeping your feet stacked. Your legs should look like an open clamshell. Inhale as you close your legs. Keep your pelvis steady throughout the movement. Intensify this exercise by squeezing your buttocks three times in the open clamshell position.

Clam Squeeze: 10 -15 timesScreen Shot 2016-03-17 at 5.44.06 AM

Stay in the same position that you used for open clam and place the pillow between your knees. Keep your feet stacked as you slowly exhale and gently squeeze the pillow. Keep your spine long so that your back does not tuck or arch. Inhale as you release the pillow. To intensify this exercise, perform three tiny pulses when you are in the squeezed position.

Reverse clamReverse Clam: 10 – 15 each side

After performing clam squeeze, put the pillow aside. Keep your knees pressed gently together and rotate your top thigh inward to lift your shin and foot upward. Your clamshell is now opening to the rear. Exhale as you lift up; inhale as you close the clamshell. Repeat this movement without allowing your spine to tuck or arch. To intensify this exercise, add tiny pulses – about ½ inch — in the open clam position.

Running Drills and Speed Work: Have you added the high knees and grapevines in before you run this week? What about last weeks butt kicks and bounding? Have you thrown in some speedy fartleks while pounding the pavement (or treadmill)? If not…try them! These are fun drills that will give us strength, power, and speed! Click here for Monday’s post with all the info you need to do them properly.

When you’re hating me (in a good way 😉 ) remember that…

exercise makes you happy

Make it a great Thursday Core Crew! 🙂

Stretches:

 

Day 16: Suck It Up…or Suck It In

Who’s ready for some ab work? I know…I know…we are all sore…but you know that saying we have all seen a million times now…

suck it up buttercup

Suck it up now to avoid sucking it in later! And of course there are other benefits to a lean, strong core. According to the Runner’s World article, The Core of the Matter, “A well-balanced core improves your running economy. Result: faster times.” No love handles and we can run faster? I’m in!

Day 16 exercises:

  • Russian Twists – 60X (each side)
  • Burpees – 15X (this should be easy after all the burpees we’ve been doing this week. No push up required! 🙂 )
  • Bridge – 2X – I min each
  • Calf Raises – 10X (each side)
  • Plank – 2X (1 Min)
  • Side Planks – 1X each side (1 Min)
  • Calf Stretches
  •  One Arm Camel – :30 each arm
  • Spinal Stretch on Stability Ball – :30 – 1 min

How to videos can be found here and today’s stretches are below.

Bonus: Adding a new core exercise to the mix today. If you have low back pain this is a great way to add strength to your core and help eliminate that pesky pain.

Step Downs (Better known as the Dead Bug) 

Lie on your back with one hand under your lower back. Lift your legs so your thighs are at a 90-degree angle with the floor, and bend both knees to a 90-degree angle. Tighten your lower back so that it doesn’t move up or down, and slowly lower your right foot to within 1 inch of the floor. Keep your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle, and maintain the position of your left leg. Hold your right foot 1 inch off the floor for 2 seconds, then return it to the start position next to the left leg. Repeat the same action, but this time lower the left foot. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps for each leg.

Running Drills: Still sticking with Butt Kicks and Grapevines. Click here (Monday’s post) to read more about why they are good for us and how to do them correctly.

If you are running today…please do not forget those awesome 7 Key Stretches for Runners!  Even if you’re not running…they feel really good and will keep your muscles soft and pliable. Just get down on the floor while watching your favorite TV show and go through the circuit.

I think I covered everything…Day 16, Bonus, Stretches, Running Drills….OH SPEED WORK! Remember to throw in those Fartleks during one of your runs this week. Description and steps are also in Monday’s post which you can find here.

That’s all for today Core Crew. Make it a great hump day! 🙂

Day 15: Arms – Form, Strength and Power

Running formGood overall running form is something we haven’t talked about before, but certainly something we can all work on. Since it’s arm day…let’s talk about arm form and swing.

Good arm form is an important part of good overall running form. Proper arm form will give us better efficiency and performance.

Do your arms cross your body? Do you arms move from the elbows instead of the shoulders? Watch the video below for some great tips on arm form and swing.

When you have the right arm form, you are able to propel your body more efficiently during your runs…and stronger arms means more power when the rest of our body is feeling fatigued.

This week when you go out for your runs…think about your arm movement and about how much those arms can help make you a better runner.

Day 15 exercises: Stepping up!

  • Tricep Dips – 3 sets of 15
  • Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 15
  • Reverse Fly – 3 sets of 15
  • Calf Raises – 1 set of 10 (each leg)
  • Plank – 1 min (2X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Tricep Towel Stretch
  • Calf Stretches

As always…you can watch the how to videos for today’s exercises here. Please continue to use proper form to get the most out of your workout and to avoid injury! Stretching images are at the bottom of today’s post.

Bonus Workout: #FullNameWorkout full name workout

If you did the full name workout yesterday you ROCK! Let’s do it again today…but I want you to choose a different name so you switch up the workout. So today…it’s your mother’s maiden name. Just first and last…no middle name. 🙂

Running Drills: Sticking with the same running drills all week. Butt Kicks and Grapevines this week. Read more about these drills and how to do them in yesterday’s post, which you can find here.

Speed work: Sticking with Fartleks this week so throw some speed play into one of your running days this week. Have fun with it and make sure you take rest breaks in between your faster intervals. Directions for Fartleks can also be found in yesterday’s post.

Yes, it seems like a lot….but you shouldn’t be doing speed work everyday!! Please make sure you are being smart and listening to your body. I want you to push your limits… but in a healthy, safe way. Know when it’s time to call it quits and rest!

Make a great Tuesday Core Crew! 🙂