Days 8 – 11: Be Strong Crew!

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As much as I hate to leave you for 4 days…I am so excited for Ragnar Trail Alafia Springs! I might check in here and there but for the most part, you’ll be on your own through Saturday so please BE STRONG and push through this weekend.

Make us Ragnarians proud! 🙂 We’ll take TONS of photos for you…but I want to see TONS of action while we’re out on the trails!

Since I won’t have much internet access, I’m putting Days 8-11 in this post so you can refer back to it through Sunday. Here’s the lowdown…

  • Thursday: 10 Minutes Abs + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Friday: Modern Moms Hips and Butt + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Saturday: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Sunday: Plank (Your Choice – :60) + Rest OR 10 Minute Active Stretching

Remember that these days can switch up so if you need to go long on Friday or Sunday, move things around to make it work for you and your schedule.


Thursday: 10 Minutes Abs + :60 Plank of your choice

Our core is what holds up together when we’re running and a strong core will keep you upright and moving forward during long training runs and races. We are the #CoreCrew and talk a lot about core work…so it should be no surprise that Thursday is a great 10 minute ab workout!

If you’re feeling really good…double it up and make it a 20 minute workout! 🙂


Friday: Modern Mom Hips and Butt! 

This was such a great workout last month that I couldn’t let it go. So we’re doing it agin in December! Different moves from our Monday/Wednesday workout so even if you’re still feeling sore….you can still do this and it might even help stretch out those sore muscles a bit.

5 minutes per leg + one :60 Plank of your choice!


Saturday: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + one :60 Plank

How long are you going this weekend? Any races planned? Let us know so we can cheer you on! Don’t forget to take 10 minutes after your run to knock out one :60 plank and STRETCH!

Most runners don’t stretch until after they are injured….taking a few minutes to do it now can ease aches and pains, help you feel less tight AND keep you from being sidelined and off the road.


Sunday: One :60 Plank + Rest OR 10 Minutes Active Stretching 

If you decide to do the :60 plank then take the day off…that’s totally fine. We all need rest days and in December when our lives are extra hectic there’s no shame in needing a day with no extra work. But if you have some time and love to feel limber, refreshed, and ready to go on Monday, check out this 10 minutes active stretching routine. I can’t wait to try it when I’m home from Ragnar on Sunday!

Another great activity for Sunday? Active Recovery! Notice a Sunday trend here? 😉

Active Recovery is a great way to shake out those legs after our long runs. Keep it short and slow. 30 minutes…at your easy “long run” pace. Your legs will thank you!

I won’t be chiming in as much this weekend but that doesn’t matter because I know you want to inspire each other. If you feel like skipping days this weekend…think about the rest of your Crew…maybe they’ll see you getting it done and decide not to give up!

Have a great weekend…be active and be strong! 🙂

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Day 11: Disaster Waiting to Happen

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Run harder…you’ll be fine…

NO WAIT! Running harder without giving some attention to the other less fun stuff could be a real disaster!

If you’re still not convinced that hip strength is important, or think you’re good to go and don’t need to worry about it, I hope you’ll keep an open mind and continue reading…

An Active.com article called Runners and Weak Hips, spoke with Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:39 marathoner and coach in the Washington D.C. area, who attributes hip weakness to the constant sitting we do in our daily lives. Fitzgerald said, “When you consider how important proper hip strength is for runners and the fact that most runners don’t do the specific strength exercises that bolster the hip muscles, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

You read that right, he said, “Disaster waiting to happen.”

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Since the hips stabilize each leg during the stance phase of the running gait, strength in that area is particularly vital. “Hip weakness throws off all that stability, resulting in excess movement not only at the hip, but also at the knee,” says Fitzgerald. “The two most common injuries that result from weak hips include illiotibial band syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome, but in fact, many other injuries could occur from weak hips, including Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.”

All that from weak hips!

A study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine discovered an association between overuse injuries in the lower extremities and poor strength in the muscles around the hip region, including the hip abductor, adductor and flexor.

Chris Johnson, a New York City-based physical therapist and amateur elite triathlete explains, “If a runner is really weak in that area, it can set the stage for overcompensation injuries.” When certain muscles aren’t strong enough to do the work they are supposed to do during running, other muscles take on that work; this can result in overuse issues. When you strengthen your entire kinetic chain, individual muscles aren’t required to do more than they are built to do.

Fitzgerald has his athletes try a one-legged squat to determine hip strength. “You should be able to squat down so your femur is about parallel with the ground and your knee remains pointed straight ahead,” he says. “If you’re wobbling all over the place and your knee collapses inward, you have hip weakness.”

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Can you do a Pistol Squat? I’m pretty sure that no one is this group can do a full pistol squat. That means we ALL need to work on our hip strength. Yep, that means you!

I hope this has made an impact and you’re ready to to jump in and do some hip strengthening exercises with us. Even if you’re already strong in that area, there’s always room for improvement. What better time to do it when the exercises are quick and when everyone else is getting it done too!

We change it up a bit on Friday’s just to keep things from getting boring, but if you have an extra 8 minutes and 36 seconds, then go ahead and run through our Modern Mom hip video too. 🙂 Here’s the link to our page with that video.

Day 11 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clams (feet up)
  • Forearm Plank (:60)
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: Single Leg Bridge & Donkey Kicks

Single-Leg Bridge: Lie on your back with both legs bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your left leg off the ground and extend it while you raise your lower back and butt. Hold the position for two seconds and lower back downwards in a controlled manner. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.

Donkey Kicks: Get on all fours again, but this time you will only be lifting and extending your legs, keeping your hands on the ground. Instead of extending the leg backwards like you did during Bird Dogs, keep the knee slightly bent and kick upwards, with the bottom of your shoe facing the sky. Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side.


So…long runs coming up! What’s on your schedule this weekend? Anyone racing? Tell us about it so we can cheer you on!

Racery: Our #CoreCrew virtual race through Paris is already half way over! Are you getting your miles in a logged? We already have one Crew member who’s crossed the finish line. Way to go Lisa Lasseter! Who’s next? Here’s the top five runners so far!

Don’t forget to log your miles. You should get an email each day reminding you to log but if you can’t find it, or need to go back and log some miles you missed, here’s the link.

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Lisa Lasster is done and Jennifer Stoner is right behind her. She’s being chased by Amiee Cords, Catherine Wogoman, and Annette Williams! Tight race…but don’t count out those runners out of camera, they might sneak up and steal the show. Keep watching!


Last but certainly never least…STRETCH! Take some time to stretch out those legs after all the work you’ve put in this week and the work you’ve got coming this weekend. Your body will thank you!

7 Key Stretches for Runners

If you’re still on the fence about this month hip strength focus…think about how much it sucks to be sidelined from an injury. With the fun races we all have coming…ain’t nobody got time fo dat! Have a great Friday Crew! 🙂

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Day 11: Arm Day Got Me Like…

Arm day got me likeHow do you feel about arm day?

Do you look forward to it? Or does arm day got you like UGH…

Do you dread it? Think it’s a waste of time? If you tend to skip arm day…why? What’s your reason?

Working out our upper body is about more than just looking good. Having toned arms and shoulders is a bonus, but did you know there are real health benefits to having upper body strength?

Check out some of the top reasons for building and maintaining a strong upper body:

Injury and Aging: Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels shared that, “If your upper body strength deteriorates as you age, you are more prone to injuries, disease and a diminished quality of life.” We naturally tend to lose muscle as we age. This is called sarcopenia and begins as early as your 20s. You can lose up to 40 percent of your muscle mass by the time you reach your 60s.

By continuing to work on upper body strength we can combat some of this muscle loss, avoid injuries, and ensure we are able to perform everyday activities such as reaching, pulling, pushing and lifting. Having a strong upper body also improves your flexibility, mobility and range of motion….all things super important to runners who want to run for life.

Posture and Form: With the amount of time we spend hunched over phones, computers, desks and behind the wheel of our cars, most of us suffer from some imbalances relating to our posture. Consistent strength training can help us overcome these imbalances.

As distance runners, we can especially benefit from a strong upper body because our shoulders tend to slump and hunch as we get fatigued. Drooped posture will ultimately slow us down and could result in pain and injury.

Trim down and boost your metabolism: Having trouble trimming down? In addition to high intensity exercise, strength training is an excellent way to get rid of that stubborn, excess body fat, because working your muscles is the key to firing up your metabolism.

Our muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle. This means that more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate and the more calories you burn throughout the day…even when you’re not working out. Strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn. Burn calories AFTER working out? Sign me up! 🙂

What more motivation do you need? Let’s get to work!

Day 10 exercises: 2 sets of 10

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

  • Front and Side Arm Raises
  • Incline Push Ups
  • Rolling Forearm Side Plank
  • Tricep Dip with Leg Lifted
  • Plank Challenge Day 10 – Plank Jacks (:45 3X)

Day 11 Plank Challenge – Plank Jacks: You know how to do these! They are fun, a great full body workout, and will get that heart pumping. Give it your all!

Bonus: Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 11: Numbers are going up! Break it into sets and add it to your daily rounds to make it easier to get it done. 

  • 40 Sit Ups (2 sets of 20)
  • 50 Crunches (2 sets of 25)
  • 65 Squats (2 sets of 30 + 5 at the end)

Extra Credit: #OneMoreRound! Throw in another round of our Day 11 exercises and feel the burn in those arms! Come on….it’ll only take a few minutes!


Speed Work: Did you do your speed work this week? Don’t care about getting faster? That’s cool…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your pace….no matter what your pace is.

But did you know that speed work also helps you go longer too? Yep. Speed work improves your running economy. Shorter, faster repeats train your body to burn less fuel while going further. It’s like getting better gas mileage for your legs.

Jeff Gaudette, a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country at Brown University, says that inattention to speed development, “impairs your ability to generate explosive muscle power, which results in the decline of running efficiency and economy and, eventually, form starts to break down. This loss of speed is even more pronounced with age, as studies show speed is the first of your abilities to deteriorate as you get older.”

Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it hurts. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Running is hard. Running faster is even harder.

Bart Yasso, marathon winner and five time Ironman said, “The only way to advance in our sport is to go to the uncomfortable zone. Embrace the pain, and you will be rewarded at the finish line.”

“Advancing” means different things to all of us. Whatever it means to you…embrace that goal. Push through the pain…because the pain won’t last…but quitting will.

Invincible runner

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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Days 11 & 12: Weekend Loading…

Weekend LoadingOur weekend is loading and it’s gonna be a blast!

Down here in Jax we are eating, racing, eating, running some more…and partying!! I wish you could all be here to hang out with us but we will make sure to take TONS of pics!

Even though we do plan on having fun…racing and running is our love and we will be doing plenty of it!

Run for the Pies is Saturday night…and we will also be hitting the trails on Sunday morning. What are you weekend plans? Racing? Long run? Whatever your plans are…make them active and make them awesome!

Remember to take time to pamper yourself with some Yoga on Sunday! All the links you need for stretching and yoga are below.

Day 11 exercises: Long Run + Low Side Plank (:45 each side) + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Thigh Challenge (if you committed)

  • 18 Fire Hydrants
  • 45 Scissor Kicks
  • 35 Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Day 12 exercises: Yoga for Runners – Unknot Yourself  + High Side Knee Tuck (:45 each side) + Thigh Challenge

  • 20 Fire Hydrants
  • 50 Scissor Kicks
  • 35 Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Bonus: #WeekendWarrior Weekend Warrior

This will be a tough addition but you don’t have to do it all at once. Grab a pen and paper and roll through it little by little. Knock it out by Sunday night and you can call yourself a #WeekendWarrior!


A few things to keep in mind this weekend…

  1. Don’t skip your workout!
  2. Don’t pig out! Continue to watch what you eat…but do give yourself a chance to relax and enjoy a few treats.
  3. Limit alcohol – Yes we will be having a few drinks…indulge…but don’t over-indulge.
  4. Drink lots of water!

Don’t let the weekend ruin your progress. Fight hard for Self Control!

Fight for Self Control

 

Day 11: Challenge Winner!!!

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 5.45.01 AMHey Core Crew…sorry for the delay…but we have a challenger winner for April!

This was a super tough month to decide because there were LOTS of stand outs…and even 3 Challengers who completed ALL 30 Days!

First off..HUGE props to Christine Shelly Tesner and Traci Grimes Yates…you ladies ROCKED it for April!! I wish I could give everyone a medal and you would BOTH get one. You finished all 30 days and that is an amazing feet! It takes willpower, dedication, and serious resolve to get it done each and every day and I am so stinking proud of both of you!

Other stand outs…

  • Becky Jacobsen – Finished 28 days!! 🙂
  • Deena Hill – Finished 28 days!! 🙂
  • Martin Gonzalez – Finished 28 days!! 🙂

Way to go Core Crew! I hope you are all feeling fitter, stronger, and more confident! More than “winning” that is what it’s all about. You are working so hard to reach your goals and getting slower and closer every day! Keep pushing!!

Drum roll please…..our April Challenge winner is a woman who started working out with the 30 Day Challenge in April 2015. She was active…but was not a runner, she was fit…but couldn’t do a push up, she was fabulous….but now she is STRONG and a Marathoner!!

Lisa Lasseter….you are our April 2016 30 Day Top Challenger!! You finished all 30 Days of our April Challenge and went the extra mile but completing the #BrowniePoints on 4/13! Lisa you have come so far and have pushed the boundaries of what is asked of you every single day. You run a little farther….you push a little harder…you make us all want to take a nap! 😉

So proud of how far you have come in one year. From not being able to run a mile…to KILLING all your half marathons…and ROCKING 2 full Marathons. Girl you are a amazing and I am so proud to be your friend and Fearless Leader!

Since Lisa lives in Jax, a few of us had the pleasure of meeting her for her birthday lunch yesterday and surprising her with the April “Top Challenger” medal. Way to go Lisa!!! And Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

For those of you who are confused…every once in a while I throw in a little extra…on top of the bonus. You have to read the daily posts to find them…but they do count! Every little bit counts! Not just towards the challenge…but towards your fitness and strength!

Keep pushing Core Crew! You make me smile…and make me proud…every single day! 🙂


Day 11 exercises:

Bonus: #AbPyramid Ab pryamid

No Wednesday is complete without a little core work! Complete this Ab Pyramid (one of my favs) for a great Wednesday workout!

Make it a great Hump Day Core Crew! 🙂

 

Day 11: Forgive Yourself…then Recommit

forgive and recommit

Are you down on yourself about some bad choices or not following through with your exercises every day? Beating yourself up will not help! You can’t change yesterday but you can make today different.

Forgive yourself, shake off those bad feelings and recommit to a healthy, active week starting today. Do it now! Say goodbye to yesterday and commit to making healthy eating choices and being active today! Baby steps Core Crew… Commit to one day at a time.

There was an overwhelming request for inner thigh work this month and today is the day. Make each exercise count by doing them slowly and focusing on each move as it works those legs, thighs and glutes!

Day 11 exercises: “How To” Videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Bridge with Inner Thigh Squeeze – 3 sets of 10
  • Lying Leg Raise – 3 sets of 10
  • Side Step with Squat – 3 sets of 10
  • Plank – :30 – 1 min (2X)
  • 50 Crunches

Bonus: Side Plank with Clam – Check this out…core stability + thigh and glute work. Since we are doing 3 sets of other thing exercises, today’s bonus is 3 sets of side planks with clam (each side).

Side plank with clam


Running Drills: Straight Leg Shuffle

Who has tried all the running drills and works them into their warm up routine? I know…I know…it takes extra time…but these drills will help your form and your running efficiency. Taking an extra few minutes to do them before your run will mean improved performance.

Why: The straight leg shuffle helps stimulate neuromuscular timing for quick- cadence running, while also reinforcing a flat or midfoot footstrike. Combined, those stride components can greatly shorten ground contact time and eliminate the counterproductive braking associated with a heel-striking gait.

How: With an upright torso, straight legs, dorsiflexed ankles and toes pointed upward, start bounding forward with low-rising forward leg lunges and a quick cadence. Avoid leaning backward by acting as if you’re aggressively pulling the foot backwards as soon as it touches the ground. Do two to four 50-meter reps.

Sounds kinda confusing…so here’s a quick video to show you how to do it.


Speed Work: If you want to run faster, the saying goes, you’ve got to run fast.

Not everyone “cares” about getting faster…but let’s face it…we are all proud when we shave a few minutes off our time in a race of any distance….or even a training run.

Don’t get nervous…speed is relative and whatever “fast” is to you…that is perfect. Don’t overthink it and skip it because it sounds hard. It isn’t easy…but if you want to get faster…you’ve got to run fast.

One thing that was stressed in my RRCA certification class was repitition…more specifically…training cycles that run in repetitive cycles…also called Mesocycles. These cycles will help train your body to withstand similar training and that means doing it over and over…then over again.

Think of it this way – “IIP” – Introduce, Improve, Perfect. We are going to overload our system with the same workout for 3 weeks in a row. This method teaches our body and mind to adapt to a specific stress until it becomes not stressful.

  1. Week 1 – Introduce
  2. Week 2 – Improve
  3. Week 3 – Perfect

So we are sticking with that plan and doing our 1/4 mile repeats again this week. On a track that is 400 meters. On a Garmin or GPS watch…that is .25 miles. If you didn’t make it happen last week…jump in this week and introduce yourself to this workout. Let’s go over the details again.

Warm-Up – 5:00 jog followed by your choice of Dynamic Movements (high knees, butt kicks, leg swings, sideways shuffles, skipping, etc)

Work-Out

  • 6 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.
  • 2:00 walking rest in between each one.

1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track.  Here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time. Round up or down to the nearest mile if you’re in between.

  • If you run a 14:00/mile, you should run quarter mile repeats in 3:00
  • 13:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:45
  • 12:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:30
  • 11:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:15
  • 10:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:00
  • 9:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 1:45
  • 8:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 1:30
  • 7:00/mile – run the 1/4 mile repeats in 1:15

Cool-Down – 5:00-10:00 easy jog…you’ve earned it!

Can you run for 2:45 without walking? YES YOU CAN! No matter how fast you are…every runner can do these drills. Remember that the breaks are meant to be REAL BREAKS. Take time in between each set to recover by taking deep breaths, drink some water, and getting ready for the next set.

Final thought…Do not skip your stretches. Broken record here…I know. Your body needs time to recover and these stretches will keep your muscles soft and help you avoid pulling, tearing, or otherwise injuring muscles that we need to keep us on the road. Here are our 7 Key Stretches for Runners + the Pigeon Pose. Do them! 🙂

Ready to forgive yourself and recommit this week? There is no better time than now. Shake off those feelings of self doubt and self pity. It’s Monday Core Crew…time to remind yourself that this week you will be STRONG! 🙂

Monday startover