Day 14: Be Sweet To Yourself

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Happy Valentine’s Day Crew! Be sweet to yourself…eat the treats but don’t overdo the candy, then take time to get a little sweaty and burn it off!

Grab your sweetheart and ask them to get a little sweaty with you. What better way to spend the day with the ones you care about than treating them to a little Core Crew love!

We all know those sweets go straight to our hips and thighs so show your legs and hips some love and feel that good burn! 🙂

Day 14 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Modern Mom/Dad Hip Strength (see video below)
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Squats
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60

Challenges:

  • Superman – 1:20 (80 seconds)
  • Push Ups – 40
  • #MadManMartin Plank Challenge – 1:30 (90 seconds)

Bonus: Cardio Strength – Get that heart pumping with some cardio to burn off those extra calories today! 1 – 3 rounds…whatever you have time for.

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Speed Work: Running today? Throw in your speed work and get it out of the way for the week!

Workout: 800M, 400M X 3 or 4

  1. Warm up – 1 – 1.5 miles slow and easy. Get your hear pumping and your breathing going
  2. 800M (1/2 mile) – Remember those times I gave you for 400’s? Double that and slow it down just a tad. (See times below)
  3. Rest 90 seconds – walk, jog, or stand still and breahte
  4. 400M (1/4 mile) – Do not run these too fast. Remember the key is to be steady here. So you shouldn’t be running these at top speed. Take your 800M (1/2 mile) time and cut it in half.
  5. Rest 90 seconds – walk, jog, or stand still and breathe
  6. Do it all again!
  7. Repeat this cycle 3 -4 times. 3 times = 2.25 miles / 4 times = 3 miles
  8. Cool down – 1 – 1.5 miles slowly to bring your heart rate down keep your legs moving

1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track while 800 meters is 1/2 mile or 2 laps around a standard-sized track.  Here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time.

For this workout, you should take the times below and slow them down just a tad. I run 400M in about 1:45 – 1:50, so for this workout, I’ll run 800M in 4:05-4:08 and the 400M in 1:55 – 2:00. You can do this. Don’t overthink it. Just go out and run a little faster than you’re used to! 🙂

During a conversation pace run, if you average a:

  • 14:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 3:00.
  • 13:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:45.
  • 12:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:30.
  • 11:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:15.
  • 10:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 2:00.
  • 9:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:45.
  • 8:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:30.
  • 7:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile in 1:15.

If you’re flying solo this year….don’t sweat it…grab your favorite sweety and get them moving with you. Friends, co-workers, children, family…everyone needs a little love on V-Day.

Running will always be our first love anyway so let’s get sweaty and make it a day to remember Crew!

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Day 14: Switch it Up

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Hey Crew! This morning I woke up with a headache…how does that happen? I don’t think I’ve ever woken up with a headache before. Maybe my body still needs some recovery? Weird… anyway…making this short and sweet today!

We all love runners with strong glutes! They certainly look good…and they help us run stronger and keep injuries at bay. Since we’ve been doing the Donkey Kick video for a while now, I thought you’d like to switch it up a bit. Jan sent me another great core and glute workout so let’s try this one instead of the Donkey Kick Workout today. Oh…but there’s still donkey kicks in this workout. 😉

Day 14 exercises:

  • Core and Glutes for a Stronger Lower Body – 10 minute workout
  • Bonus: Sexy Arm Workout – We’ve been neglecting our arms a bit so throw in today bonus arm workout.
  • Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas: Days 1-3

Bonus: Sexy Arm Workout – 1 round 

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Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-3 

  1. 1 minute skaters
  2. 20 Squats
  3. 15 Push Ups

Speed Work: 6x – 8X 1/4 mile repeats

Want to know why this workout is so effective, how it helps us not only get faster but also run more efficiently, and some tips on how to incorporate speed work into your routine? Click here and scroll down for a great read! 

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

Work-Out – 6-8 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.

*2:00 standing or 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.

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

Cool-Down  5:00-10:00 easy jog (you’ve earned it!)


12 Days of Thanks – Day 3: Don’t forget to take a moment to reflect back on your year and think of something that made you smile or someone your thankful for. So instead of counting the days till Christmas…we’re making our days count. Have an active, blessed day Crew!

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Day 14: Power From the Hips

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As we continue to chat about hip stability and strength, we have to take a minute to reflect on how much we reply on our hips for speed and power.

One very common misconception is about exactly where the “power” in your stride comes from. Most people picture power being generated in the running stride when the foot pushes off the ground. It’s true that we get power from our legs, but in the mental image that most people carry with them, that major “push” comes from the quads, much like a leg press.

we can’t deny that we need strong legs but this this mental image of running power leaves out a major contributor: the hips. If you looked at your watch and saw 3:51:40 with one mile to go in a marathon, you’d start driving your legs and pushing off harder each stride to try to make sure you finish under the four-hour mark.

Generating power at the quads is fine, but focusing on that to the exclusion of hip power proves to be a big problem.

When you drive hard with your quads on the leg that is pushing off, you’re inevitably going to be “reaching” forward with your other leg, which is still swinging through the air. When that leg hits the ground, your knee will be excessively extended and your foot will be landing further in front of your body. This is over-striding, and you can’t start pushing off again until that foot is behind your center of gravity (around your belly button), so that time spent waiting is essentially wasted.

If you try to shorten your stride, you won’t be generating as much power! Fortunately, there is a way to generate long, powerful strides without reaching forward with your lower leg and overstriding, and that is by focusing on hip drive.

A strong drive backwards using the hip muscles to extend the leg and “drive” into the ground will provide a good increase in stride length without it turning into over-striding. Take a look at the glute muscles in a sprinter, they have some serious muscles in their rear for propelling them forward at ten meters per second or faster.

Your ability to move fast hinges upon your capacity to direct force into the ground, and neglecting the component of that force that comes from the hip extensor muscles is short-changing your stride.

Improving your hip strength and drive should give you noticeably more “pop” in your stride when you are running fast. In addition to our hip strength exercises, incorporating some bounding and skipping a few times a week will go a long ways towards improving your ability to generate power from the hips!

Day 14 exercises: Hips – Modern Mom video – watch video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: Drills and Strides– After your hip strength work and before you set off for you run, start with bounding and lateral skipping drills then do 6 x 100M strides. Then set off for your run.

Bounding screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-44-40-am

Why: Bounding increases foot, calf and hamstring muscle power and develops single-leg stance stability necessary to maintain fluid running form while fatigued.

How: On a flat or very slightly downhill slope, alternate thrusting into the air off one leg in an exaggerated skipping motion. The focus should be on a powerful leap into the air and a quick (but not super fast) cadence. Your arm motion should be synced to the opposite leg’s action, holding steady for the brief moment while you’re off the ground. Do three to four reps of 10 leaps on each leg.

Lateral Bounding screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-47-08-am

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.


Speed Work: 3-4 x mile

Speed Work is essential to getting faster, but it also helps us improve our breathing and our ability to run longer distances. This weeks speed work is all about mile repeats. Don’t try to run your fastest during the first mile. Choose a pace and stick with it, then try to increase your speed just a tad as you move through your repeats. Done correctly, your last mile should be your fastest.

For our longer distance runners, don’t skimp on mile 4. You know who you are…and so do I! 😉

Workout: 

  1. 1 Mile warm up
  2. 3 – 4 x Mile – increasing or maintaining speed throughout each repeat
  3. 1 Mile cool down
  4. Total of 5-6 miles with warm up and cool down being slowest!

When you’re done for the day and before you move on to other things, take time to stretch! Run through our 7 Key Stretches for Runners then throw in the hip specific stretches below to ease and pain and open up your hip flexors.

Happy running Crew! 🙂

Day 14: Abs On FIIIRRRE!

It’s FRIDAYYYYY!!!!

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Time to set those abs on FIIIRRRRE and get ready for a fabulous weekend full of long runs, races, and fun family time!

Ab day always makes me feel so good. I love working out that area since it’s one that I know ALWAYS need some extra attention…

Let’s get it done and move on to the fun stuff! Who’s racing this weekend? Who’s got a long run coming up to prepare for a race? Let us know so we can cheer you on!

Day 14 exercises: Abs – 3 sets of 10

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

  • Renegade Rows
  • Weighted Sit Ups
  • Dead Bugs
  • Heel Touches
  • Bedtime Plank

Bonus: 10 Minute Abs – Got a few extra minutes? Throw in this 10 minute abs routine to really set those abs on FIIIIIIRRRREEEE!!! 😉

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There’s a couple moves on here that might not be familiar so check below so make sure you have it all right.

Toe Touches: Let’s make this a lying toe touch. Reach for the sky!


Suitcase Crunches: We’ve done these before…this is just another name for them. Pull it together like like flying up a suitcase.


Scissors: The scissor exercise works all parts of your abdominal muscles to give you a flat and tight stomach.


Spiderman Crunches: Missing our daytime planks? Bringing them back today! You might know this one as a plank with knee to utter arm. Here’s how to do it.

Extra Credit: Round 4 – Who reads all the way to the bottom? Extra credit for being thorough and paying attention to details today! 🙂  Throw in one more round of our Day 14 exercises to get that fire rolling strong!

Who knows the song?? Come on…no Google cheating…who sings this one Crew? Hum it in your head while your setting those abs on fire today!! 🙂

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Day 14: So That’s Where They Went…

thats-where-my-boobs-wentSorry fellas…this one is for the ladies…but don’t try to skip out on arm day!

It’s a common problem for a lot of us. We work out, lose weight…and lose other stuff too!

Good news? They don’t go away…they just move around to make us stronger! 🙂

Let’s make sure we put those lost boobs to good use… it’s Arm Day! YAY!!

Day 14 exercises: 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Push Ups
  • Hammer Curls
  • Monkey Arms
  • Plank – Your Choice (:45 2X)

I know the monkey arms feel weird but try them. Use smaller weights if needed or grab some water bottles if you don’t have weights small enough.

Don’t forget to try the Hammer Curls Swings if you want to step it up a notch. Click here to see how these Hammer Curls swings are done and how they can help you run faster!

Bonus: Shoulder Shrugs – Training your upper body improves your posture and getting rid of rounded shoulders will help you get more air in and out of your lungs. You’ll also carry your arms more easily, wasting less energy in your runs. Try this exercise toscreen-shot-2016-09-14-at-5-27-11-am stand taller and build strength in your shoulders and arms.

Use your heaviest weights and stand tall with weights in each hand,. Rise up on your toes while lifting your shoulders up to your ears. Come back down. Make sure you are using heavy enough weights to feel this in the top of your shoulders and in your calves. Repeat 15 times for 3 sets.

Extra Credit Photo: Let’s have a little fun today and see who can do some amazing back bends! I know a few Core Crew members who can rock these….Stretch out your arms and shoulder and show us your best back bend!

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This is not a hard day y’all…should be pretty quick so take today to add in your speed work!

Speed Work: I haven’t had a chance to look through a lot of yesterday’s posts yet….but I haven’t seen much speed being thrown in this week. Show me some speed Crew! Click here and scroll t the bottom for this week’s speed work and pace info!

End your day with our 7 Key stretches for Runners, then pat yourself on the back for a hard days work!

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Days 13 & 14: I Run Because I Can

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.10.56 PMRain or shine you are piling up the miles, getting ready for the next. But your performance doesn’t seem to be improving, maybe you’re even going backwards, or the fear of injury is creeping in.

Consider the difference between training for running and conditioning for running. Training is the daily run itself; conditioning is about preparing for those runs.

When you are “conditioned” for running, you are prepared for the demand all those miles put on your body. The reality is most runners spend their time training, believing that running alone is the key to running better. But staying in the best running shape means understanding the demands running places on your body and meeting them with a conditioning program.

There are lots of running myths out there, but these two line up well with our long run / rest day weekend routine.

Myth: Stretch alone is enough

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I know I harp a lot on stretching, but this is a great point to consider as well. I’ve started foam rolling and using a small hand help massager on my legs several times a week. This has made a big difference in the knee pain I’ve experienced lately. Loosening up the muscles that connect all those lower body parts allows my knees to move more freely, to handle the impact more efficiently, and helps prevent inflammation.

Running is a high impact exercise which causes two and a half times your bodyweight to crash into the ground. The impact is absorbed by our muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, fascia, etc. These soft tissues can only take the shock when there is an adequate range of motion available at the joint being impacted. In other words, if your joints can’t move freely, the impact can cause injury.

Action Plan: Stretch, roll, & move. Stretch your quads, calves, hamstrings, IT Band, and back. Our 7 Key Stretches for Runners are the perfect combination to hit all these important muscles. Roll your legs, butt, and back. Start with your calves and work your way up. Hit your IT Band (outside of your knee), move up to your quads and hamstrings, then keep moving up over your butt and to your back. It hurts…but once you get used to it…it hurts so good.

Myth: Recovery is as simple as taking a day off.

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The term “recovery” is often confused withrest, taking complete time off of from movement or activity. While it is important to have “off” days, active recovery plays a key role in maintaining a healthy and effective running game. Scheduled rest days are great, but true healing, nourishment, and recovery actually come from movement, not rest alone. Your muscles work super hard to keep you pounding the pavement and if these intense muscular contractions are not properly balanced with a solid, restorative routine, possible injury becomes probably injury, and you’re in for sore and stiff muscles days after your long run.

Action Plan: In addition to stretching and rolling…you gotta move. Active recovery is less intense and has less volume so plan a short, easy recovery run the day after your long run. When I say short, I mean short. 30-40 minutes tops. And EASY…no sprinting, no technical trails, no watching your mile times. Just go and shake out and loosen up your muscles. If you don’t want to run, cross train…but keep it short and easy as well. Go for an easy bike ride, go swimming, take a nice brisk walk, go to a yoga class or check out our Yoga for Runners. This active recovery will go a long way in helping you walk pain free in the coming days and will keep your head in the right place for your next long run.

What will your active rest day look like? Remember that you can switch up these days to make it work for your lifestyle and schedule but if you go long on Sunday…make Monday an active recovery day. Don’t just go to work and sit down all day. Make time in the morning to get moving before you start the rest of your day.

Day 13 exercises: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

Plank Challenge Day 13 – High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

Day 14 exercises: Active Recovery + 7 Key Stretches for Runners or Yoga for Runners + Low Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow (Calendar has incorrect plank. Watch how to do the correct plank below)

Plank Challenge Day 14 – Low Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow

Bonus: Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 13

  • 5 Sit Ups
  • 5 Crunches
  • 5 Squats

Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 14

  • 10 Sit Ups
  • 10 Crunches
  • 10 Squats

So this weekend…long run, stretchesyoga, planks, ab & squat challenge and active recovery. Questions? Reach out to your fellow Crew members in Strong to the Core or send me a private message.

If you’re thinking about skipping your long run or giving up before you’re done….remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift we take for granted….and run harder for them. They would do it for you.

I run because I can

Day 14: Can You Handle the Speed Work?

cant handle the speedworkIt’s leg day!!! And what’s leg day without speed work?

Have you been getting it done? Or pretending it’s not important? Time to suck it up…get out there and prove to yourself that you CAN handle the speed work!

Day 14 exercises: 

  • Balance and Reach – 20X each leg
  • Squats – (50X)
  • Mountain Climbers – 50X
  • Plank Up and Downs – :45

Bonus: #SpeedWork

That’s right y’all…no getting around it today. Bonus = Speed. Suck it up and throw in some speed! There’s lots of options for speed work and I will let you pick your distance and pace. You can run intervals like 200M, 400M, 800M or even mile repeats….or you can do fartleks or a tempo run. Whatever you decide, remember to take breaks in between sets and always do a warm up and cool down!

Tempo Run ImageI’m not sure if we’ve covered Tempo Runs before so here’s some guidelines…

Tempo Run: A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold (LT), Aerobic-threshold (AT), or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness.

Why Tempo Runs Work: By increasing your LT (lactic- threshold), or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions—by-products of metabolism—are released into the muscles. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your “threshold,” meaning your muscles become better at using these by-products. The result is less-acidic muscles (that is, muscles that haven’t reached their new “threshold”), so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster.

Find the Right Tempo: To ensure you’re doing tempo workouts at the right pace, use one of these four methods to gauge your intensity.

  • Recent Race: Add 30 to 40 seconds to your current 5K pace or 15 to 20 seconds to your 10K pace.
  • Heart Rate: 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • Perceived Exertion: An 8 on a 1-to-10 scale (a comfortable effort would be a 5; racing would be close to a 10).
  • Talk Test: A question like “Pace okay?” should be possible, but conversation won’t be.

The one real requirement of tempo running is that you stick to a steady, specific, planned pace. Beyond that you have many options. If you’re still unsure…think of your tempo run this way, “Tempo run: Running to the beat of your favorite song .”

Still confused or just want to know more? Check out these articles from Runner’s World and Competitor.com:

  1. Workout of the Week: Know Your Tempo
  2. Your Perfect Tempo
  3. What Exactly is a Tempo Run?

Thigh Challenge: Day 14

  • 25 Fire Hydrants
  • 60 Scissor Kicks
  • 40 Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 5.40.24 AMFood Challenge: I will be the first to admit that these past few days killed my “healthy eating commitment.” I threw caution out the window and just ate what I wanted…and I am feeling it. Time to get back on the wagon and start making good choices again….starting now.

Have you kept up with your commitment to eating healthy? If so…YAY! If not…let’s recommit together today.

Absorb it all then get to work and let’s have a terrific Tuesday Core Crew! 🙂

Terrific Tuesday

Day 14 & 15: Long Run + Rest + Fun!

Runner problemsNo matter what you are doing this weekend…find time to fit in your long run.

Whether you’re a recreational runner or a hard-core marathoner, the long run is the backbone of any successful training program.

Here’s a few tips to help you get through your long runs feeling good.

  1. Follow your long run with a recovery day of very easy running, cross-training, or rest.
  2. Start your long run well hydrated and consume sports drinks and gels en route. This is excellent practice for the marathon and will keep you from getting overly fatigued.
  3. Limit your long run to 1:45 or less (unless you’re training for a marathon–see number 5, below).
  4. Consume 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight daily to make sure carbo stores stay loaded.
  5. Alternate long runs with very long runs when training for a marathon.
  6. Run with someone of comparable ability. Otherwise your long run may turn into a tempo run or a Sunday stroll.
  7. Ease back into training if you’ve missed a long run due to illness or injury. Going long as soon as you feel better can overtax an already battered immune system. Instead, do half or three-quarters of your scheduled long-run distance, then resume your normal schedule the following week.

I love tip #1. Resting after a long run is very important…but “rest” doesn’t mean you can’t run or be active. The day after a long run you can still go out and log some miles…just keep it short and easy. Don’t push pace and don’t stay out too long. If you don’t feel like running, do some cross training but once again…make it an easy workout. No matter what you do…don’t sit around eating everything in sight and not moving. Stay active!

Day 14 exercises: Long Run + Planks (Regular & Side Plank) + 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Day 15 exercises: Plank (Regular & Side Plank) + Rest

Remember you can always switch up these days to make them work for you and your schedule. Nothing is ever set in stone. Make it work for you and your family.

The weekend should be fun…a time to recharge for the upcoming week. Find time get in your long run…and spend quality time with your loved ones. Plan ahead to make sure you are balancing life at home with your fitness goals. Life is all about balance…you deserve “you” time but you also need to so make sure you spend quality time with the ones you love. Planning is key.

Make it a great weekend Core Crew! 🙂

I Run Every Day

Day 14: Shut Up Legs

shut up legs we got this

Your legs might scream and fight you…want you to give up…to sit down and relax.

Tell them to shut up cause you got this!

Can’t get strong legs without doing the work so less talking, less complaining, less excusing and more working!

Day 14 exercises: “How to” videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Squat Jacks – 3 sets of 10
  • Curtsey Squats
  • Cossack Squats
  • Plank – :30 – 1 min (2X)
  • 50 Crunches
  • Stretches – 7 Key Stretches for Runners (especially the Quad stretch)

Watch the “how to” videos again for the Cossack Squat!

Bonus: #StrongLegs Workout strong legs workout– Today’s workout is a great but you can do more! Fit in this #StrongLegs bonus and get strong runner legs that will help you go the distance!

Running drills and Speed work: If you haven’t fit in your running drills and speed work for the week…what are you waiting for? Click here to find this week’s workout and let me know if you have any questions.

Speed work is hard work…but read your fellow Core Crew posts and see how great it feels when they figure out it’s not as bad as they thought….and how they did even better than they imagined. Get out of your comfort zone…it feels fabulous!

Virtual Race: Still plenty of time to sign up and plan a great route for the Make it Count virtual race for Runwell. You’re going to log the miles anyway…why not get an awesome medal and make your miles count!

Getting close to the weekend again…who’s racing? Who’s got long runs planned? Let us know so we can cheer you on!