Day 18: No Knee Wrecking!

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Knee pain isn’t just a problem for old people: It can hit at any age, says Matthew Abdel, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor at the Mayo Clinic.

And it’s happening more and more frequently. According to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine, the prevalence of knee pain has increased significantly over a 20-year period. Currently, one in five Americans have suffered knee pain, and it’s the culprit behind a third of all doctor’s visits for muscle and bone pain, says Stephen Nicholas, M.D., founder and current director of New York Orthopedics.

Knee pain can be a problem for anyone, but runners top the list. We want to believe that just being active will keep us strong and healthy, and since it’s time for our long runs, today is a great day to talk about the #1 knee wrecker for runners…

#1 Knee Wrecker: Skipping Our Warmup – We’re all strapped for time and want to make the most out of our run. But jumping right into a workout could really mess up our knees. That’s because warming up lubricates the knee joint, circulates synovial fluid into the knee, improves muscle elasticity, and boosts oxygen flow to the area, reducing your chance of injury to the knees.

Knee Saver: Stretch/Warm Up Before Workout – “The most important thing you can do for your knees is give yourself an appropriate warm up period,” says Dr. Nicholas. “Stretching your lower legs is particularly key for long term running health. When the muscles are unevenly lengthened, the knee caps pull to the side, which causes wear or pain on the joint.”

Set aside at 5-10 minutes before your workout to work on dynamic stretching and drills. Warming up lets your muscles gently strengthen, which is key for healthy knees.

Knees need a full range of motion—to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot. This will protect you if you find yourself in awkward positions and increased flexibility stresses the joint less.

What to do? Try some of these easy running drills before setting out on your long run this weekend:

There are other ways to wreck your knees and we talk about those later…but since it’s time for long runs and races…know that adding a few minutes of an easy dynamic stretching/warm up routine can keep you from feeling pain and save you a bunch of money and time needed for Dr. visits.

Day 18 exercises: Long Run/Race + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Plank (:60) + Wall Sit (:60)

Challenges:

  • Ab Challenge – 40 Crunches, 40 Bicycles Crunches, 40 Leg Lifts + :70 Plank (1:10)
  • Burpees – Rest

Don’t forget that our long runs are FUN! Make them fun by taking out the stress…go for an easy paced run for a distance that puts you out of your comfort zone but don’t stress to the point that it is no longer fun. Come home feeling revitalized and STRONG! Then knock out your ab challenge and stretch it out Crew!

Remember that you are doing this for you. Running has given you courage, strength, determination, and a way to love yourself first. Never outrun your joy of running!

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Day 18: Weak Bums

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Our “weak bums” contribute to injuries….injuries that no runner wants to deal with.

Strengthening the muscles of the bum, hip, thigh, and leg are essential for a runner to maintain power and health!

Our hip muscles control the mechanics of our knees, so if we have weak hip abductor muscles and poor hip rotator muscle strength, our knees are at a higher risk of injury from patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome. We’ve already seen a few studies this month about how weak hips cause issues…but there’s more!

A recent study published for runners and referred to on RunnersConnect.com looked at the contributions of three muscles — the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the tensor fascia lata (TFL) — to hip motion hip strength exercises.

These three muscles are of interest because they have distinct and significant roles.

  • The gluteus medius is the main abductor and external rotator of the hip.
  • The gluteus maximus extends the hip and assists with abduction and external rotation.
  • The TFL is an abductor of the hip, but because of its positioning, it can also contribute to internal rotation

According to John Fairclough, who published an article specifically about IT Band Syndrome in the Journal of Science and Medicine, “a tense TFL (tensor fascia late), because it connects directly to the knee’s lateral side via the iliotibial band, may increase knee strain that could develop into or exacerbate injury.

His final thoughts…

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So what does all this mean for us? Well…Runners Connect and this Journal of Science and Medicine study suggest 5 exercises that are specific to runners and will help us strength our hips, and prevent and treat injuries.

  • clamshells
  • sidesteps with band
  • single-leg glute bridges
  • bent knee donkey kicks
  • straight leg donkey kicks

Great news for us since we have done ALL of these exercises this month! So for today, let’s do them again. Bonus exercises today: side steps with band, single leg glute bridge, and both variations of donkey kicks. Don’t worry it won’t take too long. These exercises transition easily into the next one.

Day 18 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clams
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: 2-3 sets of 10

  • Side Step with band (If you don’t have a band it’s super cheap and would be a good investment!)
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Donkey Kicks (bent knee)
  • Donkey Kicks (straight leg)

See below for slide show with photos of these exercises as reminders.

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She Power Virtual Half Marathon & 5K: Remember that “She Power” virtual half marathon/5K we talked about a few weeks ago? Jan let me know that it’s on sale right now for $25.50 so it’s the perfect time to sign up!

The virtual race will be in January and you can run it anytime within the month. You can run it all at once, or in pieces, but I think we will try to pick a date that a lot of us can try to run it “virtually together.” I will start an event in Strong to the Core so we can chat more about the date that works best for everyone.

Let us know when you sign up! Here’s the link:  https://131events.com/she-power/


So what’s on your schedule this weekend? Who’s racing? I know Jamie Murray is running the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Saturday and he’s gonna KILL it! 🙂 Jamie, ca we track you?  Anyone else doing this race or other races? Full? Half? Any fun 5Ks?

What about long runs? Tell us what’s on your schedule so we can cheer you on!

Remember….distance makes the heart grow stronger! So figure out your plan and get ready to GO LONG Crew! 🙂

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Day 18: Out of My Way…It’s Leg Day!!

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-5-23-12-amEvery runner should be as excited as Richard Simmons for leg day!

Strong legs carry us farther, keep us on the road longer, and let’s face it…strong runner legs just look good. 🙂

Get excited, get out of your OWN way, and get to working those legs Crew!

Day 18 exercises: Legs / Stability – 3 sets of 15

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

Bonus: #PlanksForRunners planks-for-runners

Since we aren’t doing tons of planks this month, today we are throwing in this round of planks for runners. 2 sets of this plank circuit Crew! Work it out!


Speed Work: Mile “bench mark” run. We want to see how fast you can run 1 mile, and I also want to show you how going faster is possible for you!. Make sure you are well rested and have fresh legs then go out and do a 1-2 mile warm up, rest for a few minutes, then run with your heart and do a mile as fast as you can. Cool down with 1 more mile then call it a day. 3-4 miles total. I want to see some super fast for you miles Crew! Do your warm up and cool down miles as slow as you want. All I want to see if that 1 mile time. Have fun with it and surprise yourself with how fast you can go!


November Challenge: Can you believe it’s already the 18th of the month? Our months always go so fast! Time to start thinking about November and new exercises! Jan and Sharon shared their favorites with me last month and they have gone over really well with our Crew! Maybe you take a class and have a favorite move, maybe you saw it on a video somewhere, maybe it’s just a go to move you love! Video yourself doing your favorite exercise or if you’re shy find a video or good explantation of how to do it then send it to me. Being a part of the month’s exercise line up makes you feel even more part of our Crew and gives you an extra reason to push harder! Show me what you’ve got!


Final Thoughts: Richard Simmons is known for his positivity and non competitive nature, and that’s what we strive for in our Core Crew too. We want this group to be supportive of everyone, no matter what your current physical level is. It’s not about being stronger or faster than the person posting before or after you, it’s not about being perfect or doing every single exercise every day.

It’s about getting stronger, faster, and healthier than you are today. It’s about constant movement, activity, and a healthy lifestyle. Simmons may give us a good laugh, but he also shares messages of positivity and hope.

Which Simmons quote is your favorite? Which one will you apply to your life today to give you that boost of energy and confidence you need to go the extra mile and do a little more than you normally would? Share with us which quote spoke to you when you tell your Crew you got it done today!

Make it a terrific Tuesday Crew! 🙂

 

Day 18: Get Pumped Up!

pumped upWho is feeling pumped up for arm day??

Thursday’s arm day is my other favorite day this month and I hope you love it as much as I do.

Get PUMPED UP…and let’s kill it!

Day 18 exercises: 3 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 18 – Side Plank with Arm Rotation and Leg Lift (:45 3x each side)

Plank Challenge Day 18 – This is a tough plank…no way around it. But don’t give up without trying! If you try…and find it to difficult make some modifications. Maybe just do the arm rotation or just do the leg lift…but don’t give up without trying. Like I tell my son…you first MUST try…or you’ll never know! Here’s a good how to video showing you how to do it. Notice how she goes slow with each move. No need to rush it.

Bonus: Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 18

  • 5 Sit Ups
  • 5 Crunches
  • 5 Squats

Extra Credit: #TankTopArms – Add a little extra burn to your arms today and run through this Tank Top Arms workout.

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The other thing I’d like you to think about today is stretching. Those long runs are coming up so take a few minutes to stretch it out while you’re watching the Olympics or relaxing with family tonight. Our 7 Key Stretches for Runners are easy to work through and will get your legs limber, loose, and ready to go long!

We’re over halfway through the month and you’ve gotten this far…keep pushing 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.

Days 18 & 19: Go Long and Stretch Deep

Accomplishments starts with tryingOnce again the weekend is upon us and it’s time to slow down, go long, and stretch deep.

Going long means doing a little more than we’re used too and the only way to accomplish something new and scary…is to try. The extra mile doesn’t come easy but when we finish…it’s the best feeling in the world.

When you’re faced with the decision to get out there for your long run…or skip it and go back to bed, remember that every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. So shake off those nerves, lace up your running shoes, and go make some new memories!

Day 18 exercises:

Day 19 exercises:

Running and Yoga support and enhance each other..here’s a few reasons why you should take the time for the deep stretch:

  1. Injury prevention: Running is a high impact activity, and our quads and hamstrings can get very tight both immediately after a run and long term if you’re a frequent runner. Continually stressing tight muscles can lead to injury. Combining running with stretching and a regular yoga practice is an excellent strategy for easing the tension of tight muscles, improving muscle length and toning. Yoga will complement the strength and power developed through running, and will help maintain mobility and stability within the joints. This will all help to support running and other activities.
  2. Breathing: This sounds silly perhaps, but yoga teaches you how to breathe. Not just that, yoga teaches you how to breathe in an efficient way so that you can actually breathe through some level of discomfort. Yoga reminds us that we can focus on our breath when doing something active like running, and make it into a type of moving meditation. This is part of, what runners refer to as, getting into “the zone” and being able to just keep on keeping on.
  3. Challenge: Many beginning yogis have quite possibly encountered a challenging pose and thought there was no earthly way they could do it. But with a regular practice and good guidance, one day they found themselves able to do that once unattainable pose, and to do it fluently to the point that they experienced that euphoric buzz of having faced a challenge, met it head on, and done what it is they set out to do. I think that those experiences in yoga teach us how to face other challenges in our lives too. This includes our goals in running; whether we want to run faster, run longer, or run more regularly.
  4. Toned body and mind: Running is, of course, a great cardio workout, but we know we’re also meant to work on whole body muscle tone and strength building to stay physically balanced. A very fitness oriented style of yoga, such as power/vinyasa/fit yoga, certainly offers a toning workout. In this style of yoga we maintain challenging poses and “all guns are firing” to support us. And of course the meditative effects of the yoga movements, and the treat of relaxation at the end of a yoga session, contribute to the mental health benefits we need to balance the physical fabulousness of our running and yoga practices.
  5. Recovery: The body does need rest to actually reap the benefits of the physical and mental activities that we do. Muscles need a chance to recover and the slower, more nurturing segments of our yoga practice encourages the muscles to let go of tension and metabolic waste while holding on to the positive effects of our work. A regular yoga practice also helps us to establish good sleep patterns and other healthy habits.

Don’t skip your stretches and Yoga this weekend Crew. It’s an important part of the plan and will help you become a more efficient, less injury prone runner.

When you slow down and focus on your muscles a deep stretch feels just like a good massage…and who doesn’t want a good massage after a nice long, hard run.

Deep stretch good massage

Day 18: Yoga Wherever…

Beautiful tropical beach with the word summer written on the san

Wednesdays in May are all about Yoga.

Today, I hope that you will find your happy place…find the place where can you relax, breathe, and enjoy destressing your mind and your body.

Wherever your happy place is…if it’s at the beach, a pretty park, your backyard, or just a quiet place at home…make yourself a priority and take the time to let go of the stress and stretch out those sore, tired muscles. Snap a pic of your happy place and share it with the group!

Day 18 exercises:

No strength training…but you can certainly go out for a run! Speed work, running drills, easy run, medium run…whatever works best for you is what you should do today.   Need to know this week’s running drill and speed work? Click here!

Go out and have some fun. 🙂

love running