Day 17: Add Life To Your Years

We strength train to get stronger, run faster, avoid injuries….but we also strength train to gain fitness, and fitness is about more than just exercise.

Gaining fitness affects our health, our mood, our self image…fitness adds years to our life…but it also adds life to our years.

If you’ve gotten bored with the benefits of strength training to your running, remember that being active and fit improves your overall quality of life…even when running is on the back burner.

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Leg day again? No, not really…hip and butt day! We’ve taken the focus slightly off our hips this month but we aren’t neglecting them completely. Continuing to strengthen this area is key to a strong base and a healthy body.

I made a comment the other day that this week would separate the committed from the the…well…not so committed, when in fact,  the challenges this week should seem relatively easy to those who are keeping up.

If you fell behind, now is a great time to think about all the benefits being active brings to your life. Add life to your years and jump back in today!

Day 17 exercises: 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant (both sides)
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams (both sides)
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: Modern Mom’s (or Dad’s) Hip Strength – see video below. You know this routine. It takes about 4 minutes per leg and will fire up those hip flexors!

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 40
  • Push Ups Beginner – 14
  • Push Ups Advanced – 70
  • Squats – 50 (only 50? Easy peasy! 😉 )

Speed Work: Climb ladders

Ladder workouts are speed sessions that vary the length of the work intervals in incremental steps and are a great way to get a mix of several high-intensity running paces in a single session. Go to the track or use your GPS watch to track your distance., warm up with 10 minutes of easy running, and try one of these ladders. Run each interval slightly faster than the preceding one, and jog, walk  400 meters (or just stand still and breath deeply) between each interval.

Starter ladder: 400M (1/4 mile), 800M (1/2 mile), 1600M (mile), 800M (1/2 mile), 400M (1/4 mile).

Advanced ladder: 200M (.1 mile), 400M, 800M, 1200M, 1600M, 1200M, 1000M, 800M, 400M, 200M

Remember that it is always important to do a good warm up and cool down before and after every speed work session. And if you’re not doing running drills to loosen your glutes, hips, quads, and calves…you’re missing out on an important part of the workout.

  1. Warm up
  2. Running Drills: Pick a few and take a few minutes to loosen up. Click here for descriptions of each running drill. Butt Kicks, High Knees, Bounding, Grapevines, Slow Skipping, Hamstring Extensions, Running Backwards, Straight Leg Shuffle, Lateral Bounding
  3. Speed Work
  4. Cool Down

Today, I want you to get up and exercise for you. Don’t do it to run faster. Don’t do it to avoid injuries. Don’t do it because it’s a challenge and you’re “supposed to.”

Do it because it makes you happy. Do it for a healthy mind, an uplifting attitude, and a fabulous mood. 🙂

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Day 4: Brutally Strong Hips

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Our pelvic floor, quads, hamstrings, knees, calves, and feet are constantly under fire. Without strong hips and glutes, they might just blow!

When it comes to running strong, efficiently, and injury free, it’s all in the hips and butt.

Our hips and glutes work together to provide postural stability in walking, standing and running. They stabilize and align the hip, decelerate your swinging leg while running, and provide power in your footstrike and push-off.

The problem is that runners often have weak hips and glutes, leading to discomfort, inefficiency and—worst of all—injury.

According to the TrailRunnermag.com article 4 Hip-Strengthening Exercises to Help You Run Strong, “Trunk muscles—including your hips and glutes—are arguably the most important part of your running anatomy. Pay attention to them to prevent injury and stay strong.”

Weakness in your glutes is related to a lack of “recruitment,” explains Toni Dauwalter, a Physical Therapist at Accelerated Sports Therapy and Fitness in Minneapolis. “Two big reasons for [glute weakness are] our sitting lifestyle and a history of back pain and injury,” she says. “There isn’t much need for core recruitment in the sitting position, especially the frequently adopted work position of forward head and shoulders and rounded spine.”

When do you do your strength work? We’ve talked about this before and ideally, the best time to do your strength training is right before you run. Doing these basic exercises just before heading out for a run will not only allow you to warm up a bit, but they will also remind you of which muscles you should be engaging while running and you’ll be more inclined to practice things like firing up through your butt and maintaining good form if you prep yourself in this way.

If you’re not running, then you have time to throw in an extra round! 😉 Either way, finding time for these lower body exercises means running stronger, faster, and with less pain.

Day 4 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clam (knees together / feet up)
  • Forearm Plank (:60)
  • Pigeon Pose (stretch both legs!)

Bonus: Fire Hydrants – 3 sets of 10

  • lock the elbows and abduct the hip at 90 or 45 degrees
  • draw the navel in
  • look at the ground

Need a refresher on fire hydrants? Check out the video below.


It’s Friday y’all! The weekend is when people tend to get lazy and slack off. Remember that this is a process. To get stronger, you have to stick with the plan.

It doesn’t take long but done consistently, that lingering pain that keeps coming back might finally GO AWAY!

Take it day by day….keep working towards your goals!

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Day 29: Don’t Stop Now!

dont-stop-now

Day 29 y’all…don’t stop now, we’re almost there!!

2 more days and this month is complete! Legs today, abs tomorrow, then a brand new month starts with our long run on Saturday. Keep pushing…keep getting it done, and let’s bask in the glory of knowing we finished strong!

Day 29 exercises: Legs / Stability – 4 sets of 15

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Plank – Your choice (:90 2X)

Bonus: 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Pigeon Pose – Everyone has been putting some serious miles in this month, but have you been stretching lately? Are you feeling sore or tight anywhere? Today’s bonus is to take a little extra time to stretch your calves, quads, hamstrings, and back. Of our 7 Key Stretches for Runners + the pigeon pose, what is your stretching position? Which one can you feel helping you the most?

So excited to see some of you trying the Ladder speed work this week. I know it’s a little confusing…and it’s a tough workout…but doesn’t it feel amazing once it’s done and you see how awesome you are? The times I’m seeing show just how bad add this Crew is!

Keep pushing yourself! It’s worth it! 🙂

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Day 22: Bootylicious

bootyliciousYou wanted booty work right? Well let’s get bootylicious!

Many of the AMAZING glute activation exercises that we should all be doing are those funny looking moves that Jane Fonda used to do in her leotard with ankle weights.

They are the moves that most people, especially guys, avoid.

However, everyone from the professional athlete to the guy or gal sitting behind the desk for 9 hours a day, should do those funny looking glute activation moves!

By activating your glutes, you can reduce your risk of injury and alleviate back pain. You can also improve your speed and have strong, sexy legs all by doing these stupid looking moves.

Donkey kicks will wake up your entire core, activating your glutes and warming up your abs and shoulders. Fire hydrants are another great way to wake up the glute medius, which is a critical muscle for maintaining balance and preventing knee and ankle injuries. Squats help improve knee stability, leg power, and body awareness, as well as prevent common running injuries. Deadlifts are one the greatest exercises of all-time and fantastic for runners. Whether your goal is strength, power, speed, or endurance, deadlifting can help you achieve that goal.

Strengthening your glutes will improve your hip’s stability, help you run faster and change direction more quickly…and hey…a nice strong bootylicious derriere is so worth the work!

Day 22 exercises: Legs/Stability – 4 sets of 15

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Plank – Your Choice (:60 2X)

Bonus: Weighted Hip Thrusts – Yep…we’re doing them again. Weighted hip thrusts are an easy exercise to throw in the mix today and adding these to our regular Thursday routine is the perfect way to round out our stability workout.

Weighted Hip Thrust: With a dumbbell resting in the crease of your hips, sit on the floor with the bottom of your shoulder blades touching a bench or couch or even a chair if it’s study and won’t hurt your back. Drive through your heels and thrust your hips up toward the ceiling while contracting your glutes. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat 8 to 10 times for 3 sets.

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Time to get bootylicious…and build that solid base we need to stay injury free and run faster and longer!

The weekend is close! Let’s exercise, eat healthy, and be happy today Crew!

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Day 15: Don’t Get Comfortable!

dont-get-comfortableDid you know that when we run, we add hit the pavement with 3-4 times our body weight on each footfall?

3-4 TIMES OUR BODY WEIGHT!!!

If you ever wondered why strength training is crucial for runners…now you know! If you’re comfortable with the weight you’re using, it’s time to step it up and get out of your comfort zone!

In order to fully maximize performance, endurance athletes should improve their overall strength in relation to their bodyweight. That means adding heavier strength training into the mix. Building strength helps runners absorb force better when their feet crash into the pavement and produces more force to propel us off the ground. Which all happens in the blink of an eye.

How do we build more strength? We add more weight to our exercises…and the perfect place to to start is our squats and deadlifts. If you’re working out from home, use your heaviest weights for these exercises today. If you find that’s it’s easy, it’s time to think about getting some heavier weights!

If you’re hitting the gym, pick up weights heavier than you’re used to.

Adding heavier weight targets type II muscle fibers — those responsible for power generation and maximal strength. By increasing type II muscle fibers, runners will be able to produce and absorb more force even over distance. Think about it…every time you hot the pavement, 3-4 TIMES YOUR BODYWEIGHT crashes into the ground.

Are you comfortable? Time to step it up!

Not only are we adding weight, we’re also adding reps! This week we move up to 3 sets of 15. You got this!

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

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

  • Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrants – Have some leg weights? Add them!
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Plank – Your Choice (:45 2X)

Bonus: Weighted Hip Thrusts – Everyone really seemed to enjoy them and after Cris Denniston mentioned them yesterday, I knew it was time to throw them back in the mix. Here’s a reminder on how to do them.

Weighted Hip Thrust: With a dumbbell resting in the crease of your hips, sit on the floor with the bottom of your shoulder blades touching a bench or couch or even a chair if it’s study and won’t hurt your back. Drive through your heels and thrust your hips up toward the ceiling while contracting your glutes. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat 8 to 10 times for 3 sets.

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Speed Work: Everyone has been killing it tis week and I’m sure I’ve some of your awesome posts, but I’ve been watching for it and am sad to say speed work has not been on the menu for many of you. Jennifer Moro-Ortiz killed her 10 x 400s yesterday…is Jen the only one who wants to get faster and building better breathing economy? I know that’s not true!

If you’re going long tomorrow or Saturday, sorry Charlie, you’ve already missed the speed work boat this week. It’s too close to your long run to have enough time to recover fully. Next week, PLAN BETTER!

If you’re going long on Sunday, you still have time. I’d LOVE to see some awesome speed work today!! Click here to find this week’s workout and the pace you should be running for each 400M interval.


Next up…STRETCH! If you had a hard time with yesterday’s back bend, you need to work on overall flexibility. I know what you’re going to say, I’m too old, I’ll never be flexible again, it’s nit worth worrying about. WRONG! Flexibility takes effort and practice, and after a few months of consistent stretching, I am able to get down into a full straddle!

It really is difficult to exaggerate the importance of hip flexibility and strength for every athletic activity.

The hips provide most of the incredible power and force that our lower body can generate for running and jumping, and deficiencies in strength and flexibility in this area of the body can mean the difference between a winning performance or a painful end to the game.

Beyond just getting stronger and more flexible to improve our running, issues with our hips can negatively impact your daily life. Possible issues include pain, decreased mobility for activities such as stooping and squatting, and even difficulty with simple daily encounters such as jumping over a puddle in the street.

Straddle Stretching: Throw in some straddle stretching today. Watch the video below to see all the key points in our legs that benefit from this stretch. No I don’t want to you go and spend money on the Kinesiologial stretching programs, but this will show a few quick ways to ease into this awesome stretch. I’d love to see some straddle pics today! 🙂

Don’t forget our 7 Key Stretches for Runners + a good Pigeon Pose! Take the time after your workout, our save it till later when you’re relaxing in front of the TV. No matter when you do it, please stretch out those glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and back….long runs are coming!

It’s strong Thursday Crew! Because….you never know who you’re inspiring! 🙂

be-strong

 

Day 8: No Ifs, Ands Or Jiggly Butts

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Got excuses? NOT TODAY! No ifs, ands, or jiggle butts…that means YOU! No Excuses!

You know cardio isn’t a leg workout right?Yes running does wonderful things for our legs and butt…BUT it’s not enough!

The best strength exercises for runners have two characteristics:

  • They prevent injuries by focusing on the specific needs of runners (hip and glute strength)
  • They are compound, multi-joint movements like squats (the machines in the gym do NOT count)

For most runners, the largest benefit of strength training is a reduction in running injuries. With stronger muscles, connective tissues, and more resilience to fatigue, you’ll get hurt less often..and be able to increase your speed easier.

According to StrengthRunner.com,”here is a list of the best strength exercises for runners:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Lunge
  • Push-up
  • Plank

They’re simple, basic movements that all of us as runners should be able to do.”

The best news? We do all of these exercises!

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Need more reasons to ditch the excuses? We all know this…but it never hurts to be reminded…Why do we take the time to strength train? Read on…

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Enough chatting…let’s get to work.

Day 8 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrants
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Plank – (:45 2X)

Bonus: #WallSitChallenge screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-6-14-25-pm

I know you love wall sits so lets do it 3 times!

Wall sit with heel raise for 1 minute, single right leg raise for :30, then single left leg raise for :30.

You can do this! Take a break into between if you need to but push through!


No ifs, ands, or jiggly butts…and no excuses Crew!

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Day 29: Healthy Hump Day!

laziness fuels lazinessWhat will you choose today? Lazy or active?

This is so true! When we’re lazy…we feel tired, run down, sad, and even more lazy! And we eat bad!

When we’re active we feel powerful and happy, we eat better and we want to be more active!

The choice is always yours….what will you choose? CHOOSE ACTIVE!!!

Day 29 exercises: 4 sets of 10! 

  • Knee Cross Crunch
  • Double Arm Reach
  • Side Imprint
  • Cross Body Chop
  • Medicine Ball Slam
  • Star Plank – :60 each side

Bonus: #ShapeUp&SlimDownShape up and slim down bonus

Thank you Brandi for finding us this great bonus workout! I like the looks of this one….let us know if you like it too and we’ll throw it in the mix for future workouts as well. 🙂

How many rounds can you fit in your active schedule today? Try to run through the whole routine without a rest then take a break and go at it again!

Thigh Challenge: Day 29

  • Fire Hydrants – 47X each leg
  • Scissor Kicks – 120X
  • Inner Thigh Leg Lifts – 75X each leg

Lots to do today. Pick your activity level then get at it!

Some great ideas came in for July and I am working hard to put together a killer routine for us. Hope I can get it all done; workout, July Challenge, work, and watch the kids. Whew! It’s gonna be a long one….but I’m ready for an active day and I know you are too! Let’s do this Core Crew! Fuel up and make it an awesome healthy hump day!

Healthy Hump Day

Day 22: Wake Up and Be Awesome!

Good Ab Day

Ready for a killer Ab day?!? YES!!!

Wednesday is my favorite day this month…I love this ab routine!

You know you’ve worked your abs hard when it hurts to sneeze or laugh so today after you finish your workout find your favorite funny meme and post for us so we can laugh and feel all that hard work we put in! 🙂

First thing…when you get up…before you shower and get ready for work…let’s bust out the #MiniMorningWorkout again. It’s quick, fun and a great way to get our heart pumping first thing in the morning!

Mini Morning Workout

Day 22 exercises: 4 sets of 10

  • Knee Cross Crunch
  • Double Arm Reach
  • Side Imprint
  • Cross Body Chop
  • Medicine Ball Slam
  • Star Plank – :60 each side

Bonus: 100 Crunches in sets of 25 in between Day 22 exercises. Tag your post with #100Crunches!

Thigh Challenge: Day 22 – Love to see so many of you keeping up with the #ThighChallenge this month. Keep it up!

  • 35 Fire Hydrants
  • 90 Scissors
  • 6o Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Running Drills: Grapevines – Yes I know I keep talking about it…that’s because I want you to do these running drills EVERY time you run! Before or after…either way they will help you improve your running form and efficiency!

Speed Work: Options, options options! Whatever you choose…give it your all!

  • Fartleks
  • Interval Sprints – 200M, 400M, 800M, 1200M, Mile Repeats
  • Tempo Run

Fun, fantastic workout coming at you today! Give it all you’ve got and make sure you…

Wake up and be awesome

Day 21: Reality Check

Guess What it's leg dayGuess what….it’s Leg Day!

Even though running gives us strong legs, we still need to work our hips, glutes, calves and hamstrings a little more to go the extra mile!

Day 21 exercises:

  • Balance and Reach – 20X each leg
  • Squats – 50X
  • Mountain Climbers – 50X
  • Plank UP and Downs – :60

Balance and Reach image

Balance and Reach: Check out the FB video to make sure you’re doing this exercise correctly. It is great for hip strength and will help you shift your strength into the bigger muscles giving you more speed when running. Make sure to use the opposite hand from the leg that is going backwards.

 

Bonus: #GoTheExtraMile – Time to step it up and go the extra mile…Bonus = extra round of Day 21 exercises. You got this!

Thigh Challenge: Day 21

  • Fire Hydrants – 32x each side
  • Scissor Kicks – 85x
  • Inner Thigh Leg Lifts – 55X each side

Running Drills: Grapevines

Speed Work: Pick your poison – Click here for options

We’ve got some slackers this month…and maybe you’ve been running and just skipping your strength work but time for a reality check…

Reality Check

Running is great and will help you lose weight…but strength training will help your body burn more calories and will translate into faster times, and a stronger, leaner physique. Grab the weights and get moving Core Crew! 🙂

 

 

 

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