Day 9: It’s HIP to be STRONG!

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This should really say, “when you 80, or 85, or 90…because we have some STRONG women in their 60s who are no where close to hip replacements! But you get the point. Not only do we want strong hips for the long haul, but strengthening our hips fires up a chain reaction that reverberates all the way down our legs.

Strong hips mean less pain and fewer injuries in our legs. In fact a recent active.com article states,

Since the sport of running has begun to enjoy a second boom in recent years, much attention has been paid to injury prevention. More specifically, the industry has focused largely on both foot strike and footwear as major causes of running ailments. It turns out, however, that there’s another culprit that runners often overlook: hip weakness.

Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:39 marathoner and coach in the Washington D.C. area, says that hip weakness has become more prevalent as a result of the sitting we do in our daily lives. “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,” he says.

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.”

If you read all the way through that, you noticed that hip weakness can cause IT Band syndrome (IT Band pain), patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee pain), Achilles tendinopathy (Achilles problems), shin splints (ouch!), and plantar fasciitis (lots of Core Crew dealing with this one).

So now you know, when I go on and on about hip strength…I am not making this stuff up!

I’m in a lot of running groups, and I know I get a lot of eye rolls when I bring up strength work as a means to elevate leg pain. Everyone wants the quick easy answer to getting back on the road. They want to ice the injury, rest a little, and come back pain free.

Well yes, ice is never a bad idea. Resting when we have pain is always a good thing too… Rolling is also a great way to relax our muscles and relieve some of the pressure…but if that’s all you do, the pain will come back. You’re not getting stronger and finding a way to keep the injury from happening, you’re just masking it for the moment and then wondering why your body hates you.

So I will continue to harp on you about strengthening these areas. And you can keep rolling your eyes at me and keep hurting…or you can get to work on making yourself stronger. The choice is yours Crew!

I hope you’ll choose wisely and….

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Day 9 exercises: 3 sets of 10 (adding another set! 🙂 ) 

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

  • Single Leg Hip Lift
  • Split Squat (weighted)
  • 4-way Band Walk (low squat walk if you don’t have bands)
  • Wall Sit – :60 (post run if you are running today)

Challenges:

  • Ab Challenge – 25 Crunches, 25 Bicycle Crunches, 25 Leg Lifts + :40 Plank
  • 20 Burpees

Bonus: Donkey Kick Workout 

An oldy but a goodie! This one hurts y’all. It isn’t easy but it is only 10 minutes and you will feel the burn. Someone (I forget who this early) asked me to post my video instead of the original so here it is. Follow along with me and let get us some strong and powerful hips!


Speed Work: Today is pretty much the last day you should be doing speed work if you are going long this weekend. If you are racing this weekend….do NOT do speed work today. You will not benefit from pushing yourself this close to a race. Time to take it easy, do some strength work and trust your training.

If you’re not racing, and not going long till Sunday, time to go fast! Here’s this week’s workout:

Workout: 4-8X 800M (1/2 mile repeats 4-8 times) 

  1. Warm up – 1-1.5 miles easy
  2. 1/2 mile repeats with slow jog or stop and stand still and breathe in between sets  (:90-2:00 rest in between sets)
  3. Cool down 1-1.5 miles easy

Wondering how fast or how much effort you should be putting into this workout? Look at the chart below and find a recent 5K time or what you think you would be able to ru for a 5K. The pace next to it is for 1/4 mile repeats (or 400meters) Take that time than double it and add 8-10 seconds. So if you run a 5K in 25 minutes you should run your 400 meter repeats in about one minute 49 seconds. So for 800s you double that to 3 minutes 38 seconds then add 8-10 seconds getting 3:48-3:50 per 800 meters (or every 1/2 mile).

I know this sounds a little confusing so if you aren’t sure please reach out to me and ask. I will help you figure out where you should be.

If you are new to speed work. Start small and don’t overthink it. Start with 4x 1/2 mile repeats (total of 2 miles) and just practice getting close to your time goal each for each 1/2 mile. If you have been doing speed work for a while or are used to go longer distances, suck it up and go for 8x and watch your pace on the first few sets. Don’t try to go all out and beat that pace time. The goal here is stay right on target and hit that time, not to go faster in the beginning and burn out so you can’t finish the workout.

Need help? PLEASE PM me here and let’s chat!

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Another thought…back pain can also result from weak hips…so it’s not just our legs that suffer. EVERYONE can benefit from these strength exercises. Ignore the underlying problem and you will continue to suffer.

Stop masking the problem. Fix it by getting stronger!

Let’s get to work and have a great day Crew! 🙂

Day 7: Hips and Core – Strength and Balance

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Lots of us have gone to the chiropractor and been told we are unbalanced. We can see this in running pictures too…but there are ways to correct this without expensive, thrice weekly doctor visits.

How? Strengthen our hips and core and work on our balance. By strengthening these areas, we are more likely to stand tall and keep our body in line at the end of a long race or training run.

Keeping our spine and hips in line keeps our oxygen flowing, allows our legs and knees to remain stable, and helps us avoid pain and injuries in our lower extremities.

It happens to all of us. At the end of a long race or training run, we tend to slouch and let our posture fall. We are tired and we just want to finish so our brain forgets and we begin to let things fall apart.

Below are images of me at Rock N Roll Savannah back in November before we started doing a lot of hip strength and balance work wearing my knee brace and consistently suffering from knee pain.

(Excuse the watermarks…I didn’t purchase these photos)

Since then I have dedicated a lot of time to hip strength and it has paid off. My posture has gotten  much better and my knee pain has all but disappeared. Case in point, see the pictures below from this past weekend at Rock N Roll New Orleans. Hips and aligned and knee brace is gone…and so is the pain in my knees.

I’ll never say “don’t see a doctor,” but if you’re having on-giong pain, and can’t figure out how to make it go away, strengthening your hips is a great start. I saw many different doctors, had x-rays and MRI’s and even cortisone shots in both knees…but until I started getting stronger in these area, nothing took the pain away.

It’s important to stretch and roll our legs too…I know I know…so many things to do…but as athletes, we must use every tool in our arsenal to be healthy and strong in order to stay on the road pain free.

Today’s hip strengthening and balance exercises had been key parts of my journey and I hope you embrace these exercises and make them part of your tool kit to success too.

Day 7 exercises: Hips strength video is found below and how to videos for single leg deadlifts and squats are in the link below.

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

  • Modern Moms/Dads Hip Strength -1X all the way through on each side
  • Single Leg Deadlifts – 2 sets of 10 for each leg
  • Squats – 2 sets of 10
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60

Challenges:

  • Superman – :40
  • Push Ups – 30
  • #MadManMartin Plank Challenge – Plank for additional :45

Speed Work: Everyone’s favorite speed work and undoubtedly the least dreaded is 1/4 mile repeats. So this week, it’s time to put some pep in your step and pour on the speed.

Workout – 6X-12X 400M (1/4 mile) – If you are just easing into speed work for the first time. Keep it short and do 1/4 mile repeats 6 times for a total of 1.5 miles. If you’ve been doing this for a while now, and are training for a longer distance race…don’t be lazy…get in those 12 1/4 mile repeats for a total of 3 miles of speed work. Remember to warm up AND cool down. Both are very important parts of this workout. If you have questions, reach out to me. Let’s chat about how to make this work for you.

1/4 mile repeats can be done on the track, treadmill, or on the road with a GPS watch. Do whatever works for you…but don’t skip it. I know it can be daunting…but speed work will not only help you get faster, but it will also help you increase your breathing abilities and make your long runs easier.

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.

*1:00 standing or walking rest in between each set.

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

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


That’s all for today Crew. Let’s keep working on our hip strength and balance so we can stop that annoying lower extremity pain and stay on the road doing what we love…running!

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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 16: Hip Hip Hoo Ray for Friday!

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-8-22-18-pmWho doesn’t love Fridays?!?!?

There’s so many reasons to be excited for the weekend…but of course for us runners…it’s all about that long run! 😉

What’s your long run plan this weekend? Racing? Long training run? Just feel like getting your runner’s high?

Whatever your plan is…let us know so we can support you and cheer you on!

But wait…before we get to the weekend we have one more day of hip work! You know the drill…Modern Mom’s Hip Workout is one of everyone’s favorites. No bonus today…just hips, Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas and STRETCHING!!

Oh wait…no bonus but there is some extra credit…take a picture of your favorite stretch. It can be one of our 7 Key Stretches for Runners or one of your favorites.  Show us how you get limber before your long run!

Day 16 exercises:

  • Modern Mom Hip Workout for strong trim hips
  • Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-5
  • Extra Credit – Show us how you get limber!

Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-5

  1. 1 minute skaters
  2. 20 Squats
  3. 15 Push ups
  4. 10 Superman
  5. 1 minute jumping jacks

Extra Credit: Show us your favorite stretch. Choose one from our 7 Key Stretches for Runners or show us your favorite!

I’ve forgotten all about our daily one minute plank this month…OOPS! We’re already doing some good core work this month but before you clean up and go on with the rest of your day, knock out one :60 plank of your choice and let us know which one gets your core working the most!

Remember to let us know what’s on your schedule this weekend and SMILE cause…

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Day 12: That Moment When…

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-5-43-15-amThat moment when…you’re running and you feel some pain in your hip, knee, IT Band….

That moment when….you want to go for a run but you think about how your body is hurting and no one can figure out why…

That moment when your hip goes out….and you’re going down!

Don’t wait till THAT moment that keeps you off the road….


Can you believe it’s already to 12th of December? Holy WOW this month is flying by!

If you aren’t taking advantage of the fast month…and the fast workouts our Crew is doing you’re missing out! Our exercises take 10 minutes a day…that’s it…10 minutes y’all!

On top of being quick, they are very effective! If you’re dealing with some pain below the waist…hips, IT Band, quads, knees, calves, ankles…then you should be doing these hip strength exercises. We’re in our 2nd month focusing on hip work and let me tell you…my body is very grateful. You know I’ve dealt with lots of knee pain this year but that pain has all but vanished since I started strengthening my hips.

After running 30.4 miles in around 22.5 hours this past weekend, I am pain free…PAIN FREE!! I had zero issues with knee pain during the Ragnar Trail race which is the only reason I was able to go the distance. What are you waiting for? Jump in now and start getting stronger…your body will thank you!

Day 12 exercises:

  • Donkey Kick Workout – Follow along with me in the video below
  • Bonus: Clams – 3 sets of 10
  • Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 days of Christmas – Day 1 (see below)

Bonus: Clams – 3 sets of 10 – I know that workout is tough but you can do a little more! Clams are one of the most often recommended exercise to strength our hips. Bust out 3 sets of 10 clams for each leg. Use a resistance band if you have one or do them without…either way you will get results. Come on…you can do them laying down! 😉

Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Day 1 (1 minute Skaters) 

Sarah suggested a great way to add a little more into our routine and to celebrate the holiday. Day 1 is one minute of skaters. Here are 13 different variations on this exercise. Choose one that works best for you and let’s celebrate Christmas the STRONG way! 🙂

Speed Work: 6x -8X 1/4 mile repeats

This has to be everyones favorite speed work. It’s one we can call do without feeling too anxious. Don’t be scared by the phrase “speed workout.”  Speed is a relative term, by which I mean that one person’s “slow” pace might be another’s “fast” pace.  It’s all about pushing yourself beyond what is ‘comfortable’…not trying to do what someone else does. Remember that speed work is about more than just getting faster, it’s about pushing yourself a little more than you’re used too, about building up your endurance so your “normal” speed feels more comfortable therefore going a little faster is easier.

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!)

This workout is so effective because it will teach your body to move faster for longer periods of time, so hopefully come race day, you’ll be ready to shave a few seconds off each mile….and feel better doing it!


12 Days of Thanks: If you know me well…you know I am a bit of a Christmas scrooge. I love the holiday and the real meaning for the season, but I don’t like being “forced” to buy presents for tons of people just because someone says I am supposed too. I’d rather give thoughtful gifts throughout the year when they are needed…the stress of “gift giving” wears me out!

So as we get closer and closer to Christmas…I like to take off some of the stress and give thanks for some of the special things that happened in 2016. Along with Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas, I would love for us to mention some fabulous memories from our year and give thanks for what truly matters. When you post your 12 Days of Christmas each day, tell us something that made you smile in 2016. Let’s remember the good times before the year is over!

There is always something to be thankful for, and always a reason to keep moving forward. Share your memories with us and let’s find our holiday spirit together.

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Day 2: TGIF Crew!

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-8-07-49-pmTGIF! Time to take a rest day, right?

Nooooo!!!

That would be a mistake…because the Core Crew grind includes Friday!

Rounding out your week with a little sweat can provide a boatload of health benefits!

I know you’ve already worked hard this week, but here are a bunch of reasons the Daily Burn says you shouldn’t skip out of your Friday workout. Trust me, you’ll want to load up on those cardio-induced endorphins before the weekend.

  1. You’ll smile a whole lot more.
    It’s easy to sleep in, yes, but getting jacked up on exercise-high endorphins will help put a smile on that face. Even better, researchers found that smiling could be as stimulating for your brain as receiving up to 16,000 British pounds (that’s about $23,000 American dollars!).
  2. You’ll be super productive at work.
    Having a cup of joe in the morning may give you the boost you need to get your day started, but it’s nothing like what a workout high can offer. Studies show that exercise improves learning and performance on memory tests. Who knew that a little sweat and a few smiles was all you needed to nail that work presentation (and maybe score a raise)?
  3. Your confidence will skyrocket.
    Research shows that people have improved self-esteem after exercising! Want to up your game even more? Take your workout outdoors. One study found that even a five-minute walk outdoors could help improve your mood, so you can strut your stuff feeling all sorts of sociable!
  4. You’ll sleep better.
    Let’s be honest: most people use their weekends to catch up on sleep. But as runners, we’re usually up early on the weekends too. Getting in a Friday workout will make your weekend zzz’s that much better. Studies show that those who get in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week report a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality, plus they feel less sleepy throughout the day. If chronic sleep problems are an issue, another study found that four months of consistent exercise helped insomniacs net 45 minutes of extra sleep per night. So you’ll be winning all around!
  5. You’ll keep those weekend cravings in check.
    You know that moment when you’ve been eating on point all week, but you find yourself caving to craving after craving? A Friday workout can help keep those rumblings in check. Researchers discovered that exercise can help curb food cravings and help you make better choices throughout the weekend.
  6. You can relax…well at least one weekend day.
    At the end of the day, fitting in your sweat sessions during the work week gives you the option to take a rest day on the weekend. Get your workout done on Friday and you can relax on your non running day this weekend without feeling guilty.

If that’s not enough to get you moving today…how about a quick, effective workout that will continue to help us strengthen our hips and core? You got it! Back to Modern Mom’s Hip Workout. Don’t worry…it’s just on Friday. Monday and Wednesday will be a brand new, killer hip and butt workout! 😉

Day 2 exercises: Modern Mom’s Hip Workout + one :60 Plank of your choice

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Bonus: #FridayWorkout

Today’s bonus won’t take much extra time…but it will give you a little extra calorie burn to start your weekend!

Feeling a little squirley? Do it twice! 🙂

Whatever life throws at you today…love yourself enough to take a little time for you! You deserve it and your weekend will be so much nicer knowing you got it done.

TGIF Crew!

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