Day 19: Wall Sit Anytime Anywhere!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-30-20-amMost distance runners will tell you they’ve had a point on one (or many) of their runs where they hit “the wall.” The wall can be both an emotional and a physical barrier. You need mental strength to finish a marathon, but you also need toned muscles!

Wall sits are a great down-and-dirty strength exercise to build strength in your quadriceps and calves. When you’re doing a wall sit, your quads are holding your weight up by pushing it against the wall, and your calves are working to keep your knees bent at a 90° angle.

By strengthening your thigh muscles, you are helping stabilize your knees, which helps lower your risk of injury. Runner’s Knee, which is an unfortunate and common injury for distance runners, can be caused by weak thigh muscles (among other things). By strengthening your quads, you’re helping reduce risk of injury.

Anyone Can Do Wall Sits

Perhaps the greatest thing about wall sits, is that anyone can do them, anywhere, at any time. Can’t find time for your full daily workout? Throw in some wall sits throughout the day. Camping in the woods? Find a tree to lean up against. Got a few minutes before you have to be back at work from your lunch break? Wall sit! Arrive a few minutes before your doctor appointment? The car can provide a solid surface for a wall sit – right there in the parking lot.

Remember, our “challenge” is meant to motivate you to do more than you would each day. We’re not here to beat you up for not getting in every single exercise every single day. If you do…that’s awesome! But we know that busy lives get in the way and the most important thing is being active and adding strength training to your routine.

So when you’re short on time, grab a wall and take a squat. Every little bit counts!

Day 19 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges (each leg)
  • Wall sits – 3X (:60) or 1X for 3 minutes!
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: Hip Stability Exercies for IT Band Syndrome and Runner’s Knee

Lots of people suffer from tight hips and IT Bands which lead to pain in and around our knees and down our legs. Hip rotation and pelvic imbalances are also frequent issues for runners that contribute to IT Band Syndrome or Runner’s Knee.

Yes, this is a monthly challenge, but I also hope you find information along the way that you tuck away in your personal arsenal for future use. The exercises in this video help to create additional stability and strength for both prevention and recovery. Check it out.

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 45
  • Push Ups Beginner – 15
  • Push Ups Advanced – 30
  • Squats – 50

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

Running today? We usually try to do our strength work before we go for a run…but this time save one of your wall sits for afterwards, when your legs are fatigued. Just one…don’t go overboard with it. When it’s all said and done, take time to stretch out those tired and sore muscles so you’re ready to go long this weekend!

Have a great Thursday Crew! 🙂

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-47-56-am

Day 6: Hold Down the Fort

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-5-17-20-amI’m traveling today Crew! Step up and hold down the fort while I’m battling to get to Chicago!

Pray for those of us traveling today…I have a feeling the airports are gonna be a madhouse. Pray for the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina folks….safety first!

Get your workout in and support your Crew!

Day 6 exercises: Legs – 2 sets of 10

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

  • Hero Lunge (:30 each side)
  • Fire Hydrant with Kick
  • Pistol Squat
  • Single Leg Hip Thrusts
  • Bedtime Plank (:60)

Bonus: #KillThoseCalves – This bonus workout is pretty simple but a great way to build some extra calf strength. Add it to your routine today!

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-5-23-00-am

That’s all for now Crew. Give each other some extra support today! 🙂

 

Day 4: Don’t Stop Till You’re Done!

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-5-08-03-amNo joking around…today is a doozie and our legs are gonna feel it!

It will probably hurt and you might hate it…but what doesn’t kill us WILL make us stronger and that’s the whole point right?

Push through today…it’s only 2 sets of 10. Don’t you dare give up on yourself!

Day 4: Legs – 2 sets of 10

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

  • Lunge Squats – Blame Jan 😉
  • Plank Donkey Kicks – (similar to regular donkey kicks but bottom leg is extended)
  • Booty Boxes – fire up those glutes!
  • Split Squat – in between a squat and a lunge, emphasis goes on front leg
  • Bedtime Plank

Bonus: Pigeon Pose and Quad Stretch – We don’t have tons of exercises to do today but these are not easy so instead of doing more…make sure you’re form is on point and take a few minutes to stretch out those quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Tomorrow is speed day for lots of you, so don’t overdo it…but don’t stop when it hurts….stop when you’re done!


Speed Work: This week’s speed work is 6 rounds of half mile sprints with a :90 rest in between. This should be easier to do without adjusting your watch. Before I started going to track I liked to do speed work in my neighborhood because I knew where the mile marks were and this one should be an easy workout to do that way. Go out for an easy half mile warm up then turn around and go back home. Then set out for a faster quarter mile and go back home again, making a half mile. Do this 6 times taking a break in between each set and writing down your times. When you’re done go out for another slow and easy cool down mile. 5 miles in total. You can do this Crew!

When I say “sprints” know that pace is relative to what you can do. Your sprint is different than the next person. Don’t let this scare you or keep you from trying.  Each time you run a little bit faster than you’re used too…magical things happen inside your body! It’s so cool to see how that last cool down mile is a faster than your warm up…while still feeling like you’re going your normal pace. The point…your normal pace gets faster! 🙂

Click here for the workout and pace chart to find out how fast you should be running.

Watch your form today Crew. Do these moves in front of a mirror to make sure you’re doing them correctly. Today, it’s all about getting to know the exercise and building confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Building strong legs is a process…but when you get those people asking how you got those strong, sexy legs…you tell them, “Whatever it takes!” 🙂

whatever-it-takes

 

 

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!

 

Day 14 – Choose Wise Over Clever

Change myself

The weekend is over and the racing is done but even on Monday we can still have some fun!

I know you’re all busy and sore and exhausted… but we can’t change the world even if we persisted. Today we’ll be wise and work on ourself instead…maybe…just maybe…our excitement will spread!

One day at a time…that’s all it takes. And Monday means leg day…so let’s make it GREAT!

I think I’ve been reading too many Dr Seuss bedtime stories. 😉 I’m no Dr Seuss but I hope it at least made you smile!

Last day of 3 sets of 10 reps…we step it up tomorrow. Time to get to work Core Crew!

Day 14 exercises: Click here for how to videos for exercises. Today’s stretches at the bottom.

  • Plank – :45
  • Wall Sit – :45 (3X)
  • Calf Raises – 3 sets of 10
  • Sumo Squats – 3 sets of 10
  • Plank – :45
  • Side Planks – :45 (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch – Not on the calendar but after all the racing, long runs over the weekend… and wall sits and squats today…this stretch will feel so good!

Bonus Workout: #FullNameWorkoutfull name workout

For some of us this will be long…and for some it will be shorter. Don’t blame me…but if it’s long …it will be worth it!

Running Drills: Last week we did butt kicks and bounding…don’t forget them! Click here to go back and review. Add these new ones to your list this week. I know it takes time away from running but it will make a difference in your speed and performance! I want to see lots of posts with these drills included…I will be watching so please don’t skip them.

  1. High Knees:Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 6.14.18 AM

Why: The high knees drill accentuates knee lift and glutes and hamstring power, which are keys to running fast and efficiently, as well as powerful and efficient leg drive.

How: Taking short steps with a very quick cadence, alternate thrusting knees upward until your thigh breaks a plane parallel to the ground. Focus on soft, flat footstrikes near the ball of your foot while using your core to lower your leg down slowly instead of letting it crash to the ground. Do two to four reps of 15 lifts on each knee.

2. Grapevines:

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 6.17.10 AMWhy: This drill loosens hip flexors and glutes and increases hip and leg and gluteal mobility while also using lateral strength required to run with good form.

How: Standing upright with your head and torso facing forward, move laterally in one direction by placing your trailing leg in front of the lead leg. Then move the lead leg in that same lateral direction and place the trailing leg in front of the lead leg. Maintain a fluid motion with your arms rotating in the opposite direction from the legs. Do two to four 50-meter reps to the left and right, facing the same direction for each lateral movement.

Speed Work: This doesn’t have to be done today, but sometime this week throw in some Fartleks. If we want to get faster…we have to have to purposely run faster! Fartlek is a Swedish word for “speed play”. Fartleks are meant to be fun and unstructured so don’t overthink it. “Fun” doesn’t mean it won’t be hard work but everyone can do these! Here’s how to work it into your routine.

Essentially, fartlek is a series of faster pickups with a recovery interval in between. The length and speed of the pickups, as well as the recovery intervals, is totally up to you. When out on the roads or trails, after an easy warm-up jog of a mile or two, find an object off in the near distance, be it a tree, rock or telephone pole, and run to it at a pace faster than you ordinarily would. Once you reach your destination or start feeling fatigued, jog gently or even walk until you’re feeling recovered and then repeat the process all the way home.

Lots to do this week but it all has a purpose. Our purpose this week…make wise choices that will bring us closer to our goals. This includes eating well, getting good rest, and taking the time you need for you. You can change the world…but it all starts with you.

Let’s get to it and make it a great Monday! 🙂

 

Day 7: What Do They Say About Monday?

Monday startoverGood morning Challengers and happy Monday!

Everyone pretty much killed week 1…but if you know you didn’t give it your all…time to regroup, recommit, and get to it! Will you struggle to make time for you or will you be strong and power through?

What do they say about Monday? NEVER SKIP A MONDAY WORKOUT! 🙂

I’m going to start adding bonus workouts and running drills this week. These extra workouts and drills are meant to get you moving more and improve your running efficiency…but don’t stress if you don’t get each one in today. I will refer to them all week so just do your best and keep being active!

Day 7 exercises: Legs – 3 sets of 10

  • Plank – :30
  • Wall Sit – :30 (3X)
  • Calf Raises
  • Sumo Squats
  • Plank – :30
  • Side Planks – :30 each side
  • Pigeon Pose all cardio challenge
  • Calf Stretches
  • Quad Stretch

Week 2 Bonus Workout:

All Cardio Challenge: This bonus workout can be done any day this week…or everyday this week…so fit it in when you can to get your heart rate up and burn some calories!

When you do fit it in make sure you post using #AllCardioChallenge so we know you went the extra mile! 🙂  One last thing ere…DON’T SKIP THE BURPEES! They are good for you…just try them! Keep your core tight and go slow until you have the form correct. Remember to watch the “how to” videos again if you need reminders on form for any of our exercises.

Running Drills:

We’ve talked about some running drills before, but this week we are going to start introducing two drills per week to get you familiar with them.  Going forward I will ask you to incorporate them into your routine 3-4 times a week. They can be done as warm ups or after your run to reinforce good running form when you’re fatigued.

These drills are for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner runner or a veteran …we can all benefit from adding running drills into our weekly routine.

According to RunningCompetitor.com,

“If you want to improve as a runner, you’ve got to do more than just run. You’ve got to make time to do the extra stuff, too. Taking 20 minutes to do a handful of drills…can dramatically improve your running form and economy (or the ability to run fast efficiently) and increase your stride cadence and racing speed.

Each of the drills highlights one or more aspects of good running form and accentuates them through repetitive motion, which trains the body to become comfortable with that movement so it can be inserted into your typical running mechanics.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.52.31 AMButt Kicks:

Why: Butt kicks engage the hamstrings and accentuate the recovery portion of the running gait and improve leg turnover cadence.

How: Run in place with your thighs more or less locked in a neutral position and try to kick yourself in the glute with your heel on each stride. Focus on keeping he rest of your body still and simply flicking your lower leg backward. If you’re not making contact, you need to improve your dynamic range of motion. Do two or four reps of 15 kicks with each leg.

Bounding:Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.59.17 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.

Lots going on here…but don’t let it overwhelm you. The bonus workout and running drills can be incorporated throughout the week when you have time but I wanted to get them out early so you can plan ahead to fit them in.

As always…never miss a Monday workout! Let’s get the week started right and make it a great day Challengers! 🙂