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 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 10: Brutally Strong Hips

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We’ve talked a lot about the importance of strong hips and glutes. But it never hurts to hear it again…

Let’s review the November 4, 2016 post for those who haven’t heard this stuff yet, and for those who need a reminder…

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 when we’re walking, standing and running. Our glutes stabilize and align the hip, decelerate our swinging leg while running, and provide power in our footstrike and push-off.

When we are pounding pavement (or any other kind of terrain), our pelvic floor, quads, hamstrings, knees, calves, and feet are constantly under fire. Without strong hips and glutes, those essential lower extremities might just blow!

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 too 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 glutes and maintaining good form.

Ready to fire those glutes and keep building strong hips? Let’s get to work Crew!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant (3 sets of 10 for both legs)
  • Butt Lift Bridge
  • Clams (3 sets of 10 for both legs)
  • Plank – :60 (Your choice)

Bonus: Modern Mom’s Hip Strength! – Why not? Throw in the workout for a great 8 minute burn!

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 30
  • Push Ups Beginner – 8
  • Push Ups Advanced – 36
  • Squats – Rest

Speed WorkPick up on pickups – “Speed Play” 

Speed play is the simplest form of speed work. “We simply introduce pickups during a run,” says Bob Glover, who supervises training programs for the New York Road Runners Club.

Pickups are segments of faster-paced running injected into an existing run.

In this first step, runners on a favorite 3-mile course begin choosing landmarks and running to them at a quicker-than-normal pace.

“It might be the next street light, it might be the top of a hill,” says Glover. “We tell them to do six or eight of these during the run.”

Same loop, same scenery, just the occasional decision to run slightly faster for a while.

“This takes away the stress of going to a track,” says Glover, “because in the minds of many of these people, you don’t go to the track unless you’re good.”

FARTLEKS!!! Go out and choose small portions of your run to pick up speed. Have fun with it!


Weak or strong? What will you choose today?

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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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Days 8 – 11: Be Strong Crew!

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As much as I hate to leave you for 4 days…I am so excited for Ragnar Trail Alafia Springs! I might check in here and there but for the most part, you’ll be on your own through Saturday so please BE STRONG and push through this weekend.

Make us Ragnarians proud! 🙂 We’ll take TONS of photos for you…but I want to see TONS of action while we’re out on the trails!

Since I won’t have much internet access, I’m putting Days 8-11 in this post so you can refer back to it through Sunday. Here’s the lowdown…

  • Thursday: 10 Minutes Abs + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Friday: Modern Moms Hips and Butt + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Saturday: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + :60 Plank of your choice
  • Sunday: Plank (Your Choice – :60) + Rest OR 10 Minute Active Stretching

Remember that these days can switch up so if you need to go long on Friday or Sunday, move things around to make it work for you and your schedule.


Thursday: 10 Minutes Abs + :60 Plank of your choice

Our core is what holds up together when we’re running and a strong core will keep you upright and moving forward during long training runs and races. We are the #CoreCrew and talk a lot about core work…so it should be no surprise that Thursday is a great 10 minute ab workout!

If you’re feeling really good…double it up and make it a 20 minute workout! 🙂


Friday: Modern Mom Hips and Butt! 

This was such a great workout last month that I couldn’t let it go. So we’re doing it agin in December! Different moves from our Monday/Wednesday workout so even if you’re still feeling sore….you can still do this and it might even help stretch out those sore muscles a bit.

5 minutes per leg + one :60 Plank of your choice!


Saturday: Long Run + 7 Key Stretches for Runners + one :60 Plank

How long are you going this weekend? Any races planned? Let us know so we can cheer you on! Don’t forget to take 10 minutes after your run to knock out one :60 plank and STRETCH!

Most runners don’t stretch until after they are injured….taking a few minutes to do it now can ease aches and pains, help you feel less tight AND keep you from being sidelined and off the road.


Sunday: One :60 Plank + Rest OR 10 Minutes Active Stretching 

If you decide to do the :60 plank then take the day off…that’s totally fine. We all need rest days and in December when our lives are extra hectic there’s no shame in needing a day with no extra work. But if you have some time and love to feel limber, refreshed, and ready to go on Monday, check out this 10 minutes active stretching routine. I can’t wait to try it when I’m home from Ragnar on Sunday!

Another great activity for Sunday? Active Recovery! Notice a Sunday trend here? 😉

Active Recovery is a great way to shake out those legs after our long runs. Keep it short and slow. 30 minutes…at your easy “long run” pace. Your legs will thank you!

I won’t be chiming in as much this weekend but that doesn’t matter because I know you want to inspire each other. If you feel like skipping days this weekend…think about the rest of your Crew…maybe they’ll see you getting it done and decide not to give up!

Have a great weekend…be active and be strong! 🙂

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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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Day 30: Bust It Out!

Final Day! screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-4-31-36-pm

Get up, get moving, and bust it out Crew!

1 round of hips for each leg then for your bonus, do it again!

2 rounds. 5 minutes per leg. 1 :60 plank and pigeon pose.

20 minute workout.

Once you get it done, shout it out loud cause you just finished an awesome month of strong hip and ab work!

Day 30 exercises: Hips – Modern Mom – Strong Hips Video 

Follow along with the me and let’s finish the month strong!


Speed Work: The week isn’t over just yet…have you done your speed work? Here’s this week’s workout:

Workout: Gear Shifter

How to Do It: In this workout, alternate between your easy, medium, and fast paces. Warm up with three to five minutes of walking. Then ramp up to your easy pace (see below) and hold it for two to three minutes. Then shift into your medium pace and sustain it for one minute. Then shift into the fast pace for 30 seconds. Repeat the cycle two or three times. Walk for five minutes to cool down.

Use this guide to find each gear:

Easy: Conversational pace; a pace where you could chat with a friend running alongside you. This is a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it all day long if you had to.

Medium: This should be faster than your easy pace, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re speeding. You would prefer not to hold a full conversation, but if someone asked you a question, you could answer in two- or three-word sentences.

Fast: Quicker than your medium pace. In this gear you should be able to say one or two words but, if someone asked you a question, it would make you mad because you wouldn’t want to expend the energy to answer them. Don’t sprint all-out or push to the point of pain, or where you feel you’re going to pull something. You should feel like “I’m okay, I just don’t want to do this for very long.”


We’re not getting any downtime…December starts tomorrow!

But before we move on…take a moment to reflect on the month and how far you’ve come. How many days did you complete? Did you give it your all? Why not? What got in your way? What can you change in December to help you do a little more? To push a little harder?

A successful challenge month isn’t measured just by completing each day on time…it’s also about challenging yourself, doing a little more than you thought you could do, pushing your limits, and coming out stronger because you did.

Can you call November a success?

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Day 16: Super Happy Fun Time!

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-8-36-54-pmShort and sweet today y’all.

Heading to track while the moon is high then a field trip with Silas’ class to Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop! Busy busy day ahead but no excuses…I will get in my Super Happy Fun Time!

Hips, Jennifer’s Bonus “Super Happy Fun Time” and SPEED WORK!!!

Watch the 2nd video for today’s bonus and our October 30 Day Challenge Winner!

GETT ITT Crew!

Day 16 exercises: Hips – Follow video below

  • Side Leg Pulse
  • Side Bicycle
  • Leg Stir
  • Big Circle
  • Hot Potato
  • Back Butt Press
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose – :30 each side

Bonus: Jennifer’s Super Happy Fun Time and Squat Walk 🙂

  • 2 sets of 10 on each leg for both exercises

Check out the video below for the exercise Jennifer Stoner showed us last week and which happened to be the exercises my PT had me do on Monday. Good stuff y’all. If you don’t have a resistance band just do the exercises without it. You’ll still get a good burn!


Speed Work: 3-4 x mile repeats

Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work. I haven’t seen any mile repeats yet…did I miss them? Get that speed work done Crew!


Please congratulate last month’s challenge winner! She works hard every day and this medal is well deserved! Who will it be for November? We have a lot of people stepping up so it’ll be a tight race. Keep up the hard work.

Rise and Run Crew…then get you some Super Happy Fun Time! 🙂

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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! 🙂