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 27: Welcome to Wednesday!

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.22.35 PMYay for Wednesday!! Wednesday is by far my favorite day of the week this month. Well…I really like Saturday long runs too…but our Wednesday ab workout ROCKS!

TONS of activity yesterday! I LOVED it! Can you tell I’m excited at how many of you jumped back in and started towards a brand new ending? It makes me happy happy happy!! 🙂

Let’s keep this motivation rolling and bust out another awesome day today Crew! Ab day and miles on the road. FUN!!! 🙂

Day 27 exercises: 3 rounds of 10 

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

  • Standing Oblique Crunch
  • Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder Press Rotation
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Towel Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Plank – :60 (2X)

Bonus: #DailyAbs or RUN! Or both 😉 Daily abs

Got a little more in you for a few rounds of #DailyAbs today? I’ve been doing this everyday and dang, I can feel it working! Just a few rounds will fire up that core so push through it!

Feeling tight or have some pain somewhere? It happens… stretch out the soreness with our 7 Key Stretches for Runners or some Yoga for Runners. Either one is a great way to stay loose and shake out that soreness!

Still working on our August calendar and I’ve gotten some good stuff coming in but would love to see more! Thank you to Jan Peischel and Kacey Trapp for giving me some stuff you like…would love for others jump in and help me help you reach your goals!

Only a few PayPal notices trickling in. If you are due for August please click here and make sure you are set for our new month!

It would be helpful to know what you loved this month….pick a day you loved and tell me why you loved it.

Now get to work Crew…I want to see even more activity today! Don’t make me call you out next…. 😉

GETTTT ITTT Core Crew!

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Day 20: It’s Crunch Time

Lock and loadWe’re not doing tons of crunches…but with the month closing out quickly…be honest with yourself…how much time and effort have you put into getting that flat belly you want?

Lock and load Core Crew….It’s crunch time!

Keeping it short and sweet today…gotta get my workout in then go have some fun!

Keep those abs tight Crew! Think Flat Belly!

Day 20 exercises: 3 rounds of 10

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

  • Standing Oblique Crunch
  • Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder Press Rotation
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Towel Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Plank – Your Choice – :45 (2X)

Bonus: #DailyAbs Daily abs

You might be getting bored with this bonus…but it’s quick and easy to throw in a few rounds throughout the day. Do a round here and there to keep your abs top of mind and it might even help you stay away from the kitchen!

It’s crunch time for that flat belly Crew…ready, set go!

Day 24: Back to Legs & Booty!

booty dayHey Core Crew! How is everyone feeling today? I bet we’ve got some sore arms and abs after the killer workouts I’ve seen this week!

Loved seeing all the speed work yesterday! Y’all really rocked it out and left everything on the pavement…or treadmill. 🙂

Ready to get back to the most important strength exercises for runners? You guessed it…it’s leg and booty day!

Day 24: 4 sets of 15

  • Squats
  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Calf Raises (10X per each leg)
  • Plank – 1 min (3X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

You probably know how to do these properly but if you need a reminder here are the how to videos and of course if you’re running…PLEASE take time to go through the 7 Key Stretches for Runners!

stairs workoutBonus: #GotStairs? 

If you don’t have stairs this will be a tough bonus but a great workout if you can find some.

Glute Bridges are similar to the bridge we do on Ab Day except instead of holding the bridge up for a certain amount of time go up and down 20 times slowly. Tighten those glutes and feel the burn!

*Side Note – I’m not a fan of lunges for runners so if you skip them…I’m cool with that!

Running Drills and Speed Work: I’ve seen lots of running  this week on our way through the Appalachians…and some great speed work yesterday!  I have a feeling there’s more killer speed sessions coming today. Click here to find out this week’s track workout and the running drills to add in before you run…and after your warm up. These drills will loosen you up and get you ready for that speed work!

I’m not racing this weekend but I know a bunch of you are! Melissa is running her 2nd full at the Tamoka Marathon…Chris, Catherine, and Lisa are running the Tamoka Half Marathon…who else is racing? Let me know so I can be thinking about you this weekend!

Only a few days left in our March Challenge. Do you have a friend or family member you think will benefit from our group next month? Refer a friend and get April free..or if you paid for the month already…get your $$ back! New members are $10 for the month, $30 for the quarter, or $100 for the year. Core members will always be $5/month. Referrals are awesome so if you know someone who need the accountability and support…tell them about Strong to the Core! I’ll be sending out reminder to those who are due for April. If you’re ready to pay for April now…click here.

Legs/Booty, stairs, speed work, running drills…lots to do and so little time… Let’s get to it and make it a great Thursday Core Crew! 🙂

Day 17: Love Leg Day!

last squat repMy Favorite leg day!! Squats, Donkey Kicks & Fire Hydrants oh boy!

It’s time to knock out a killer leg day then rest up so we can tackle those races and long runs this weekend!

What’s on your schedule this weekend? Let me know so I can be thinking about you and cheer you on!

Day 17 exercises: 3 sets of 15

  • Squats
  • Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrant
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Calf Raises (1 set of 10 each leg)
  • Planks – 1 min (2X)
  • Side Planks – 1 min (1X each side)
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

How to videos here…stretching exercises at the bottom.

Bonus: #GetClammy

Basic clamBasic Clam: 10 – 15 times

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on your mat. Place a plump pillow or medicine ball between your knees and lengthen your spine. Exhale as you engage your inner thighs and squeeze the pillow. Inhale as you release the pressure without dropping the pillow. Do not allow your tailbone to lift up as you squeeze; keep your spine long so that your tailbone stays down, recommends Robinson. Perform 10 squeezes, noticing how it feels to keep your pelvis steady while engaging your inner thighs.

Open Clam: 10 – 15 each sideopen clam

Lie on your side with your spine aligned with the edge of your mat. Stack your legs one on top of the other, and tuck your knees forward about 45 degrees. Exhale as you lift the top knee up, keeping your feet stacked. Your legs should look like an open clamshell. Inhale as you close your legs. Keep your pelvis steady throughout the movement. Intensify this exercise by squeezing your buttocks three times in the open clamshell position.

Clam Squeeze: 10 -15 timesScreen Shot 2016-03-17 at 5.44.06 AM

Stay in the same position that you used for open clam and place the pillow between your knees. Keep your feet stacked as you slowly exhale and gently squeeze the pillow. Keep your spine long so that your back does not tuck or arch. Inhale as you release the pillow. To intensify this exercise, perform three tiny pulses when you are in the squeezed position.

Reverse clamReverse Clam: 10 – 15 each side

After performing clam squeeze, put the pillow aside. Keep your knees pressed gently together and rotate your top thigh inward to lift your shin and foot upward. Your clamshell is now opening to the rear. Exhale as you lift up; inhale as you close the clamshell. Repeat this movement without allowing your spine to tuck or arch. To intensify this exercise, add tiny pulses – about ½ inch — in the open clam position.

Running Drills and Speed Work: Have you added the high knees and grapevines in before you run this week? What about last weeks butt kicks and bounding? Have you thrown in some speedy fartleks while pounding the pavement (or treadmill)? If not…try them! These are fun drills that will give us strength, power, and speed! Click here for Monday’s post with all the info you need to do them properly.

When you’re hating me (in a good way 😉 ) remember that…

exercise makes you happy

Make it a great Thursday Core Crew! 🙂

Stretches:

 

Day 10: Be Smart…and Think Negative

Good morning Core Crew and welcome to Day 10! pass people

Race weekend is fast approaching for many of us so I wanted to talk a little about race strategy today. We’ve all done it…excitement and nerves high…the pulse of the crowd vibrating through you….the gun goes off and runners surge forward taking you right along with them.

You feel great…for a little bit…then realization sets in. You started out too fast and your fading….even faster.

It’s so hard to ignore everything going on around us and stick to our plan to go out at a comfortable pace. Depending on the length of your race…this is a make it or break it moment. Running a 5K, 10K or 15K? If you ignore the need to warm up…your plan better be a slow first mile warm up…and I do mean slow…conversation pace. I know I know…it’s race day…so if you don’t like that idea. Get out for a warm up mile and get this muscles limber and ready.

Running a half or full marathon? I don’t suggest adding more miles to your day…but that first mile should be your slowest mile of the race. Think about me being that little voice inside your head…because if you are racing this weekend….I’m gonna want see those splits! What will I say to yours….?

I can’t physically be with you on race day…but I can be that voice of reason telling you to be smart…and think negative splits! Be the one with the knowing smile as you pass all those runners who went out too hard in the first mile. 😉

If you are racing this weekend….I do not want to see running over the next 2-3 days! This means you Jose Javier Soto! And everyone else too…Ginny, Chad, Amiee, Chris, Diane, Melissa, Catherine, Lisa, Paula, Jennifer, Tiffany….and everyone else I’ve missed.

In fact, if you’ve put in some work this week and your legs are sore…I’m giving you a pass today. No leg workout! If you’re feeling good…throw in the legs but go easy and be safe. I want your legs fresh and ready for the big day!

So what do you do when you can’t workout? REST! Eat well, sleep a lot, drinks lots of water, stretch! I can’t wait to hear about all my awesome Challengers kicking some serious butt this weekend. Whatever your goal is…reach for the stars. There’s no better feeling then leaving everything you’ve got on the road on race day.

Not racing this weekend…Go Run! Time on legs remember?? Knock out Day 10 legs and go run for those of us who are forced to rest.


I always do a little research just to make sure I’m giving out good advice…and this is what I found today….According to Running.Competitor.com’s article “The 4 Best Strength Training Exercises for Runners”, 

“To become the best, most efficient runner you can be, just running isn’t going to be enough. Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner. Add these four running specific strength training exercises to your running routine and you’ll become a stronger, faster, more complete runner for it.”

And what are the best strength exercises for runners?

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Well this is good news…we do all of these exercises! Single Leg Squats…think Pistol Squat, we’ve done them before and I promise you’ll see it on the schedule again soon!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

  • Plank – :45
  • Squats
  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Calf Raises (1 set of 10 each leg)
  • Plank – :45
  • Side Planks – :45 each side
  • Calf Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

How to videos are available here if you need them and once again…stretches are below.

all cardio challenge

 

Bonus Workout: #AllCardioChallenge

Even if you’re not racing this weekend…you still have some LSD coming up this weekend so make sure to get plenty of rest, eat well, drinks lot of water….and make it a great day Core Crew! 🙂

 

pigeon-pose-yoga

Pigeon Pose


Kneeling-Quad-Stretch

Quad Stretch

 

 

March Challenge: Day 3 – Strong Legs

runners have the best legs

Runner have the best legs! But running alone won’t get us across the finish line faster. Strong, sexy runners legs take a little extra work but that translates into more power…and more speed on race day.

Runner’s World article “Get Strong Legs” says,

Multiple studies show that regular strength training can improve running economy-how efficiently the body uses oxygen-by as much as eight percent, translating into greater speed and more muscle endurance. And it makes sense for runners to focus on their most important body part. “Strong legs also mean more power on the hills,” says Bob Larsen, who coaches elite marathoner Meb Keflezighi.

Besides just gaining more power, strengthening our legs will also give us other benefits. You need to be strength training your lower body for 3 reasons:

  1. To condition the muscles and soft tissues of your lower body to effectively support the weight in your upper body.
  2. To balance the strength, endurance, size, and control of the upper and lower body.
  3. To prevent injury to your lower joints and extremities.

Runner’s World says we should focus on the following muscles groups: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, and calves. Great! We will work on all of those today. 🙂

Day 3 exercises: 3 sets of 10 for each exercise

  • Plank – :30
  • Squats – Add weight for more difficulty
  • Donkey Kick + Fire Hydrant – Do these simultaneously but make sure you watch your form on each rep to get the most out of both exercises
  • Single Leg Deadlifts – This is a slow precise exercise that will strengthen our hamstrings and help us learn how to stabilize on one leg. It also fires up up the entire posterior chain creating a phenomenal and strong rear end.
  • Calf Raises – 10 per side
  • Plank – :30
  • Side Plank – :30 each side
  • Calf Stretches – Hold a deep stretch to feel the calf muscle getting softer
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Quad Stretch

Looks like a lot…but it really won’t take long at all. If you’re not sure about how to do these exercises, please check out the “how to” videos and scroll towards the bottom for the leg exercises. Stretching instructions for today are below.

It’s getting closer to the weekend which means long runs are coming up so if you are running today….take it easy and slow. Conversation pace. Keep it short save energy for your long slow distance this weekend.

That’s all for today Challengers! Push yourself, feel those legs burn, and make it a great day! 🙂

Pigeon Pose: My favorite stretch! This feels fabulous! Watch here to see how to do it correctly.

Quad Stretch: Instead of standing to stretch your quads…kneel down and push your hips forward while holding your foot up. This will give you a better stretch and you will feel it higher in your quads as opposed to closer to your knee.

Kneeling-Quad-Stretch