Day 12: Magic Legs

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Everyone knows runners have the best legs! But we still have to work for them…

How do we build “magic legs” that will take us the distance? Strength work!

Let’s chat about some myths that maybe you’ve heard before…


MYTH: Runners don’t need to lift weights. To get stronger, run more.

TRUTH: Running–and the optimal balance of volume, intensity and pace-specific work–will always be the primary focus of a distance runner’s training program. And rightly so. Strength training, however, presents a different physiological stimulus, one that includes a host of distinct benefits that running doesn’t provide, but which are crucial to health and optimal performance.

Takeaway: Runners need strength training in addition to running!


MYTH: The key area to work on is the core; running works all other areas.

TRUTH: Research indicates that upper-body, lower-body and midsection strength training all contribute to improved running performance. You should do exercises that involve all of the major muscle groups. Rather than specifically strengthening an area that you assume is weak, you are better off developing strength in all muscle groups, which will create balance and synergy.

Takeaway: Our core is important, but we need to strengthen our upper and lower body too.


MYTH: Lift with quick movements to work power and improve speed.

TRUTH: It’s more effective to lift and lower the weight slowly. Take two to three seconds to lift the weight and at least four seconds to lower the weight. A mantra for the distance runner is, “To become fast, lift slowly.”

Takeaway: Lift slowly!


MYTH: Use light weights and don’t exhaust yourself when lifting for distance running.

TRUTH: Many runners assume that lifting heavy weights can predispose to injury, when in fact, fast movements that create high external forces on joints predispose to injury. Lift a weight heavy enough to exhaust you. Train to the point of momentary muscle fatigue. Focus on continuing each set of exercises until it is utterly impossible to complete another perfect rep. This ensures optimal muscle fiber involvement.

Takeaway: Don’t skimp on the weights. When you are ready to add more weight, do it. You want to continue to get stronger so when it becomes easy, you need heavier weights!


MYTH: Lift on your off or easy days to balance your hard-run efforts.

TRUTH: It is optimal to piggyback strength-training workouts with quality runs. This work complements the training effect of the running, then you fully recover from both on easy days.

Takeaway: Strength work and running the same day is a good idea!


Continuing to strengthen our arms, back, core, hips, glutes, and legs is the best way to build those magic legs (and arms, shoulders, back, core, and glutes) that will carry us through our long runs and races, help us get faster, and keep us safe from injuries. Let’s get to work!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

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

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges (both sides)
  • Wall sits – :60 3X
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Since our long runs and races are coming up fast (and I was super sore last weekend after last Thursday’s leg work) the only bonus today is to stretch those legs, glutes, and back. Take a few extra minutes to go through our 7 Key Stretches for runners and get ready to go long this weekend!

Want more leg work? Don’t worry….there’s more squats to do. 😉

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 30
  • Push Ups Beginner – 10
  • Push Ups Advances – 50
  • Squats – 40

Water Challenge: The no junk food challenge seemed to go well yesterday so let’s do another challenge today. It’s one that some people struggle with…drinking enough water.

This is another great way to get ready for our long runs because a lot of people don’t start hydrating in advance for long runs. Let’s start now by drinking LOTS of water today! How much should you drink? Check out the charts below and get that water bottle ready for the day.

For me, a 38 year old female weighing around 135 pounds, I should be drinking 9 – 8 oz cups of water or 72 oz each day. How much should you be drinking?

If you find yourself hungry, bored, stressed, or thirsty, grab your water bottle and start guzzling. Have a great day Crew!

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Day 22: Training Purgatory

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-13-15-amIf you’re in a warm weather climate like me, this is your peak racing season and you’re probably running a lot and generally trying to eat well.

But for others, as you move into the cold season and your races are over for a while, you might be in a bit of a funk.

What happens when you don’t have a race to train for, it’s getting harder to go outside in the cold, and you have the holidays looming with lots of yummy and fattening food ahead?

This is what it was like for Steve Gosner, Physical Therapist, sub 3 hour marathoner and 2 time Iron Man. He calls it “training purgatory”, when a slight “thickening” around his waist and a “sure, why not?” attitude towards desert (beer) and a second helping at dinner are the norm.

A RunSmartOnline.com article called, Training Between Races, emphasizes this “whatever” period as a time to go easy on yourself, take the 2nd helping, and adopt a “zero pressure running” attitude.

This doesn’t mean you should be gluttonous, skip your strength work, and avoid lacing up your running shoes. Hopefully, being in the Core Crew and watching others continue to train gives you some motivation to keep being active, but according to RunSmartOnline, there are ways to maintain your fitness while still giving yourself a chance to rest, recoup, and be ready when your training starts up again.

Here are a few ideas they suggest:

1. Zero Expectation Running

Whether you’re last training cycle was a huge success or a bust, it’s important to reconnect with running. Let’s face it. It’s not uncommon for our running to feel like a chore when we’re training. We rush to fit it all in, juggling a handful of other tasks and schedule.

During your training purgatory go out and run just to run. Set zero expectations of time, distance, and pace. Go out and simply come back when you’re ready. To me, these are the best runs.

2. Keep It Slow

Unless you’re squeezing in a few short races before training officially begins, avoid working too hard. Wouldn’t it suck to stir up an injury before your training cycle begins? Who wants to get off to a rocky start? Not me and I’m guessing not you.

Find a pace between your easy and base building pace. The sweet spot hovers around a pace that you’re breathing is easy and you can chat freely without gasping for oxygen.

3. Prep for Training

As most runners begin training for their spring races it’s important to avoid a complete shut down. Doing so will not only will it zap your current level of fitness, but it could weaken your tolerance to injury when you start training again.

Keep up with your running, but keep it slow and with no pressure added. Prepare for the time when training will start again with strength exercises. Take the 2nd helping, but don’t overdo it, and avoid late night snacking and too much overindulgence.

What are some other ways you help keep yourself in check? How about signing up for your next race? Signing up for a race, even one that is a little far out, could help keep you mentally prepare to keep up your fitness! If your race season is too far in the future to keep you excited, find a race in Florida and come visit! 🙂

In the meantime, strength work is top priority to be ready and stay injury free. It’s ab day…the perfect way to combat that 2nd helping!

Day 22 exercises: Abs – 3 sets (:30 per exercise) 

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch (left side)
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch (right side)
  • Side Plank (:30 each side)

Bonus: Daily Abs (3 rounds) + No Junk Food Challenge + Water Challenge

The no junk food challenge usually lasts 21 days, but we’re just making the commitment for one day and since it’s Tuesday, we are also going to drink lots of water! Who’s in?

 


Speed Work: This week’s speed work out is one of my favorites because it’s a great workout and still hurts, but is doable for everyone.

Workout: 4-6X 800M (1/2 mile repeats) 

  1. Warm up – 1-1.5 miles (slow)
  2. 4-6x 800M – 1/2 mile repeats with :90 rest in between sets
  3. Cool down – 1-1.5 miles (slow)

Total of 3-6 miles depending on your distance level. If you’re in “training purgatory” the lower level of 3 miles is a great way to work up a sweat and keep your speed in tact. If you’re in peak training and have a race coming up, go for the longer distance and bust out 6 miles with 3 miles of speed work!


Once again, we are coming up on the end of the month. November 22nd means it’s time to plan for December and I want to hear your ideas for next month’s strength work. ALL ideas welcome! Video yourself doing your favorite strength exercises, or just let me know what you want to work on. Don’t be shy! Reach out to me and post in Strong to the Core, or private message me here. If we aren’t “friends” on Facebook, please friend me because I love to get to know you better by seeing your everyday life. 🙂

Whether your in peak training season, or in “training purgatory” let our Core Crew help keep you active. Stay involved, post what you’re up too, and when you get your exercises done. Posting helps keep you motivated and means we can cheer you on!

No matter what keeps you going….get moving and be active Crew! 🙂

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Day 15: Drink More Water

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Good morning Crew! Time to work those abs and what better way to kick off our Tuesday then another water challenge!

Are you getting enough water? Maybe you should have a glass right now!

We all know that drinking lots of water helps keep runners hydrated but do you really know how important it is for our body and our performance?

Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington D.C.-based nutritionist and ultra marathoner said, “The importance of hydration cannot be overstated, and for most busy runners, it can be hard to remember that water bottle.”

With busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to remember to drink enough water. Like anything else, it takes a while to form a habit. But getting this part of our training in check could mean a world of difference on the road.

Check out this study by the University of North Alabama for the  American College of Sports Medicine,

Researchers rounded up 13 distance runners and had them run a 75-minute evening run, followed by a 10K time trial the next morning on two separate occasions. They monitored sweat loss, hydration and 10K performance in both instances. The difference between these two evening/morning runs was how much the runners drank. After one of the evening runs, they rehydrated 75 percent of their sweat loss, which is typical of what many runners do. After the other evening run, they rehydrated 150 percent of their sweat loss, which is what the American College of Sports Medicine suggests.

The difference in 10K performance the following morning during both experiments was striking. When runners replenished 150 percent of their sweat loss, their 10K times were on average over a minute faster, which was a three percent improvement over running at the 75 percent hydration state. Put into other terms, that could be the difference between a 4:00 and 3:52 marathon.

That’s an EIGHT minute marathon difference, just from being hydrated!

Here’s a few more tips on the benefits of drink water and ways to help you drink more!

Confused about how much water you should be drinking each day? Here’s a great chart showing us a good water consumption for us AND our children. Yes…kids need to drink more water too!

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Todays’ extra credit challenge: DRINK MORE WATER!

Who will take this water challenge an extra step today and get their kids in the mix? Talk to them about why water is important and take a pic of you all enjoying a glass of water for the Crew. 🙂

Day 15 exercises: Abs – 3 rounds – :30 each exercise

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

  • Roll Up
  • Pilates Scissors
  • Bird Dog Crunch – right side
  • Boat Pose
  • Bird Dog Crunch – left side
  • Side Plank – :30 each side

Bonus: The Hollow Rock 

Well known in the CrossFit world and a perfect core exercise for runners, this exercise is easier said than done. Lying on your back with your arms raised up behind your head, begin rocking by lifting your feet and legs up and then simultaneously lifting your upper body and arms. Your body should move like a rocking chair, while engaging the abs throughout the movement.

Watch the tutorial video below for how to do it and ways to modify the move for anyone who’s never done it before.


Speed Work: Have a plan to get your speed work in this week? Without a plan, it’s easy to let it slip by! Click here and scroll down for this week’s speed work.


Ready to take your abs to the next level? Bust out today’s 3 rounds + the bonus + the extra credit water challenge and don’t forget to get your kids involved too! Remember, everyone benefits from drink water but runners need even more!

Have a terrific Tuesday Crew!

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Day 1: Let’s Get This Party Started Right!

Let's get this party startedReady to get this party started right? I could waste time spouting off a bunch of inspirational stuff…or I could just say…

GET UP AND LET”S GETTTT ITTT!!!! 🙂

Day 1 exercises: Arms – 2 sets of 10

  • Reverse Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Kettle Ball Squat + Overhead Press
  • Air Punches – :30
  • Burpees
  • Plank – :30 (2X)

If you haven’t done it yet…check out our “how to arms” videos page to see how to do each of these exercises correctly! Make modifications when needed but don’t sell yourself short. You are strong and you can do this!

Yes..2 sets of 10 burpees….and yes we are doing them 5 days a week this month. Break them into sets of 5 if you need to and click here for a reminder on how to do the perfect burpee.

Bonus: #CountUpCountDownWorkout Count Up Count Down Workout

Looking to do a little extra work before the holiday debauchery begins? Try this Count Up Count Down Workout!

It’s quick, will fire up your metabolism, and get you headed the right direction for our long weekend!

All these exercises should be familiar but here’s a reminder of what the bird dog should look like.

Bird Dog exercise


Remember to think about your water intake, decide on a daily glass commitment, and make yourself accountable by including your goal in today’s post. Download the MyFitnessPal or Waterlogged app and team up with with other Core Crew members by adding them as friends so you can keep track and cheer each other on!

Before this weekend’s long runs…don’t forget to take time to stretch and get ready for the road. Our muscles need to be limber and relaxed to avoid injuries so don’t skip this important part of your training. Here are our 7 Key Stretches for Runners.

There is no day dedicated to rest or yoga this month, but I will continue to talk about it ALL the time…don’t get annoyed…just get to stretching and get to relaxing your mind and your body. Click here for Yoga for Runners. You can throw this is any day of the week and I would love to see Yogi Runners coming out this month!

No more time to waste…get to work Core Crew and make it a fabulous Friday! 🙂

Have a fabulous Friday