Day 13: No More Ab Neglect!

abs neglectedWe are runners. Runners love to run…duh… But ignoring ab work could mean more than slower running, it can also mean breathing issues which leads to more problems….like pain.

This was an interesting topic for me to look into today because while I knew that core work is important for us…I didn’t know how much our core work could affect our breathing patterns. And I didn’t realize how ineffective breathing could cause pain in other areas of our body while running.

We know the obvious…breathing properly helps us keep a stead pace and avoid side stitches…but did you know that:

“dysfunctional breathing patterns have the potential to wreck our bodies. Inhibition of respiratory stabilizers like the diaphragm, TVA, multifidus, obliques and the pelvic floor muscles will force your body to rely on other less efficient muscles to keep you alive and breathing. Most often respiratory dysfunction will drive compensatory facilitation upward and downward into the surrounding muscles of the shoulders and hips.”

The result is often pain/stiffness in at least 1 of 3 places:

1). Neck/Shoulders (Specifically the Scalenes, SCM and Pectoralis Minor)

2). SI Joint/Lumbar Spine

3). Anterior Hip

Interesting right? Did you know that inefficient breathing could lead to pain in your neck, shoulders, back, and hips? Read more about how our breathing affects other aspects of our body, how you can increase your breathing efficiency, and other exercises that will help you get back on track and avoid unnecessary  with this article by Movement as Medicine.  We are going to try one of them today…with “90/90 breathing” as our bonus exercise.

Day 13 exercises: “How to” videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Frog Sit ups – 3 sets of 10
  • Oblique Crunches – 3 sets of 10
  • Reverse Crunches – 3 sets of 10
  • Plank – :30-1 min (2X)
  • 50 Crunches
  • Ab Stretches – see below

Bonus: 90/90 Breathing 

90/90 breathing has been found to be extremely effective at re-establishing the zone of apposition in people who are chronically overextended and is frequently a first choice when treating clients with shoulder mobility and hip impingement issues. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Lie on the floor with your heels on a bench, couch or even a wall. If you use a wall, put your heels on the wall with your toes off. Pull your heels down toward the floor and lift your butt off the ground slightly.
  2. Your head should be flat on the ground. If this is uncomfortable, use a small pillow under your head. Take a deep breath through your nose, and then blow all of the air out of your mouth. Keep exhaling until there is absolutely no air left in your lungs. Pause for two seconds then breathe in. Repeat this five times.
  3. During this drill, you should exhale with enough force to you feel your abs working. Your exhale should last at least eight seconds, and the inhale should be three or four seconds.

Watch this video to see how it’s done and take your time breathing deeply to get the maximum impact. I struggle with my breathing and always have to make a point to focus on it while I’m running. I also have shoulder and neck pain which I know is also a result of tensing up while I’m running…maybe this will help! 🙂

Running Drills and Speed Work: Yesterday before my killer workout with the Runwell crew I got there early and did a warm up mile and the running drills. Let me tell you…I would not have been able to keep pace if I had neglected this warm up. The team with an Olympian coach as our leader set out fast at around a 9:20 for the first mile. For me…that is almost race pace…so warm up was key. I did a mile and a half at an 11 min mile then a few running drills to loosen up. Boy was I glad I did! If I hadn’t…I would’ve been seeing their backsides way in the distance…

Remember to warm up with a 1/2 to a full mile…take a few minutes to get in some running drills that we’ve been practicing…then set out on your speed work. Click here to find this week’s running drills and speed work. Don’t forget why we are doing the same routine as last week…IIP: Introduce, Improve, Perfect. Runwell Virtual Make it Count Medal

Virtual Race: If you haven’t had a chance yet…check out this month’s Make it Count  virtual race benefiting Runwell. The Runwell team is changing the lives of those suffering from addiction. Can you help make a difference and make your miles count? I already got my medal and it is really nice…the best virtual race medal I’ve gotten for running miles I would run either way…check it out.

Sometimes I like seeing who reads to the bottom to make sure they aren’t missing anything…so today I am throwing in an extra ab bonus. Knock it out then tag your post with #BrowniePoints to let me know you’re paying attention. 😉

Brownie Points: In and Outs (50X) – 2 ways to do them

Last but never least….take time to run through our 7 Key Stretches for Runners! When your relaxing at the end of your day…watching TV and reading or whatever it is you do to wind down…take a few minutes to stretch your muscles to keep them soft and pliable. Your body will thank you!

So…on the schedule for Wednesday, Day 13: Abs, Bonus – 90/90 breathing, running drills, speed work. Get to it and make it a great day Core Crew! 🙂

Ab Stretches:

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