Day 18: Weak Bums

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Our “weak bums” contribute to injuries….injuries that no runner wants to deal with.

Strengthening the muscles of the bum, hip, thigh, and leg are essential for a runner to maintain power and health!

Our hip muscles control the mechanics of our knees, so if we have weak hip abductor muscles and poor hip rotator muscle strength, our knees are at a higher risk of injury from patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome. We’ve already seen a few studies this month about how weak hips cause issues…but there’s more!

A recent study published for runners and referred to on RunnersConnect.com looked at the contributions of three muscles — the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the tensor fascia lata (TFL) — to hip motion hip strength exercises.

These three muscles are of interest because they have distinct and significant roles.

  • The gluteus medius is the main abductor and external rotator of the hip.
  • The gluteus maximus extends the hip and assists with abduction and external rotation.
  • The TFL is an abductor of the hip, but because of its positioning, it can also contribute to internal rotation

According to John Fairclough, who published an article specifically about IT Band Syndrome in the Journal of Science and Medicine, “a tense TFL (tensor fascia late), because it connects directly to the knee’s lateral side via the iliotibial band, may increase knee strain that could develop into or exacerbate injury.

His final thoughts…

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So what does all this mean for us? Well…Runners Connect and this Journal of Science and Medicine study suggest 5 exercises that are specific to runners and will help us strength our hips, and prevent and treat injuries.

  • clamshells
  • sidesteps with band
  • single-leg glute bridges
  • bent knee donkey kicks
  • straight leg donkey kicks

Great news for us since we have done ALL of these exercises this month! So for today, let’s do them again. Bonus exercises today: side steps with band, single leg glute bridge, and both variations of donkey kicks. Don’t worry it won’t take too long. These exercises transition easily into the next one.

Day 18 exercises: Hips – 3 sets of 10 

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

  • Brigid’s Runner Clams
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Reverse Clams
  • Forearm Plank – :60
  • Pigeon Pose

Bonus: 2-3 sets of 10

  • Side Step with band (If you don’t have a band it’s super cheap and would be a good investment!)
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Donkey Kicks (bent knee)
  • Donkey Kicks (straight leg)

See below for slide show with photos of these exercises as reminders.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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She Power Virtual Half Marathon & 5K: Remember that “She Power” virtual half marathon/5K we talked about a few weeks ago? Jan let me know that it’s on sale right now for $25.50 so it’s the perfect time to sign up!

The virtual race will be in January and you can run it anytime within the month. You can run it all at once, or in pieces, but I think we will try to pick a date that a lot of us can try to run it “virtually together.” I will start an event in Strong to the Core so we can chat more about the date that works best for everyone.

Let us know when you sign up! Here’s the link:  https://131events.com/she-power/


So what’s on your schedule this weekend? Who’s racing? I know Jamie Murray is running the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Saturday and he’s gonna KILL it! 🙂 Jamie, ca we track you?  Anyone else doing this race or other races? Full? Half? Any fun 5Ks?

What about long runs? Tell us what’s on your schedule so we can cheer you on!

Remember….distance makes the heart grow stronger! So figure out your plan and get ready to GO LONG Crew! 🙂

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Day 1: Back On Track!

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Good morning Crew! Ready to get back on track?

Kicking off the month with leg day…. We all know why we need to do more with our legs then just run…what more is there to say???

Let’s GETTT ITTT!! 🙂

Day 1 exercises: 2 sets of 10

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

  • Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrants
  • Weighted Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Plank – Your Choice (:30 2X)

Bonus: Weighted Hip Thrust – 

If you want to run faster, you’ve got to do more than just speedwork. We know the strength training is a critical. According to Jen Ator, fitness director of Women’s Health, “Lifting is a key component to building speed. The more power you can generate with each stride, the faster you can run. The stronger you are, the longer you can generate that power without fatiguing, meaning you’ll be able to maintain that pace.”

With that in mind…our bonus exercise today comes from Ator’s “Get Stronger To Run Faster” workout. We already do a lot of what she includes, but here’s one you may not have seen before. Great for the core, legs, glutes, and hips!

Weighted Hip Thrust: With a dumbbell resting in the crease of your hips, sit on the floor with the bottom of your shoulder blades touching a bench or couch or even a chair if it’s study and won’t hurt your back. Drive through your heels and thrust your hips up toward the ceiling while contracting your glutes. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat 8 to 10 times for 3 sets.

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Racery: Our virtual race through the Blue Ridge Parkway starts Friday 9/2 so there’s still plenty of time to jump in and join or start a new team. This is a FREE virtual race. All you have to do is run and log miles online for your team. Don’t worry if you’re not putting up high mileage, every runner counts! Here’s the link.

Oh one last thing…with long runs coming up fast…take a few minutes to go through our 7 Key Stretches for Runners after a good leg workout today. 🙂

Get to work Crew…LET”S DO THIS!

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Day 16: Fully Armed

Rise and Shine

Science has shown that the momentum of the arms is important for lifting the body upwards off the ground, and also for balancing out the body’s rotation with each stride. When the shoulder and arm muscles become fatigued, arm motion changes and this decreases the whole body’s running efficiency, translating into wasted energy and slower times.

Fatigue affects runners in different ways but there are some general trends which athletes show as their form begins to break down. This includes “dropping the arms,” where the athlete bends the elbows less, and “crossing over” when the athlete’s wrists come closer to the body’s midline. Runners also tend to swing their arms less as they tire.

Zach Sabatino, a member of the U.S. World Cross Country Championships team, said,

“As a long distance runner I believe that a strong upper body is crucial to running efficiently and fast. There is no need to be bulky, but we do need upper body strength. Even though we are running with our legs, the arms, back and chest do a lot of work.”

The next time you cross the finish line…throw your arms up in the air in victory! Show off those muscles…after all, they helped you get there faster! 🙂

Sticking with 3 sets of 10 this week…but we are adding some push ups. Let’s get to it!

Day 16 exercises: “How To” Videos

  • Lunge Stance Single Arm Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 10
  • Renegade Rows – 3 sets of 10
  • Arm Raises – Front and Side – 3 sets of 10
  • Plank – 1 minute (2X)
  • Side Planks – :30 each side (2X)
  • 35 Push Ups
  • Arm Stretches

 

Lean Arms PyramidBonus: #LeanArmsPyramid 

Thanks again to Alison Stewart for finding our arm bonus for today! If you don’t like it…blame Alison! 😉


Running Drills: Going through these running drills one at a time to make them easier to remember…add one in each week to help your form and get stronger!

Bounding

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.32.43 AMWhy: 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.

See how high she is off the ground? This motion will propel you high into the air….giving you power and stability. And it’s fun! This is one of those drills that will make you feel like a kid again. Try it! You can do these before your run as a dynamic warm up…or after your run to focus on form and power when you’re tired.


Speed Work: Ready for some new speed work? We did 200m sprints for 3 weeks in a row and it’s time to move on. But before you do…take a minute to look back at your 200m times. Did they get faster each week? Did they seem easier each week? I hope so!

Same concept…IIP – Introduce, Improve, Perfect. But this week we are combining 400m and 200m. We’ll do 4X 400m then 4X 200M. After the first set of 400s the 200s will seem easy. Run them at the same pace. Don’t feel the need to speed up for the 200s. You will be tired and it will be mentally challenging. Push through and it will be an awesome workout!

Workout:

  • 1 mile warm up (conversation pace)
  • 4X 400M
  • 4X 200M
  • 1 mile cool down
  • Total of 3.5 miles

400 meters is just shy of a 1/4 mile so if you’re not doing your speed work on a track (which is fine) think 1/4 mile repeats. That will make it easier to use your watch or other GPS device to track yourself. If you are on a track…400M is 1 lap around the track using the inside lane. Stick to that inside lane or you are adding a little distance to each lap.

Pace: Run these faster than 10K pace and closer to what you can do for 5K. This will feel slow early in the workout but will catch up with you.

Example: My 5K pace is around 8:52/mile and my 10K pace is around 9:13/mile so for these sprints I want to be somewhere in the middle of those times….roughly around a 9 min mile. Want to know what your pace should be? Reach out to me with your current 5K and 10K times and I will let you know how fast you should be running these sprints.

Purpose: This workout is ideal for high-end aerobic training and lactate tolerance. It pushes the envelope of the maximum pace you can hold for a 10K. This is a great workout to do with friends. Just be sure you keep focused on hitting the pace that is appropriate for you. That said, don’t be afraid to push each other. You have to challenge yourself to find out what you are capable of, so don’t let the pace drop throughout this workout. Consistency is the key.

Remember…speed work isn’t just for sprinters! Speed work is great for distance runners because it builds up your threshold and teaches your body to allow for more oxygen consumption. This will translate into the ability to breathe easier during those long runs…and yes…it will make going faster easier too.

Plan ahead to get your speed work in. There is no “right” day…it depends on your running schedule. It is important to give yourself rest days in between speed and long runs…so make sure your speed work is 3-4 days before your planned long run.


Racery: For those that need it….here is the link to our Great Wall race. 6 have finished and there’s plenty of time for everyone else to cross that finish line. If you are injured…go out and walk those miles!


Virtual Race: Did everyone finish their Virtual “Make it Count” for Runwell race this past weekend? If you forgot to post…let us know that you finished and show off that pretty medal you earned! Here is the link to our group event.

When it’s all said and done…remember to stretch! Throw in our 7 Key Stretches for Runners…or run through the Yoga for Runners. Take your time with them and get in a good stretch. Plop in front of the TV or put on some music and just relax. Our Key stretch and Yoga are both are a great ways to stretch out your aching muscles and avoid injury.

It’s Monday y’all…start strong and set the tone for the week. Make it great! 🙂

Mondays start strong

Day 6: Keep it Light but Keep Pushing!

slow progress better than no progress

Hey Crew! It’s 3am and I am getting ready to head out to meet up with some friends to run our Virtual Race and Make it Count for Runwell. 13.1 miles coming up in beautiful Jekyll Island, GA! Pics to come with bibs and medals. 🙂

It is leg day…but since we are so close to the weekend with lots of long training runs and races coming up…I want our Friday leg days to be light and easy. I still want you to take Friday’s seriously and work your legs…just no extras or bonus. We don’t want over tired, sore legs going into long, tough training runs or races.

Even though we are keeping it light and easy…we are still making progress and getting stronger. Remember that slow progress is better than no progress! Think clean eating and lots of stretching to get ready for the weekend!

Day 6 exercises:

  • Pistol Squats – 2 sets of 3 (each side)
  • Fire Hydrants and Donkey Kicks – 2 sets of 10
  • Squats – Your Choice – 2 sets of 10
  • Plank – 1 Minute (2X)
  • Side Planks – :30 (each side)
  • 20 Push Ups
  • Stretch!

How is everyone doing with the “No Extra Sugar” Challenge so far this month? So far,  I’ve had no extra sweets. I’ve skipped the chocolate, peanut butter ice cream that’s in my freezer and avoided foods high in sugar…what are you doing to cut out the extra sugar?

This should be a pretty quick workout today. If you want to run…go for it…but keep it short and keep it easy….then come home and stretch or go through our Yoga for Runners again.

See you all on the other side of 13.1 for Runwell! Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday! 🙂

Day 22: Last Step Up

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The final days of our April Challenge are before us and once again it’s time to step up our game.

4 sets of arms today…15 reps each and 100 crunches. Do not rush through this. Take your time…focus on using correct form and making each move strong.

Day 22 exercises: “How to” videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Bicep Curl + Overhead Press – 4 sets of 15
  • Front Arm Raise – 4 sets of 15
  • Side Arm Raise – 4 sets of 15
  • Plank – :30 – 1 min (2X)
  • 100 Crunches

No bonus again today since these 4 sets will take a little time and I don’t want you to rush through them. And no bonus means maybe you’ll have enough time for a short shake out run before this weekend’s long runs or races. If you are running today…think short and easy. Don’t push too hard before your long run! 30-45 min at conversation pace.

Do make time to stretch it out today too. Here are our 7 Key Stretches for Runners and our arm stretches are below.

Virtual Race: Still plenty of time to sign up for the Make It Count Virtual race. If you’d like to sign up and make your miles count for Runwell and those suffering from addiction, click here for more info.

Who racing this weekend? Who’s going long? Let us know so we can cheer you on!

When you’re done..don’t forget to post and let us all know you got it done with #StepItUp then make it a great Friday Core Crew! 🙂

Arm Stretches:

Day 19: Stay Inspired!

 

Stay inspiredAre you staying inspired? If not…what’s got you going in the wrong direction?

Think about what is holding you back…and why…then figure out what you need to do to change it.

Less than a week left in our “No Junk Food” Challenge. Are you holding strong and practicing moderation? Keep trusting in the process and giving it your best!

Day 19 exercises: “How to” videos

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • Tricep Overhead Extensions
  • Tricep Dips
  • Tricep Swings
  • Planks – :30-1 min (2X)
  • 75 Crunches
  • Arm Stretches – see below

Jello ArmsBonus: #JelloArms – 1 round is all you need to get those arms feeling like jello! 2 rounds anyone??

If you’re not sure about an exercise….let me know and I will post a how to video for it.


Running Drills: If you haven’t tried them you are missing out…here’s the 8 drills we have talked about so far: Butt kicks, high knees, bounding, grapevines, slow skipping, hamstring extensions, straight leg shuffle, running backwards. Last drill….fast feet.

Many times, poor times are due to slow, heavy feet. Improve your foot speed by working through the Fast Feet Drill two or three times during your warm-up. This is a drill that improves your running cadence by teaching your leg muscles (hamstrings most) to fire faster and feet to turnover quicker. A quick cadence is a shorter stride with minimum ground time. Efficient runners have short quick strides regardless of pace. Minimum ground time helps your running form by getting your feet up quickly under your butt which discourages over-striding and heel striking. Watch this video to see how to do it.


Speed Work: As the saying goes….If you want to run faster, you’ve got to run fast and Tuesday is a great day for speed work!

Not everyone “cares” about getting faster…but let’s face it…we are all proud when we shave a few minutes off our time in a race of any distance….or even a training run.

As more of you do this workout…I think others are starting to see that it’s doable and not as daunting as it seems. Each one of you who gives it a go and finds out they CAN do it is an inspiration to others who are still on the fence. Try it…then inspire others to try it too!

This is the 3rd week we are working on the same drill…1/4 mile repeats :30 faster than your current race pace. This mesocycle helps train our body to withstand similar training so yes…we are doing it again.

Remember… “IIP” – Introduce, Improve, Perfect. This cycle teaches our body and mind to adapt to a specific stress until it becomes less stressful.

  1. Week 1 – Introduce
  2. Week 2 – Improve
  3. Week 3 – Perfect

If this is your first week trying it…that’s ok. Jump in this week and give it a shot. Let’s go over the details again.

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 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.
  • 2:00 walking rest in between each one.

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. Round up or down to the nearest mile if you’re in between.

  • If you run a 14:00/mile, you should run quarter mile repeats in 3:00
  • 13:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:45
  • 12:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:30
  • 11:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:15
  • 10:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 2:00
  • 9:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 1:45
  • 8:00/mile – run the quarter mile repeats in 1:30
  • 7:00/mile – run the 1/4 mile repeats in 1:15

Cool-Down – 5:00-10:00 easy jog…you’ve earned it!

Can you run for these repeats without walking? YES YOU CAN! No matter how fast you are…every runner can do these drills. Remember that the breaks are meant to be REAL BREAKS. Take time in between each set to recover by taking deep breaths, drink some water, and getting ready for your next set.

When you’re done…don’t forget to stretch!

Runwell Virtual Make it Count Medal


Virtual Race: Love how many of you have signed up for this virtual race! It’s for a great cause…Runwell is helping those suffering from addiction learn to choose healthier alternatives like running! Ready to sign up? Here is the info.

Ready for an awesome Tuesday? Stay inspired, inspire others…and make it a great day Core Crew! 🙂

Arm Stretches: