July – Day 17: Hips, Glutes & Hills!

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We all know the importance of strong hips and glutes….if you’re new or have been ignoring these areas and wondering why your hips or knees ache, then it’s time to join the glute camp and build strength in these areas!

Hip and glute specific exercises are great and will help us avoid injuries and run stronger, but did you know that hill workouts are also a great way to build strength in these areas while we do what we love most…run!

Running hills is the perfect compliment to our strength routines, but please don’t think that if you do hill workouts you can skip your exercises. Yes, we still need to do both, that’s why hill running is complimentary not in replace of… moving on! 🙂

As promised, since Monday’s workout was longer, our Tuesday workout is shorter this week at only 10 minutes. But if you have a few extra minutes, the bonus is awesome and one I have been doing everyday! Don’t forget your wall sit and plank and you’re done!

Day 17 exercises:

  • Fitness Blender Glute and Thigh Routine – 10 min
  • Wall Sit – :60
  • Plank – :60
  • Bonus – Clam Video Workout – 2.5 min per leg

Fitness Blender Glute and Thigh Routine:

Bonus – Clam Video Workout: I am loving this short routine and I hope you will try it. Save it and throw it in whenever you have a few extra minutes or you’re just laying around watching TV. I’ve been loving this after a tough workout too because I feel like it gives me a good stretch and loosens me up too.

Speed Work or Strength?

Y’all know I’ve been listening to the Strength Runner podcast with Jason Fitzgerald and he has a short episode that I listened to recently that cover the importance of hill workouts, when these workouts should be done and who should run these types of workouts.

Spoiler alter — the “who” is EVERYONE! Every runner stands to benefit from the power, speed, and strength gained from structured hill workouts. (That means me too so I need to find hills more often or bite the bullet and get on my treadmill!)

“Hill workouts are the unsung hero of speed work. Any runner can do them – and every runner will benefit.” – Jason Fitzgerald

Hill workouts are hard and unpleasant. They challenge your endurance, speed, and strength. There’s no other workout like running hills and that’s just why they’re so valuable.

Running uphill (against gravity) stresses your body in a unique way that you can’t mimic on flat land. That stress results in some fantastic adaptations and benefits:

  • There’s less impact running uphill so it’s easier on your joints and connective tissues
  • Hills “force” you to run with better form, reinforcing a more efficient stride
  • Running up steep grades builds power more safely than running fast on flat terrain
  • Hills provide the most specific strength work runners could ask for
  • Hill workouts build strength, speed, endurance, VO2 Max, and every other metric runners care about!

Speed Work Options: This week we have some options. I live in flat Florida so the only way to get in hill work is to run bridges or get on the treadmill. If your situation is similar and you can’t get to a hill to get in this wokrout, then do the same tempo workout we did last week and plan ahead to try one of these hill workouts next week. I plan on doing the long rep hill workout on Tuesday and the 25 minute tempo workout on Wednesday. You can do both of these workouts close together since the long hill workout is not at top speed but instead just helping you build an aerobic base. Just make sure you roll and stretch in between these workouts and that you feel good going into the next day before you attempt the tempo again.

If you nailed the tempo workout last week and you feel good about it, stretch out the middle tempo portion and make it a 25 minute tempo instead of a 20 minute tempo. See the 20 minute workout laid out in my Garmin screen shot below.

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Option #2: If you have a good hill to run close by or a treadmill you can use then try one of the hill workouts below. Decide which workout to do based on where you are in your training cycle. If you are working towards a fall race, you are in the beginning of your training cycle and you should do the Long Hill workout (workout #2). This workout is good for building your endurance base and increasing strength.

If you have a race coming up and you want to build some power and speed that will translate into better performance sooner, then do the Short Reps workout (workout #1).

Hill Workout #1: Short Reps

Short hill repetitions are the traditional workout that most of us think of when we envision a hill workout. They’re usually 60-90 seconds in length with a jog down recovery (you turn around at the end of the rep and run easy down to the bottom before turning around to start again) done at about 3k-10k pace on a 4-7% grade hill. In other words, they’re short and fast!

These are classic VO2 Max workouts which help the body increase its ability to deliver and process oxygen to hard-working muscles. There’s also a significant strength aspect, making this a great workout for those who struggle with injuries.

Here are a couple examples of short rep hill workouts:

  • 10 x 90sec hills at 5k Pace
  • 8 x 60sec hills at 3k Pace

An example of how to set up this workout on your Garmin

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Hill Workout #2: Long Reps

These types of hill workouts can be used for a variety of reasons:

  1. Early strength-building during the base phase of training
  2. A type of tempo workout (if the pace is kept under control)
  3. A replacement for shorter hill reps if an easier day is needed

Since a slower, but longer hill workout like this is more aerobic, it’s best used in the earlier phases of training. An example of this workout is running:

  •  5 x 3 min hills @ half marathon pace with a jog down recovery. It will be tempting to run down hill to fast especially after a minute or so of cooling down but keep it super easy. If you’re speeding back up slow to a walk so you bring your heart rate down before you turn around and go back up!

An example of how to set up this workout on your Garmin

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As you can see, the long hill workout is at an easier pace, while the short rep workout is half the time but at a much harder effort. “How” you do these workouts and “when” you do these workouts is key to seeing the results you want on race day so read through the options again and think about which one is best for you depending on where you are in your training. Don’t have a race your working towards? Do the long hill workout and focus on improving your base endurance.

If you don’t have a Garmin or maybe just aren’t into tracking everything, you can do these workouts without the data or alerts, just do a 1-2 mile warm up then set up a run/walk interval timer for each segment. Remember to keep your recovery walk or jog nice and easy to bring your heart rate back down and be ready to go back up again!

Tuesday “to do” list:

  • Fitness Blender Glute and Hips Workout
  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Bonus – Clam Video Workout
  • Plan your speed work – when will you do it and which workout will you do. Plan to have enough time to get through the workout while taking the appropriate rest intervals If you are short on time, rushing and do not take the enough rest you are not getting the same benefits from these workouts.
  • Plank a hill workout for later in the week or next week if you’re not able to get it in this week

We’ve all got goals. They might be running goals or more general fitness goals. No matter what our goals are, it’s little thing we do that get us closer to reaching them. Those little extra strength exercises. throwing in a tough hill or speed work out, planning ahead to ensure you have enough sleep, are well hydrated and have the proper nutrition, all these little things help us get closer. Scary to go after something you want when it isn’t the easy road…scary but exciting! Let’s go out and crush some goals Crew!

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Days 14 & 15: Aim for the 11th Mile

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When we head out for out for our long run with a certain distance in mind, our brain only considers that distance so as we get closer we start to get tired…mentally and physically. So what would happen if we train our brain to think past where we need to go? What if we aim for more?

If you have 10 miles on your schedule for this weekend, but you tell your brain that you’re going 11, then when mile 10 comes you’re still mentally prepared for 11 but you’re actually done! A little brain trick that can make a big difference.

Think about it…if you’re prepared to go 10 miles, then mid run your coach says you have to do 11, that 1 extra mile seems so far… It’s only one more mile and your legs can handle it but your brain says no.

Try it. Trick your brain into being ready for more. Then stop when you hit your goal and see if it makes a difference. I think you’ll be surprised!

Don’t forget your your warm up drills and post run self love!

Day 14 exercises: Long Run

  • Pre-run Warm up – Hip Hurdles, Leg Swings & Lunge Matrix
  • Long Run
  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Legs up the Wall (5-15 minutes)
  • Roll
  • Stretch! – 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Day 15 exercises: Active Recovery

  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Active Recovery – Short run, walk, bike ride, swim, playing outside with the kids
  • Yoga for Runners – links below
  1. Yoga for Runners – “Unknot Yourself”
  2. Yoga for Runners – “Tight Hips & Legs”
  3. Yoga Poses for Runners

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July – Day 10: Back to Basics + a Bonus Burner!

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We’re not dancers attempting the grande jete or a pirouette, but we can apply the the same principles. Let’s face it, they might not be fun but the “basics” are a tried and true way to get stronger in the most specific way runners need the most.

Today’s workout is back to the basics with a simple, effective full body strength routine specific to a runner’s needs.

What are the best strength exercises for runners?

According to Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:39 marathoner, USATF-certified coach, and author of the #1 selling running book on Amazon Running for Health & Happiness, the best strength exercises for runners have two characteristics:

  • They prevent injuries by focusing on the specific needs of runners (hip and glute strength)
  • They are compound, multi-joint movements like squats (the machines in the gym do NOT count)

Here is a list of the best strength exercises for runners:

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push-up
  • Plank

Notice anything about these exercises? They’re simple, basic movements that all runners should be able to do. We can do squats and push ups by ourselves, but it’s easier to follow along with someone else and push through the workout together. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today! When you’re done with the basics, give yourself another 10 minutes to make that booty burn! Just a little extra hip and glute work. You got this!

Day 10 exercises:

  • Follow Along Running Strength Workout
  • Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60
  • Bonus – Donkey Kick Workout

Follow Along Running Strength Workout

Bonus: Donkey Kick Workout – You read it…the most important area for runners to build strength in is our hips and glutes. Today’s workout had some of this, but we can always do a little bit more. If you have the time today, this 10 minute donkey kick workout is a great way to fire up those glutes just a little bit more!


Speed Work: Tempo Run

After a few tough weeks of speed work ladders, we’re switching it up and again, going back to the basics with a simple tempo run. Even though it is simple, a lot of people get confused when talking about tempo runs. In fact, the term gets thrown around a lot and the way it’s used most of the time is incorrect.

The term “tempo run” was popularized by Jack Daniels, Ph.D., about a decade ago. Daniels defined a tempo run as: “A tempo run is nothing more than 20 minutes of steady running at threshold pace.” Without getting too technical, threshold pace is the effort level just below which the body’s ability to clear lactate, a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism, can no longer keep up with lactate production. Daniels states that this pace is, for most people, about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than current 5K race pace.

The “tempo run” does not include your warm up and cool down. Tempo is the 20 minutes inside the run where you hold that steady pace (:25 – :30 slower than current 5K pace). So if someone says they did a 3 miles tempo run, and their entire run was 3 miles then they did not do a tempo run. They might’ve had some great negative splits, or an even steady pace for 3 miles, but it is not a tempo run.

Here’s the workout:

  1. Easy warm up for 1-2 miles (don’t skimp on your warm up. Remember you have 20 minutes at tempo pace coming up)
  2. 3-4x Strides (If you’re still not sure about strides or missed last weeks posts about them, let me know and I will tag you in the videos)
  3. 20 minute tempo run @ :25 – :30 slower than your current 5K race pace or :10 faster than goal marathon pace. The goal here is to keep the 20 minutes very steady and consistent. You don’t want the first mile 20 or 30 seconds faster or slower than your 2nd or 3rd mile.
  4. Easy cool down for 1-2 miles

If you are a run/walker (like me) this is the day to let go of the walk breaks and just run. 20 minutes….you can do this! If you need to back off the pace to get in the full 20 minute workout, back off just a little bit. But challenge yourself…don’t give in too easily to backing off.

Remember, the one real requirement of tempo running is that you stick to a steady, specific, planned pace.

Another reminder, if you are running less than 20-25 miles a week, this is your one chance to go faster than your easy pace so have fun with it and give it your all!

Questions? Please ask!

Back to basics today Crew. Don’t make it harder then it needs to be. Make a plan to get it done then knock it out and have a great Tuesday!

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July – Day 9: Agility Meets Stability

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Our machine has to be stable and agile if it’s going to run long and strong.

Strength and stability go hand is hand so our consistent strength work helps us build stability in our core which includes our entire abdominal region and our hips and glutes.

Agility is our body’s ability to be quick, graceful, and nimble. It is how effectively and efficiently we can move, change direction and the position of our body while maintaining control.

When agility meets stability we improve more than just out athletic performance, we also move better day-to-day. This can keep us from rolling an ankle or tweaking our back from a silly jolt or quick movement. A small amount of stability and agility training will make a big difference in our balance and strength!

Not convinced yet? Here are 5 reasons why taking the time to build stability and agility is so important.

  1. Injury Prevention – Many injuries happen when the body falls out of alignment in motion. Think of pulling the muscles in your lower back if you lift from an improper position, or tearing the ligaments in your knee if you misstep. Agility training increases balance, control and flexibility, allowing the body to maintain proper posture and alignment. This helps keep sensitive areas like our shoulders, lower back and knees protected while we are moving quickly.
  2. The Mind-Body Connection – Stability and agility training helps build pathways in the brain for fast responses to various stimuli. At first, the movements will seem forced, but as we practice more, they become more natural to us.
  3. Improved Balance and Coordination – Ever watched a gymnast on a balance beam? Her movements are dynamic, fluid and perfectly balanced. Agility and stability training encourages the body to develop balance in the midst of dynamic movement, much like the gymnast on the beam. Practicing quick starts and stops, hand-eye coordination and speed help the body work smoothly as a whole which makes our movements more fluid!
  4. Improved Recovery Time – Sometimes an intense workout can leave us with sore muscles and decreased energy levels the next couple days. But the busts of movement involved in stability and agility training helps us build strength in our musculoskeletal system, which can shorten recovery time.
  5. Increased Results in Minimal Time – Often agility and stability drills are HIIT (High Intensity Training) type of workouts. These types of workouts can produce noticeable results in a minimal amount of time. The non-linear movements engage a greater number of muscles then when we are running in a straight line. Engaging more muscles translates into better results!

It doesn’t take long and as promised, today’s workout is only around 14 minutes. With so many benefits coming from such a short amount of work, why would you make excuses?

You won’t…cause this is No Stats and No Excuses July…work your way through this stamina, stability and agility workout and let’s build on our ability to move smoothly!

Day 9 exercises:

  • Fitness Blender Sports Endurance Workout – Stamina, Stability and Agility
  • Plank & Wall Sit – :60 each (minimum)

Bonus: Clam Workout Video (2.5 minute per leg) – Adding this workout helps us build strength in our hips and glutes but we also get the added bonus of a good stretch. I’ve noticed that when I do this workout, I feel looser then before I did it!

Fitness Blender Sports Endurance Workout – Stamina, Stability and Agility

Clam Workout Video

Just a quick reminder (not that any of us can forget) but…

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July – Days 7 & 8: The Long Run

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There are many benefits that come with a having consistent long run in our training arsenal. Most runners would like to be faster, especially at the shorter distances. The speed we need is built upon a solid foundation of endurance so our speed won’t be fully realized until we conquer the long run. For that reason, getting in a longer run consistently (every week) is one of the most effective training strategies for getting faster!

But what exactly is a “long run?”

A long run is the longest run of the week. For some runners, that might be 3-5 miles. For others, it might be 15+ miles. It depends on your goals, your fitness level and your willingness to surrender a chunk of time to running.

No matter what type of runner (newbie, mid range distance, marathoner, trail runner, or veteran with a long history of miles logged), the long run is still a staple workout.

You shouldn’t be surprised that I think every runner should get in a long run almost every week. Some long runs are shorter than others. We don’t have to run double digits every weekend to get in our long run. Consider running for time rather than miles on the weekend. So if you run for 30-45 a couple times a week, your long run can be 60-70 minutes. If you for an hour a couple times a week, go for 90 minutes on Saturday or Sunday.

So what are these numerous benefits to running long?

  1. Create denser capillary networks – With more capillaries surrounding your hard-working muscles, your body can deliver more oxygen and work harder.
  2. Build resiliency and mental toughness – Particularly for long races of half marathon or beyond, the long run is the most specific mental preparation you’ll get before the race. Psychological fatigue is real!
  3. Improve mechanics – The long run helps us make our running form more efficient. Muscles learn through practice and your stride will improve through consistent long runs.
  4. Increase the efficiency of fuel – LR’s teach the body to use a higher percentage of fat as fuel rather than stored glycogen, while also teaching the body to store more glycogen
  5. Build stronger muscles. Running for prolonged periods increases the strength of the leg muscles and connective tissues, but also those of the respiratory system.
  6. Makes us faster! – With more endurance you’ll be able to hold a certain pace for a longer period of time.

Distance runners should view the long run as an important part of our training plan. But no matter if you’re training for a fast 1 mile race, or an ultra marathon, your long run should be on your calendar every week.

Consider this, Nick Willis, a world class miler and Olympic medalist in the 1500 meters (.93 mile) averages about 20 miles for his long run each week. Recently he said,

“My best piece of coaching advice… is to get your long run in every week. People are always trying to challenge that and come up with new ideas but I’ve always felt I needed to stick to this tradition.

It has carried me through even when I have been doubtful about some other training mechanisms I’ve had. The long run has proved the tried and trusted piece of the puzzle.”

It’s the weekend and for most of us, that means it’s time for long runs! Are you ready to lace up and get moving? Do you have a plan and maybe some friends to run with? Or maybe you’re racing like Amanda King at her favorite half in Michigan? Go Amanda! Tell us your plans so we can cheer you on!

Remember this schedule is just a guideline on some best practices but the days can move around to fit in with your schedule and family life. If you run long on Sunday then just make sure you do some active recovery on Monday.

Day 7 exercises: Long Run

  • Pre-run Warm up – Hip Hurdles, Leg Swings & Lunge Matrix
  • Long Run
  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Legs up the Wall (5-15 minutes)
  • Roll
  • Stretch! – 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Day 8 exercises: Active Recovery

  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Active Recovery – Short run, walk, bike ride, swim, playing outside with the kids
  • Yoga for Runners – links below
  1. Yoga for Runners – “Unknot Yourself”
  2. Yoga for Runners – “Tight Hips & Legs”
  3. Yoga Poses for Runners

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June – Day 6: No Crunches!

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Who actually likes doing crunches? They’re so tedious and not fun at all. Instead of a bunch of crunches, today’s standing ab routine works out entire core while never having to lay down and do a single crunch!

Doing the same exercises over and over isn’t the best way to make progress so doing a bunch of daily crunches isn’t the way to go. Our body gets used to exercises and becomes more efficient at them so their usefulness wears off. Instead, we should do a variety of exercises that target our rectus abdominis, our obliques and our transverse abdominis.

We also need to remember that while flat abs look good it’s not the only reason we work our core. A strong core supports our spine and helps us have good posture which leads to stronger running, less pain in our backs and overall better health and stability.

Today’s workout might not seem that tough but you will feel it in your core so let’s get to work!

 

Day 6 exercises:

  • Fitness Blender – Crunches Abs Workout
  • Plank :60
  • Wall Sit :60

Bonus: Round 2 – Do this crunches ab workout a 2nd time through for a killer core burn!

When you are done make sure you are planning for your long runs and with planning comes hydration, rolling & stretching, meal preparation and getting some rest!

Happy Friday Crew!

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June – Day 3: Ready to Feel the Burn?

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When we run, our glutes hold our pelvis level and steady, extend our hip, propel us forward, and keep our legs, pelvis, and torso aligned. So when our glutes are weak, our entire kinetic chain, from our core down to our feet, gets disrupted.

Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner’s knee, and IT Band syndrome. Many injured runners who seek physical therapy have worked hard on their core, which is important, but they’ve ignored this important area so they have weak glutes and hips.

Part of the problem is that our glutes aren’t as active as our other running muscles during routine activities, which can make our hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves disproportionately stronger. Tight muscles, especially the hip flexors, can prevent our glute muscle fibers from firing correctly when we need them too.

Today’s workout is going to target our glutes and our hamstrings. We’ve done this one before and while I like giving you new routines to try, this one is so good, we need to do it more often! It’s a little longer than most of our workouts, which is typical for Tuesdays, but you can handle it. It won’t be easy, but you will benefit greatly from thus routine!

Day 3 exercises:

  • Fitness Blender – Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout
  • Plank & Wall Sit – :60 each

Fitness Blender – Brutal Butt and & Thigh Workout:


Bonus: Five Minute Moving Plank – Thank you for the inspiration to put this one back in today Wendy! This moving plank means just that…we are moving from move to move. The break will make it easier to go longer so don’t give up. Get through each interval then move into the next position.

five-minute-plank


Speed Work: Ladder Week #3 – If you’ve been doing your workouts each week, this will be your third time going up and down the ladder. Hopefully, you learned a little about yourself as a runner and can apply that to this workout and make it better than the last 2 weeks. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will run it faster. Maybe you will feel better and finish stronger, knowing when to hold back so you don’t peter out towards the end. Hopefully, you’ve seen that you need to be rested, hydrated, have enough time planned to finish the whole workout.

This track workout will help build speed, confidence, and endurance, no matter what race distance you’re training for. If you’re not sure what your 5K race pace is, use a race pace estimate calculator or reach out to me and let’s figure it out using a race of a different distance or some of your current training times. Beginners should start with one sequence (400M, 800M, 1200M, 1 mile) and more advanced runners can repeat the sequence once then work their way back down the “ladder” starting with another mile and working back down to the final 400 meters.

  1. Warm up: 10-20 minutes at a walk/slow jog
  2. Work Interval: 400 meters (1 lap) at 5K race pace
  3. Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400 meters
  4. Work Interval: 800 meters (2 laps) at 5K race pace
  5. Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400 meters
  6. Work Interval: 1200 meters (3 laps) at 5K race pace
  7. Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400 meters
  8. Work Interval: 1600 meters (4 laps) at 5K race pace
  9. Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400 meters
  10. Cool down: 5-20 minutes at an easy pace

This is a fun but tough workout. Make sure you get an adequate warm up and do not skip your cool down. I prefer a full 2 mile warm up, and I would even do 3 if I have time. The more the warm up the better so don’t skimp out with a 5 minute workout then try to jump straight into your 5K pace. I guarantee you will benefit from a longer warm up!

If you can’t get to a track, you can do this workout on the road. You can manually input the workout into your Garmin or other GPS device so you can focus on your run and not watching the clock or distance. Take a look at the set up below and let me know if you have any questions. It’s a lot of steps but you can add or take out distance as needed. This workout has the full up and down ladder with the double 1600M (2 one mile intervals) in the middle. Questions? Please ask…I am here to help you!

Again, this is the FULL workout. If you are not training for a marathon you do not need the full workout. Maybe you just go up the ladder and finish with the mile, or come back down but don’t do the 2nd mile in the middle. Another option is to take out the 400 meter jog and take a :90 standing rest instead. That will decrease the mileage in the workout.

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Final thought on speed work (for today 🙂 ) if you are racing on the 4th, or this coming weekend, you should not be doing speed work this week. You’ve already put in the work, or if you haven’t, it’s too late. Now it’s time to rest up and make sure you have fresh legs for race day!


Tuesdays are our longest workout of the week. Push through it, feel the burn, then celebrate because the rest of the week will be easier! 🙂

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