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Quick Core Ideas for Runners

My goal for April was to integrate more strength and core into my routine.  Like many runners, I’ve said I’m going to “add more core” plenty of times and not followed through. 

Quick Core Ideas for Runners

It’s a lot easier to run mileage but ask me to do extra stuff like stretching and strength? Forget about it; there isn’t enough time in the day. 

We make what we have time for.

I’m not a doctor, coach or expert.  Thinking out loud, I do my own research, but it doesn’t replace the advice of any professional.  However, I was able to integrate more core and strength into my routine.  It has worked for me, and I do feel stronger.

Did I strength daily?  No.

Was I perfect?  No.  

But in the last two months, I did more weight training than I did the last two years.  So it’s some progress.  Personally, I like activities I don’t need weight and extra items.  While I do have a gym membership, I prefer to do planks and activities that I don’t always have to be at the gym.

I try and do strength four times a week.  I spend about 15-20 minutes each session.  It’s one reason I do like the Nike training club app so much because you can find a workout to meet your needs.

*None of these Apps are paying me to promote them.  If they did, I would use them more.  😉

My favorite Running Friendly Apps:

Nike Training Club:

nike traning club app

They have 15-minute focused workouts that target various parts of the body.  It takes the guess work out.  There are different workouts from 5-60 minutes long, and they also include stretching exercises too.  I prefer the 15-minute workouts the most.

I like to use the “Get focused” workouts because they are the 15-minute workouts and focus

Hundred Push Ups:

hundred push ups

Hundred Push-Ups was created by my friend and remarkable runner, Steve. (Steve excels in every distance from running a sub 5 minute mile to 135.5 miles in 24 hours…needless to say, he knows his stuff!

After stopping swimming several years back, I lost all of my upper body strength.  I’ve started back at doing pushups to gain that strength back. Having better posture while running (and in life) can help reduce fatigue.  The Hundred Push Ups is similar to the “couch to 5k program” and takes you several weeks to build.

A Few Core workouts:
13 Essential Core Exercises for Runners
10 Running Specific Strength Exercises 

So what kind of Weekly Routine am I doing?
As I mentioned, I try and do strength and core every other day.  The Push-Ups program uses a calendar, so I follow that.
I try and do core Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

Questions for you:

What kind of Core work do you do?

 

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Base Building Week 2 (76 miles)

This became another week of quality training.  I haven’t gone 2 for 2 since the summer. 

Monday: 11 outdoor, easy recovery  
Tuesday: 12.3 outdoor easy recovery  
Wednesday: 11.55 Treadmill Progressive (8:14 pace overall) Nike Training club Abs
Thursday: OFF NTC Abs+Arms
Friday: 12.4 miles (8:34 pace) with Tim NTC abs
Saturday: 16.5 miles 7:50 pace with Greta and Meghan  
Sunday: 12 miles recovery P90x
Total: 76 miles  

 Training: 

It started off with recovery runs after my race last week.  I wasn’t unusually sore but I was sore and I definitely knew that it worked muscles my legs were not used too.

I was able to get outdoors Monday and Tuesday and for the most part both runs were uneventful.  They were just east recovery runs.

On Wednesday, the weather prevented me from going outdoors.  When I first got on the treadmill I decided I was going to do a hill workout.  Around 8 minutes into the run I was not feeling it so I went to a normal (for me) 1.0% incline.  Around 15 minutes the treadmill shut off randomly.  Within the first 15 minutes I had lost all motivation to run.  After restarting the treadmill, I realized I felt pretty good so ended up doing a progressive run.

Thursday I decided to rest.  I wasn’t feeling as if I desperately needed a rest day but wanted a day for myself. In my training this Spring I want to take a rest day most weeks whether or not I have a race.

Friday I had the rare opportunity to run with Tim so we did a nice and easy shakeout run. Saturday I went up to Princeton to run with one of my Oiselle teammates Greta and Meghan.  I was a little bit nervous because I knew the pace would be moving (for me) but it ended up going by really quickly.  Princeton is a lot hillier then Browns Mills so I was happy to be able to get some hills in too.  It was definitely a run that put me outside my comfort zone (speed wise and with the hills) but it was a run that made me stronger.

gretameghan

Success. Myself, Greta, Meghan.

Sunday (today) I plan to do a nice shakeout and easy run.

Cross training/core:

I’ve been actually doing it and I’m proud of myself for that.  My core has been feeling stronger. Nike training club is still my favorite (free) app for core workouts.

Next week:

I hope to get in about the same amount of mileage.  I am running the Virginia is for Lovers 14k back in VA Beach on Sunday.  Living about 5-6 hours from VA Beach now there are a few races I will drive back down for.  The majority are run by J&A Racing (the directors of the very well known Shamrock).  I always enjoy driving down to VA and seeing my friends as well as their well put together runs so I’m rather excited.

Finally, please vote to send me to Napa Valley.  There are 2 weeks left in the contest and every vote counts. 

Questions for you:

Would you rather run hills or a speed workout?

What was your favorite/best workout of the week? 

Core Work

I was asked early last week to do a post on core work and activities.  I wish I could tell you I was more consistent or that I didn’t struggle occasionally to get it done but that would be a lie.  During the marathon I noticed I was an awkward flailing runner (something I’ve never really been before) and I truly believe this is because I “forgot” to do core work.  It could also be that I decided I was lazy to do core work…which is fine except I did that every day.  Since November I have been trying to do something core related daily, whether it takes 5 minutes or 15.

I am not a core expert (by any means) but this is just what I have been doing and enjoy.  If you have any ideas or core work you like to do please feel free to share because I’m always in need for new routines.

Shorter core days:

  1. Sometimes I do 500 crunches.  Straight up.  100 normal crunches, 100 bicycle crunches, 100 normal, 100 Russian twists and 100 legs straight up)  I like crunches a lot.
  2. Weighted Russian Twists.  I like those a lot too.
  3. This machine (at the gym):

    And with a medicine ball.

    And with a medicine ball.

  4. Or this machine :

    Now if only I was this ripped....ha.

    Now if only I was this ripped….ha.

  5. Sometimes I do planks but I don’t really like them much honestly.

Interesting Apps or programs for longer days:

  1. I am sure a lot of people have heard of the Nike training club APP for smart phones.  It’s free and often times I need someone (or a voice) telling me what to do or I don’t do it.  They have a lot of different “programs” ranging from 15 minutes to 45.
  2. P90X I like p90x a lot but go in spurts with it.  There is only so much of Tony’s voice I can handle so I will say I normally do this for 6 months and take 6 months off.  I’m currently in the 6 months on phase.

I have been in the routine of doing 5 out of 7 days of core work.  It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is more then I have been doing.  I would rather have a strong core then be ripped and since I am built with very narrow hip bones I’ll never have a six pack.  Oh well.

Question for you: What are your favorite core workouts?

Cross Training

As some of you may know, I love to cross train. I could (and did) during most of my injuries cross train like a champion and come back from EVERY INJURY as a stronger runner…it may have taken a few months but I did indeed come back.  That being said, I get asked a lot about cross training machines I use and to be quite honest…I’m quite picky.  I don’t have time, energy or the patience to waste on machines I hate.  That being said, I will use other machines occasionally just because I like to be a wild card.

This is getting confusing for me now…let me just talk about some of my favorite machines…

I wanted to talk about some of the random cross training I do (when I’m not feeling lazy and while still running).  For me personally, if I don’t cross train, I will probably get injured.  My body needs to cross train to work other muscles that running doesn’t work.

First, I’m not trying to be a jerk but I have no secrets of how to stay on an elliptical.  I literally just stay on.  Like I don’t stop in the middle of a run 5 miles out, I don’t stop in the middle of an elliptical session.  Once my feet go on it…I stay on.  I watch tv, text, tweet…whatever.  Hell, I even tweet and text when I run easy on the treadmill…another reason I’m a fake runner I suppose.

I know plenty of different articles can better explain to you why cross training is important and why you should add a day or two of cross training so I’m not going to ramble too much.  I will tell you though, everytime I cut out cross training I seem to get some sort of injury.   I don’t have time for cross training, then I don’t have time to run…I don’t have time to get injured is most important.

Some of the machines I really enjoy to do my cross training:

The Precor 100i. 

precor100i

This has been my go to machine as of the last year.  It simulates anything from a biking motion to a stair stepping motion and even a running motion.  (It takes a lot of practice to actually get the hang of the darn thing…believe me the amount of times I’ve fallen off).  I crank it up to the highest resistance (which in my gym is 20) and just go.

I have never done intervals on here but I know it’s possible. Honestly, if I could crank the machine up higher than I would…but sadly my gym doesn’t do that.  I could spend hours on this thing because it’s very low resistance and I feel like it is building up my quads enough so that they are strong enough to balance all my running.

The Arc Trainer.

arctrainer

I remember this photo (circa de March 2011). I had forgotten my headphones at home and made it 1 hour on this thing with no music or TV…gold stars…

Another favorite of mine.  I’ve been “Arcing” my life away since I first started working out in the gym around 9th or 10th grade.  (way before running).

I’m most familiar with this machine and they have a number of great programs.  I normally either do the cardio setting (you can adjust the level of resistance) or just manual at resistance 100.  Resistance 100 creates havoc on your legs and you will be sore the next day (so good havoc I suppose).

Core work:

There are so many different ways to do core work.  You and I probably have a different favorite method.  Right now, my favorite method is the p90x Ab Ripper DVD or the Nike training club app for iphone.  (The training club is free!).  I am not in a state of mind that I particularly want to sit in a gym and do medicine ball twists or whatnot…I have found doing these by myself, at my house is more effective…because I actually do them.

I personally believe that core work has gotten me through so many races.  I’m hoping it continues that way.   If I could just do 15 minutes of core work and continue to PR…that would be nice.   I have a gym routine I do when I actually make it to the gym to do some work.

I could add something about swimming here…but I’m a lost cause with getting back into the pool. 

Questions for you:

Do you cross train?

Favorite gym machine?

Boring Weekly Training Post (74 miles)

  Core: Workout:
Monday: Nike Core Crunch 2 hours elliptical to loosen out the legs.  I ended up seeing a friend after an hour so just chatted with her for an extra hour.
Tuesday: Nike Ab Burner 11.5 mile run outdoors easy
Wednesday: 50 Crunches 10.6 mile run treadmill
Thursday: Nike Core Crunch 11.21 treadmill
Friday: 50 crunches 10.6 miles treadmill easy
Saturday Nike Unlocked Ab Workout 11.8 miles treadmill progressive (6.5-8.5 pace)
Sunday:   18 miler planned with Laura
Total:   74 miles

Thoughts of this week:

This was an extremely productive recovery and training week for me actually.  I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel after my half marathon but I actually didn’t feel that bad.  The thing I think is because though it was a quick half marathon, it was still 4 minutes off of my PR so still somewhat felt like a workout for me.  I also was pretty careful and really working on my recovery methods (stretching, leg massages at my gym..ect.  Paying the extra fee for that is def worth it).  I don’t have much to say about this week.

Yesterday a logged my first “speedier run” which ended up having an overall 8 minute pace.  I started off at 9:00 pace and progressively worked down to just under 7 minutes.  Felt pretty good, though it’s hard to believe I ran a half marathon at 6:50 pace last week.  I really need it to warm up to start some speed work.

I was also really motivated to do core work this week.  I mean not that I’m not normally motivated to do my 50 daily crunches but I was feeling extra motivated this week to get 15 minutes of core work done.  I think it was all because I was close to unlocking a new Nike workout.  The cool thing about the app is when you log a certain amount of exercise minutes…you unlock new workouts…so it doesn’t get too stale.

Well I’m off to run with Laura and eat hang out.  

Question for you: 

What was your favorite workout this week? 

Do you stick to a workout schedule or you just figure it out when you start your workout?

 

 

 

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