Runners Three Tip Tuesday: Work on getting faster in tri-fecta form

Good things can come in threes, but then again plenty of awesome things come in twos and fours. Runners have two legs, four laps make that perfect mile…though do those four laps REALLY feel all that perfect when doing mile repeats?? ;) Brain: “FOUR laps, let’s call a mile one lap!” Juuust kidding.

running track

The cool place all runners get to hang out.


Well good things can come in any number but today you runners are getting a three-pack. Here are some Training Tips in Triple for your Tuesday:

1) Runners Who Skip: Runners can become a little too linear for their own good. Example is looking only at their running workouts to improve and taking that little metaphor to the literal: running is a repetitive, linear, single-plane action. If you don’t work your body in a variety of ways it gets tight. Tight will equal restrictive, bring you injuries and impede your speed.

Offset that by doing things OTHER than running: core work, flexibility, and agility drills. Move in the horizontal, even do some skipping to ‘dilly around’ with your neuromuscular thought patterns. Your brain actually has to be ‘played with’…it gets stuck in a pace/pattern run with just running. So as crazy as it sounds doing things like skipping, backwards skips, crazy feet drills give it a little ‘reset’ and make it more ‘sharp’ when you come back to running steps. Oh, and those fast feet, like chili pepper jump rope things, those will help your neuromuscular training too…get those feet conditioned to FIRE off the ground faster = faster speed and sprinting.

2) Be Quiet I’m Sleeping: Sleeping should really be an Olympic sports…or at least one of everyone’s favorite past times. Want to have a sleep-off? Just kidding. But seriously, for the runner in training you should guard your zzzz’s with just as much ferocity as you do lane one during repeats.
runner on track
Sleep is where you body does the vast majority of its repair, sleep is a restorative process. But it’s really the deep, REM sleep that you need. That’s why people who are light sleepers or wake up multiple times in the night can still feel so flipping tired later even if they’ve been in bed 8-12 hours…they’re not sleeping continuously or getting a deep enough sleep. Sleep issues are really tricky, I’ve got them, so if you do have trouble sleeping already do the basics: make it as dark as possible, don’t even have the light from your phone on, try a fan for white noise, relax and power-down before bedtime to put your brain in sleep-mode, and from there you may need to seek out some other options and work with a doctor.

For those of you are are lucky enough to NOT have a problem sleeping but just skimp on the hours because you’re busy, I’ll say this: 1) you’re only hurting yourself and your training 2) you’re taking sleeping for granted…trust me, lots of us insomniacs would die to get some extra hours!! haha…take advantage of them and aim for 8-9 hours a night for optimal performance.

3) Laugh: Wow…you think I’m a nutzo for just saying that. I’ll go on record and rattle off just why laughing is a training necessity:

* Running is hard: yea, it’s painful. But misery loves company and laughter. Those slow jogs between intervals is when you and your training buddies should be making fart jokes.
* De-serious: It’s easy to be too serious in life and apply that to training. Ironically getting ‘too’ focused on your workouts and training has a funny way of making you eventually start slowing down. It’s because of pressure and it’ll also rob you of the passion…both recipe for disasters. Make sure you’re excited and focused on your goals…but still ENJOY it. So laugh.
* Running gets awkward: Need I say more? Runners will have to fart, burp, poo, chafe, adjust a wedgie etc. mid-run. It’s just funny, get over embarrassment and do it. Make a joke about it.

There ya go. Take this Tuesday and make it a point to improve your running in three ways. Heck, please apply the laughter part to your overall life too!

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Related Read: My latest article on RunBlogRun: Running the ‘Extras’: Think outside the miles and improve your performance

Another of my new articles on RunBlogRun: Young Runners and the Issues of Volume and Intensity

Need a laugh? My CARTOONS are here for you! :)
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The Low Mileage Runner: How to maximize your performance off of low volume

A headline caught my eye recently: “Be a better runner without running.” *About face* Now I respect the news outlet that ran the article but the snark in me can’t resist thinking, “This kind of thing belongs in Runner’s World next to the column ‘How to get faster in your sleep!’”

track dreams

Track dreams…but you still need to actually run on the track too. ;)


In seriousness though, yes there are ways to improve your running and get faster that aren’t running. HOWEVER, these are thought of like ‘extras’…you still have to run.

Everybody and every BODY handles a different amount of volume and quality. Not everyone can log 110 miles per week, with a hard speed session, endurance session, and long run in a 7 day cycle. Some people can run 170 miles per week just fine, others get hurt going over 50…waaah-waahh it’s not fair but that’s how it is.

Know your body. Know your limits and maximize them. Just because you can’t RUN more than 50 miles per week does not necessarily mean you can’t beat the runner doing twice your volume. Enter QUALITY.

Here are a few quick tips on maximizing your training if you’re a runner who is a little more ‘fragile’: (ie: improving your running with running less and doing other stuff)

* Extend Your ‘Week’: By this I’m talking about viewing your training cycle as 9-10 days rather than the standard 7. Meb Keflezighi has talked about doing this as he’s aged, and many masters runners work off of a longer training week. This allows for more recovery between hard workouts.

* Rule of 10 and Baby Steps: If you’re injury-prone already you know you need to BABY your body a bit. Only increase your miles by 10% each week. Then be honest with what your mileage ‘max’ is. If you start getting extra creaking when you kiss 50, stick there and supplement with extra cross training instead of miles.
stress fractures suck
* Swap Your Easy Runs: Plan your miles for the week and ‘save’ them for your hard workouts and long runs. Those are the days that will give you the most bang for your mileage buck. Cross train on the easy days; to be honest the benefit of easy days are mostly just getting the steady cardio in…you can do that running or cross training. The former is just a lot easier on your body.

* Seek Soft Surfaces: The pavement is harder on your body than the trails, track, and treadmill. Seek these softer surfaces. Also know that lots of downhill running exponentially increases the impact on your joints, so steer clear of huge, sharp downhills.

* Get More Efficient: Most injuries are a result of a weakness and muscle imbalance. Fix those and you’ll be running more efficient and most likely be able to handle running more. All the more reason to fix your form, get a stronger core, and solve why you might be stuck in a vicious cycle of injuries.

* Fitter With Cross Training: Ideally you want to be doing your hard workouts as running because this will translate the best for racing but you’d be amazed by how fit you can stay with cross training workouts. So if you have to do some of your ‘running’ workouts on the cross trainer don’t freak out and remember it all comes back to effort. Go hard, get your heart rate up, feel the burn in your legs and lungs, and you’re getting work done.

Not EVERYTHING that will get you faster comes from running more miles. Think outside the box, learn your body, and maximize your potential.

Though the snark in me still has to end with this: “but, duh, you still have to do some running.” ;)

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More articles on cross training and workout ideas!

More articles on injuries, recovering, and how to prevent them!

Runner #CoreandCake Party! A core routine chased by loads of cake

Let the #CoreandCake Party get going, Runners! :) I’m going to start by showing you a quick core routine that you can do post-run. It’s short and sweet but effective at hitting those important core muscles, so there’s NO excuse for not doing it because you can whip it out fast.

I’ve got some picture demonstrations for a few of the ones that might be trickier to explain. Truth: I actually did a video but I think I’ve already grown tired of my chipmunk voice, so opted for the stills. ;)

Here’s how it works, there are group of exercises. Work up to doing three sets of each group, do all the sets for each group before moving onto the next group. Try doing this (or at least SOME core work) three days a week.

Group A

reverse crunch roll in core exercise
1) Reverse Crunch Roll-In’s — Set of 16

2) Ball Crunch — Set of 30
*Note: for the middle set, I like to mix it up and do the crunches alternating side to side.

Group B

alternating ball reach
1) Alternating Ball Reach — Set of 30
* Alternate reaching opposite hand to opposite foot; 30 total, so 15 each side

split crunch scissor
2) Split Crunch Scissors — Set of 16
* Start laying flat, as you reach up to center with the ball bring your left leg up towards the ball. Lower back down then bring your right foot up to the ball. Repeat.

hamstring ball pulls core exercise for runners
3) Hamstring Ball Pulls — Set of 8 for each leg
* This move works in three phases, and similar to the BRIDGE EXERCISE DEMO I did but up on the ball. Start with one foot on the ball and back flat on the ground, lift your butt up so you’re doing a bridge on the ball, then roll/pull the ball in towards you. Roll out, lower your back down to the ground out of bridge, then repeat. Then switch to other leg.

Group C

1) Push-up — Set of 10-15 (Modify on your knees if you have to.)

2) Chair Dips — Set of 10

BAM!! You can’t tell me you can’t bust that out in 10-15 minutes at most. But the benefits to your running are incredibly important:

* Strong Core = Efficiency. Build up your core and ‘weaker’ muscles so you’re able to hold better form as you run. Maintaing proper form, even as you tire, will keep you more efficient…read as faster.
* Strong Core = Less Injuries. You got it, most injuries are a result of an imbalance that result from a weak muscle. Fix those so you don’t wind up injured and not running at all.

Oh wait, we forgot the OTHER major benefit, you do your core and you get cake too! ;)

#CoreandCake Party Phase 2…

core and cake
Nom.
run for cake
Nom.

eating cake

Cake sees no speed. Runners of ALL levels working hard get their cake! ;)


Nom.
eat cake sweats in the city
Nom….check it out, #coreandcake goes #SweatsintheCity style in my Ezzere Run Your Fortune Tee!!

Check out the AWESOME Lisa @ RunningOutofWine because she’s celebrating all the #coreandcake goodness over at her blog too!! :)

Thanks all your runnerchicks and runnerdudes for coming, now go get YOUR #coreandcake on too! Don’t forget you can tweet/insta/social media #coreandcake all day, seeing hardworking runners devouring their just desserts always makes me smile. ;)

1) How often do you incorporate core work into your routine?
2) What’s your favorite kind of cake, or any dessert?
3) Have you partied down with Lisa yet too?? If not…you best head on over NOW!! :)

Hamstring Strengthening Video For Runners: Keep those hammies happy!

Alright, Runners, time to tell you the brutal honesty about your hamstrings: they’re plotting against you! They’re weak, they’re tight, and they’re cranky! Okay, okay, I’m speaking in the general, so your personal hamstrings (if you’re ALREADY taking care of them properly), may not be secretly plotting away an injury for you in the future…but it’s an ongoing offense we must play.

Hamstrings rank among one of the TOP injuries, or underlying issue for an injury for runners. The reason? Partially our lifestyles with too much sitting and also because runners are just prone to tight and weak hamstrings. The solution? Be proactive!

I’ve put together a video demonstrating an exercise routine targeting those weak hamstrings (and glutes). It hinges on the bridge exercise, doing them as single leg bridges. Aim to do these three times a week after your run, it will literally take you a minute or two, so no excuses!

3 Way Single Leg Bridges
10 raises each leg
3 Different distances from glutes

Avoiding an injury that keeps you from running is an ongoing effort, being proactive in the stretching and core work is your two-pronged approach! These nice exercises are one part of the puzzle and the other is doing the stretching.

Do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and keep being proactive…an injured runner on the streets is NOT someone I’d like to cross. ;)

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Fun announcement! If you follow me on Twitter you may have caught wind of #coreandcake parties that have been going on. It’s simple, do you core and you get your cake! Runners are human, we work well off of bribes. ;)

I’d like to take this party to the blog world! SOOO…I’m having a #coreandcake party NEXT Friday, March 28th and EVERYONE’S invited!! Here’s what’s going down and how you can take part:

1) I’ll be posting a core routine I’m currently loving, followed of course by talk of cake!
2) BLOGGERS: This will be a link-up sort of deal, so if you email me: cait@caitchock.com with an RSVP that you’ll also be talking core and/or cake on your blog we’ll kindly link up.
3) Social Media: If you’re tweeting, FB’ing, or Instagraming on that Friday let’s bust out that #coreandcake hashtag and give me a shout-out…cuz, let’s be honest, I can’t get enough of seeing core and cake taking over the net. :)

So this is your INVITE!! :)
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1) What is one of the ways you proactively take care of your hamstrings?
2) What is one of your known weak spots as a runner that you give extra care to?
3) What’s your favorite kind of cake?
Ummm….chocolate….duh! ;)

I Ran After The Easter Bunny

Because holidays are just better the runner way.
running cartoon
Happy Running Easter…may you make it through the intervals before you barf and may you eat your weight in chocolate eggs and avoid a refund. :P
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More awesome cartoonage HERE!
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1) Do you tend to throw up after hard workouts or races?

2) Favorite kind of candy or chocolate goodie?
Cadbury does indeed rock, but Junior Mints are quite nice. But nothing beats Pop-Tarts. ;)

best running shirts

Warning: Runners in mirror are stronger than they appear

Don’t mess with me, I’m a runner. Looks may be a bit deceiving, I’ve had people call me ‘hummingbird arms’ or ‘wishbone’ but I can pack a punch. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, a few of us (okay, probably more than a few) could be dubbed scrawny…but don’t ever confuse that with weak.
strong runner
I do my weights, core work like a good little harrier, am no stranger to the plyometrics. I’ll admit that it sometimes feels like I have to choke that stuff down because I’d rather gobble up more miles BUT I know all these ‘extras’ will make me a stronger runner. If you want to be fast, (or at least less slow…hehe) you’ve got to have a core that can keep you standing tall when you’re tired. You can’t have feeble little arms swirling around like a ribbon-dancer if you want to be efficient either.

Those arms can be slender but darn tooting they should be long, lean, and muscular. Okay, we may not ever bench the same amounts as those gym-goers with the permanent protein powder shaker bottles in hand, but that’s not our aim. Distance runners lift for higher reps and lower weight, duh. It’s all about the endurance.

Want to see us be a little more explosive? Then come to the track after a workout and we’ll show you our plyometric routine. Granted it may not be on par as the sprinters but for distance runner standards that’s some POP! You’ll see that same POP come the last lap of our 10k’s…all that explosive power translated into speed is something beautiful, I’ll tell you what! It’s even more beautiful to swing wide and pass that poor fool who neglected working on that power and speed.

Not all of the ways we build speed are so obvious, some of that power comes from the miles and miles run up hills. Hill repeats, yup, long runs on trails, you got it, tempo runs where the times are misleading due to incline…you bet!

But you want to know the BIGGEST reason you shouldn’t mess with a runner? The strongest assest of a distance runner is, in fact, their mind. I open myself up to hate from footballers, b-ballers, curlers (teehee)…but until you’ve done mile repeats until you swear you’re about to barf and then enter into the next rep, the day you run so long you’re not quite sure if you’re running so much as kicking your foot out in front of you and praying it catches, or you refuse to believe you’re beat so you DIG down for that extra gear.

Mental fortitude…that’s why you don’t want to mess with a runner. The rest, well, the rest is just enough for us to kick you @$$ with. ;)

1) Finish the sentence: Don’t mess with a runner because…

2) What is one way you’ve gained strength, speed, or power?

3) If you’ve played other sports, can you compare the different skills or mindsets necessary for them versus running. What has been the hardest sport or tested you the most?

4) Sometimes even runners have weaker mental days, it happens. So how do you rebound off of a ‘weak’ mental day, learn from it, and aim to not give up next time?
I always remember how crummy it feels when I know I’ve been a mental weenie.
best running shirts

More Great Core Moves: Why the core is all the rage and worth the face time

The core is all the rage. I know I’m constantly harping on how important core work is for runners…it will help improve your form, efficiency, reduce injury risks, and yea, a stronger middle looks good too. I’m hardly the only one and in the last few years the ‘core’ and core exercises have really taken off, if they were a celebrity they’d be dominating the Star and US Weekly rag tag rounds.

girl in paris

yea, look at me, I'm the Core and I'm just too cool like that.


Another core article caught my eye today over at Competitor.com, ‘Four Key Core Exercises for Runners’. I’m not going to lie, I’m sometimes a little hesitant to read these types of articles (more-so from general fitness magazines) because they tend to rehash the same exercises again and again or some of them are a bit watered down and would be too ‘easy’ for the consistent runner. But I give more weight to the Competitor and Running Times articles than I would say, Runner’s World or InShape for Her.

Yes, the exercises were ones that I’ve done or seen before BUT I actually like them and in fact do the plank on a multi-weekly basis. Again, you can read the article HERE but I’d like to share some tweaks or modifications to the exercises or build on them.

* Plank: okay, for beginners the standard, hold the downward facing plank (balance on forearms and toes) is great; just make sure you’re sucking in your stomach and keeping those muscles tight and engaged.
Make it harder: keep the same position but do leg lifts; start with a set of 10 lifts with each leg and build up to two or three sets.
Back and side planks: planks can be done facing upwards where you’re balancing on your heels and forearms, for this one make sure your butt isn’t sagging to the ground, you still want your body in alignment. For side planks it’s then balancing on your left forearm and outside of your left foot, keeping your body in a line and don’t let your hips sag; repeat with opposite side. I did a full plank workout HERE.

* Russian Twists: I actually really like this one and have recommended it to people before. They have it where you are sitting, balancing on your tail bone and with your feet slighting elevated off the ground. With the weight you then twist left to center to right and back to center.
Make it harder: I like doing the Lunging Russian Twist; standing up and holding a weight (10lbs to start), step out into a lunge with your right foot in front. After you drop into the lunge you’ll hold it there and twist to the right with the weight in your arm. Twist back to center and then step back out of the lunge. Repeat with the left foot in the lunge and then twist to the left. Repeat so you do a total of 20 lunges; start with one set and build up to two or three.

* V-sits: They talk about doing the ‘hollow rock’ in the article but I like this one more. Lie down flat on your back arms straight up behind your head and legs together. Raise both your legs and upper body up until you’re balaning on your tail bone and in a ‘V’ position. You’ll want to make sure your arms stay straight and even with your ears. Lower back down and repeat. This one is tricky and always makes me work because of the whole balance issue; but do the best you can and the learning curve is pretty quick, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll improve. Start with getting 10 to 15 done and build up to two or three sets. Here the emphasis is quality over quantity…10 (or even 5) perfect ones are better than 15 sloppy ones.

Source
* Pilates 100: This one, again isn’t in the article, but is one of the staples of Pilates; start lying back just as the v-sit but this time your arms will be straight down at your sides. Raise your upper body and arms a few inches off the ground and and lift your legs up about a foot or 18 inches off the ground. Keep your legs together but in order to open up your hips, keep your heels together but roll your feet outward into a little ‘v’ shape. Contract your core and now what you’ll do is take your arms and pump them rapidly up and down at your sides. Raise and lower them only a few inches but really keep your core taught and engaged, keep your feet in the ‘v’ shape. Count out 100 little pumps with your arms and then lower back down to the mat. This looks super easy and you might not ‘feel’ like you’re working all the much during it but this move works the deep core muscles and if you do it right you’ll feel sore later.

Try to do core work two to three times a week; honestly it can be a super quick routine, I mean 10-15 minutes after you run or while you’re watching TV…we’ve all got 10 extra minutes, right?! :)

Well, I’ve given more face time to that spotlight hogging core, but it’s one fitness crazed celeb who I think is worth getting press…it’s not just a quickie Kim K hook-up or wedding.

1) What are some of your top core exercises?

2) Do you do core work regularly? If so, what are some of the benefits you’ve seen?

3) There are always fitness fads or particular topics that everyone seems to be talking about a lot; core work is one that I think merits it. What are some other topics or tips that you’ve seen a lot of lately and do you like/do/use/back them?
I’ve seen a lot of people doing these egg puff things, whipping them up like meringue toppings, and seasoning them differently so they are like faux-cookies or sweets. I haven’t tried them though…I think I’d still want a cookie. :)

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A Shiny Red Ball for Bouncing! (oh, and I guess abs and core too!)

So first off, thanks to those of you who entertained me with reading my little ongoing fairy tale…clearly I have nothing better to do with my time than blog troll and dream up a fantasy world revolving around running and frozen yogurt. I will post up the rest of it soon, actually I’ve gotten it all written out I just need to get my slacker butt in gear and do more illustrations, those take longer!

Okay, but in other news, if you remember my little ab routine I do, I like to do my crunches on the ball instead of doing them on the floor. Not that I have anything against laying prone on a gross gym floor (just kidding, that’s what mats and showers are for!) but on a ball you can get just a little more uumph from your crunches and work them a bit deeper.

At my new place I’ve been without a ball so it was one of the first orders of business to correct this situation. Now, cheapo me could have just gone to a Sports Authority or something but some of the prices these places have are redic…forget that noise. I just needed a ball, not any other of the related gear they try to slap into a variety pack and I don’t need a DVD or book…just give me the dang ball!

Because I have a couple gift cards to Borders AND I even had a coupon I high-tailed it over there and went to their health and fitness section. Success. I got the cheapest, most pared down box that had me my ball. Yes, it did come with a wonky DVD and book but with the total cost under $16 with my coupon, and being that I paid with a gift card I can sort of tell myself that in effect it was free. Shall we take a look-see into what this nice little book suggests I try? (PS-I feel kinda bad because a nice random lady who saw me scoop up the last ball box said to me, “Oh, I’ve got that book and DVD and love it! What are you going to do with your ball?” I had to restrain myself from saying, “Ummm…well, I don’t plan on cracking open the book and I’m gonna do my own thang with this ball!” Though I guess I lied because I did skim the book but only for kicks and giggles.)



Well, here we have the strenuous ball sit, sitting erect on the ball will work on posture and core muscles…ya, so would actual core work. The book also suggests the gentle spinal twist with you laying on the floor, knees on the ball, and then in a relaxing rocking move roll your legs from side to side…rock-a-bye-baby…and I wanted a ball to get off of the floor. Just kidding, wow, am I in a snarky mood today??! :)

Now outside of just your standard crunch on a ball here are some things that I actually DO like to do on a ball, so let’s ditch the book and do our own thang:

*Ball Roll-In: For this one you’ll actually get in a push-up position with your feet back on the ball and your arms straight, supporting you. Roll the ball in towards you, think about dragging the ball forward until your thighs/knees are under your hips and roll out.



*Supermans: Position yourself so you’re laying facing the ball with it tucked back under your pelvis, extend your legs back behind you for support. You want your shoulders over the top of the ball, hands behind your head. Start by laying on the ball and then lift up, getting your chest off the top of the ball, then lower back down. You want to feel this in your back.



*Ball Push-ups: We all know the drill here, but with a ball you can make push-ups a little tougher depending on how far back you place the ball. Ball under your knees and doing a push-up is kinda like the ‘girlie’ version, putting the ball around shin-level is getting tougher, and with the ball under your feet you can then do a decline push-up which is tougher than doing regular push-ups on the floor.

*Pelvic raise on ball: This one is part of the ab/core routine I already wrote up so go ahead and take a gander there. But it will work your bum and back.

*Reverse crunch: Lie on your back, bend at the waist, and put your lower legs up on the ball. Squeeze the ball between your hamstrings and calfs and then lift the ball up and off the ground until your lower back is also off the ground. Lower back down and repeat. You want to feel this in your lower abs.

*Side Crunches: Lest we forget this one, crunches on a ball, but instead of going just up and down crunch to the left, down, crunch to the right…yes it’s rocket science. :P


(Insert random toon I drew here. Hey, who doesn’t love some Mac ‘n Cheese loving?!)

Well, I didn’t find any of those in the book but you’re more than welcome to just sit on the ball instead…actually, bouncing up and down is REALLY fun!! In other news, I had a nice run today, I just did 9.7 on the tready but I’d call the middle 6 at a moderate type effort run…not fast enough to be deemed a tempo but it wasn’t quite an easy run either. I didn’t really aim to make it a hard workout per se but it was nice to just get the bum moving a little faster than usual.

Hope you all are having a great day!

1) Do you sometimes laugh at workout type books, DVD’s, programs, and plans if they are sort of what I’d call ‘fluffy’? Am I mean for asking this and outing myself as I guess what could be called a fitness snob? PS-by no means am I implying there aren’t hard core programs out there, but let’s face it there is a lot of this fluff stuff too!

2) Do you have some favorite ball moves? I mean I AM rocking a new $16 shiny red ball. (PS-brownie points to anyone who just had a mental picture of Peter Griffin right there.)

3) Watcha up to today? What was/is/will be your workout?

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Abs in Full Sluggy Glory



So I’ve become a slug. Not because I’m lazy (but, not gonna lie I’m guilty of not going to get my mail sometimes because I’m too lazy to walk down the two flights of stairs and down the hallway to get it) but because I’m leaving a nasty sweat trail behind me. Sorry, yes I’m gross too.

Finished my easy run of a bit over 8.5 miles and there was no drippier slug to be found. As I was doing my Pedestal core routine I was dripping my trail of sweat until it became a nice little slippery pool. I was even having trouble getting enough traction between my forearm and the ground to stay steady…I was a mess. Thankfully no one else was around to witness me in fully sluggy glory and I swear I mopped up after myself.

Standing in front of the fan for a few minutes did a nice job of airing me out before I moved to the bench to do my ab routine. I used to be really anal about doing abs every single day, mostly out of habit and my stomach area is my ‘thing.’ That thing you always compare to other peoples’. Anyways, I did them every day even though I KNEW you shouldn’t train the same muscle group day in and day out. They never get a chance to fully recover and then never build up as strong as they can be. In fact I knew I’d get better results AND they’d look better if I did them every other day, but still I did them my way. Well, I always know my way is the best way after all. ;)

Finally I got to the point in recognizing I’m a dork and so I do them every other day. I mean you don’t go to the weight room and train the same muscle groups (ie: shoulders, quads, etc) every day so why is it that abs are the exception to the rule? I know I’m not the only one guilty of this one, lots of people overdo the ab thing and I think that’s for the very same reason I did/do it, (I admit that on the days that I don’t do my full ab routine I still do a quick round of crunches on the stability ball…I’m only human after all) everyone wants a kick@$$ stomach.

The other big mistake people do with abs is that they assume working on ab specific exercises WILL get them the six pack. Well the bummer is that the ab muscles won’t even be seen if there is a that nice layer of adipose tissue covering them. Read: fat layer. So if you’ve got poundage to drop hit up the cardio baby and then worry about all them crunches. hehe.

Off of my tangent there and sorry if you don’t want a rambling on all things abs. But, so after blowing myself to a quasi-slug stain state I did my ab routine:

* 15 Butt Bridges: Lie on back, place feet about a foot and a half in front of your bum with your knees bent. Raise your bum up until your quads and torso are in a line and then lower back down. Repeat.

* 20 Leg Lifts: Lie on back, legs straight in front of you. Keeping your legs straight, raise them up into the air until they are perpendicular to the floor and then lower back down. Repeat. (this works on the lower abs; I’ve got some variations on this one I’ll share later)

* 30 Crunches

* 15 Butt Bridges

* 20 Leg Lifts

* 40 Bicycle Crunches: Alternate bringing your left elbow to your right knee and then your right elbow to your left knee as you crunch.

* 15 Butt Bridges

* 20 Leg Lifts

* 30 Crunches



* 30 Crunches on stability ball
(I move my slug train to the stability ball for these, you can get a little more out of your crunches on the ball but if you don’t have one ’tis okay)

* 30 Side Crunches on stability ball: Just crunch but alternate going to the left and right side as you go up.

* 30 Crunches on stability ball

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls:
Lie with your back flat on the ground and place your feet/ankles on top of the ball. Raise up like you were doing a butt bridge so that your legs are straight, your lower back is off the ground and balance on your shoulder blades. With your ankles resting on the ball, roll the ball in by pulling your feet towards you until the ball is by your bum and then roll it back out.

*10 Ball Bridges: Just like the butt bridge but this time your feet are on the ball, lift up until your legs are in alignment with your torso, you will go until your lower back is off the ground and only your shoulder blades are still flat on the floor. Lower back down and repeat. (you can modify this one to be a little easier by resting your knees on the ball and raising up)

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls

* 10 Ball Bridges

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls

Then the slug train wiped off the rest of the equipment. The last bit I do because of my darn adductor and so the hamstring rolls are supposed to help me with that problem. It’s not necessarily ab work but I do it because I’m there and the ball is ready, willing, and able.

That said, nothing much else to share for today. I hope you’re all doing just dandy on yet another hump day!

1) Have to pick: would you rather be a slug or a snail?

Snail. They have those cool houses. I guess slugs are really just hobo snails.

2) Favorite ab exercises?

I also really like pilates.

3) What do you do that you know is ‘wrong’ but you do it anyways? Or I guess you know that doing it a different way would get you better results but you do it your way just because?

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Kicking Core Work and Saturfarts

Hope you are having a happy Saturday so far! For those people who are chained to a school schedule I know some are out for the year (my little sis has already dived headlong into summer break!), some are still stuck counting the days, but either way I think this should be a loooong weekend.

At any rate, after doing my little core routine today it got me to thinking. I’ll get asked every now and again for suggestions on exercises. Lots of time it’s about abs (who doesn’t want a nice six pack?) but making sure to hit the whole core is critical. Not only the abs, but the obliques, lower abs, back, glutes, everything baby! :)

This isn’t only for appearances sake either, but a stronger core will help you improve no matter what your sport of choice. For runners, cuz let’s face it that is the best sport, you want a stable core because that will help you keep good form as you tire. We’ve all seen those hunchbacks making their way to the finishline. If they were to stay erect they’d be more efficient and get to that finish faster, then be able to collapse and regroup…hehe.



All joking aside, I still do this core routine that I learned WAY back when I first moved to Oregon, gosh so that must have been at the end of 2004. Yikes! But it kicked my butt than and I still love it to this day because it’s quick but effective. I call it Pedestal, but I’ve see similar type forms of it called plenty other things. But it’s based around the plank pose…it’s just a souped up plank. ;)



Pedestal

  • Start balancing on your forearms and toes, holding a plank position. Keep your body in a straight line, that means suck in that tummy and make sure that booty isn’t sticking up in the air. Lift your left leg up and down 15 times and repeat with the right leg 15 times.
  • Now flip over so you’re balancing on your heels and forearms facing skyward. Again work to keep your body in a line. Lift your left leg 15 times, then your right 15 times.
  • Now turn to the right and balance on your right forearm and the side of your right foot. Stack your hips so your left leg is resting on top of the right, keep everything tight and sucked in, don’t let your hips sag to the floor. Now lift your left leg up and down 15 times.
  • Turn to face the to the left and then lift your right leg up and down 15 times.

So it’s a set of four poses and I like to do three sets of 15 leg lifts. For the middle set I mix it up and balance on my hands with my arms straight instead of resting on my forearms. It makes your center of balance a little different.

Anyways, it takes less than 10 minutes and you can do it after your run/workout when you’re already loose. Also nice and sweaty. :)

So for my Saturday, got in my easy run, did me my core, and since it looks like the sun has decided to grace me with its presence I’m thinking I might go out and enjoy the day. Or, I might just get sucked into the internet vortex, waste far too much time and then not realize that it’s suddenly ark outside. Haha. Hope you’re all having a great one!

1) Do you do core work?

2) Favorite core exercises?

3) Have you ever been in a tornado?

Totally random, but because the weather conditions seem to get crazier and crazier, and I hear about more and more poor people getting hit with natural disasters and extreme weather conditions it got me thinking about it. Ever since I saw Twister back in the day, I was obsessed with that movie and watched it until my VHS nearly broke, tornadoes have petrified me.


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