Strength and Prehab: Core Exercise #1

This is the second post in a series providing strengthening prehab exercises. I am not a certified running coach or a physical therapist — just someone recommending exercises that have helped me become a stronger runner and ward off possible injury. Who else gets bored of the same old strengthening routines? Check out my first post on the myrtl exercise.

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One of the most surprising parts of training for me is my new-found appreciation for core exercises. I’ve never been a fan. I think it started with my distaste for crunches. They hurt my neck. And I associate them with teenage girls trying to slim their stomachs for bikini season (motivated more by fitting in than core strength). I didn’t like them then, and I didn’t like them now but working through core exercises with my running coach last fall made me feel like I was strengthening my abdominal muscles for a higher purpose than looking great on the beach (which can be a great motivator – I’m not here to judge!).

We also did so much more than crunches! Sure, I was subjected to abs-screaming-in-pain work that made me want to apologize to my body for the discomfort but ultimately made me feel like this pain had plans for me. I was going to turn into a strong runner one day. It didn’t hurt that I started to get better at them too. There are few things as satisfying as feeling you crush that workout you almost couldn’t finish at the very start. I could feel the improvement.

However, it is easy to get tired of doing the same old strengthening exercises each week so I thought I’d share I started working into my training last week. Try this for 30 seconds and increase the time slowly as it becomes easier.

What kind of core exercises do you rely on? How many times a week do you try to do core exercises during the week?

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Weekend Wrap-Up: 10K Dreaming

Happy Monday! I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘N’ Reading again for this week’s weekend update. 

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Hi, everyone! I wish I could tell you about a truly exciting weekend, but this one was low-key and maybe exactly what I needed after I spent most of Friday evening filling out forms to begin my graduate school practicum. I also took off 8 whole days of running after I felt some shin pain during a run home in Ohio, and I’ve spend the weekend plotting how to get back in tip-top shape.

I’m proud of myself for knowing when my body needs to stop running, but goodness…the antsy-ness to begin again never gets easier. Thus, it’s easy to imagine that the best part of my weekend was a slow 1.5 mile run through Capitol Hill to test out my legs. It was a beautiful day. 

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The Capitol Hill Classic 10K is approaching quickly this Sunday, and I’m pretty disappointed that I’ve had to take so much time off of my planned training schedule. This 10K will be my longest distance to date! In light of this…I got an idea. I’m still planning on racing the 10k on Sunday (so long as I can crush a 5-miler before then without any tinge of shin pain), but it obviously won’t be with the kind of strength or fitness I was anticipating.

So…when I came across the Oakley New York Mini 10K set in June, I thought I’d found a great next race. I think it will serve as perfect motiviation during this pre-half marathon training period. While I know I’m working to start the half marathon plan strong and ready, it can be easy to excuse finishing a workout early or not stressing cross training because I’m not on a real plan yet. It’s time to start training for something. No more half-assing anything. After the New York Mini, I’ll have two weeks before beginning Hal Higdon’s half marathon plan in preparation for the Navy Air Force Half Marathon.

That’s what has been on my mind this weekend. Right now I’m going to go pray to running’s higher powers that they send some good, injury-free juju my way…and go find some ice packs.

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How was your weekend? Did you run? What’s the next race you’re planning? Have you ever run a race through Central Park?