A Challenge Within a Challenge

If you’ve been following along with our challenge faithfully or even just 3 or 4 days a week I expect you to be feeling stronger and more powerful with your push ups.  Today, though not a re-test, will give you an opportunity to see your progress.

Warm up 3-5 minutes (walk in place, do jumping jacks, jog up and down the hall)

Perform the following workout 1 time through: (with a 15 second rest in between):

  • 30 push ups
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 push ups

If you working with the Military Style and can’t manage the full 30, do as many as you can and drop down to Modified to finish.  Then take 30 seconds to rest, stretch and come back to Military Style for the 3 remaining sets of 5 push ups each.

If you are still working on your knees in the Modified version, give the Military a go for at least 1 of the 5 push up sets.

You’ve got this!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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The Final Four

We are winding down our challenge!  Great job for those hanging in and let’s finish strong!

Warm up 3-5 minutes (walk in place, do jumping jacks, jog up and down the hall)

Perform the following workout 1 time through: (with a 15 second rest in between):

  • 10 push ups
  • 20 push ups
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 push ups

Variation:

For those of you who are banging out these push ups with ease, here’s a way to increase the intensity.  Go faster.  Be explosive and powerful but controlled.  If you can’t perform these push ups with proper form please drop back to the regular speed.

 Here’s a reminder on form:

Modified Push up 

  • Kneel on a mat or the ground, walk your hands out slightly to the sides of your shoulders
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Military

  • Start on your hands and toes, in full plank position, with your hands slightly to the sides of your shoulders.
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Note:  Make sure that your body creates a straight line from shoulders to hips in either position.  Do not hitch your hips up to the sky.  

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Work It Wednesday

Good morning!  Today it’s short, quick, to the point.  Get it done.

Warm up 3-5 minutes (walk in place, do jumping jacks, jog up and down the hall)

Perform the following workout 1 time through: (with a 15 second rest in between):

  • 20 push ups
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 push ups

Modified or Military Push Ups.  Your choice.  Go.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Close The Gap

Today, our Push Up Challenge is going to add a level of difficulty.  Whether you’re doing Modified or Military style, you’re going to use a close grip, which targets the triceps.

Why the triceps?  Two words:  bingo arms.

“Nuff said.

Here’s how to do them.

Modified Push up 

  • Kneel on a mat or the ground, walk your hands directly under your shoulders or slightly narrower. The closer your hands are together the harder the exercise and the greater the emphasis will be on your triceps. Spread your fingers on the floor to make stabilizing somewhat easier.
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Military

  • Start on your hands and toes, in full plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders or slightly narrower. The closer your hands are together the harder the exercise and the greater the emphasis will be on your triceps. Spread your fingers on the floor to make stabilizing somewhat easier.
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Note:  Make sure that your body creates a straight line from shoulders to hips in either position.  Do not hitch your hips up to the sky.  

Now, here’s your Push Up Challenge workout for today:

Warm up 3-5 minutes (walk in place, do jumping jacks, jog up and down the hall)

Perform the following workout 1 time through: (with a 15 second rest in between):

  • 8 push ups
  • 15 push ups
  • 8 push ups
  • 8 push ups

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Don’t Forget the Push Ups

Here’s your Push Up Challenge for Monday!  If you are already dressed and at the office, don’t fret, you can take care of these when you get home.

Warm up 3-5 minutes (walk in place, do jumping jacks, jog up and down the hall)

Perform the following workout 1 time through: (with a 15 second rest in between):

  • 10 push ups
  • 20 push ups
  • 10 push ups
  • 8  push ups

Modified or Military – your choice.  Whatever you do, make them pretty!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Brain Drain

“Hitting the wall” is an aptly-named phrase that is commonly associated with Mile 20 of a marathon.   Most training programs for “normal people” (read:  you and me), end the long runs at mile 20.  The problem with this training method is that in a marathon when you get to 20, you still have 6.2 miles to go.

And as you learn from training, when you go over your previously longest distance, it hurts.  If you ran 10 miles last weekend and are running 12 this weekend, that last 2 will be hard because your body is saying “WTF” and your brain wants to listen to your body.  This, dear readers, is where mental toughness comes in.

In running, whether out for a long run or 3 miles, you have to get used to the voice in your head saying no and then ignoring that voice in your head and keep running anyway.

I know we’re trained to trust our intuition, listen to that inner voice and be present.  I want you to suspend that sound advice when you go running.  (The only caveat being in case of pain or injury.  Or if you are running in an area and you feel uncomfortable.  In these cases, trust your gut and either stop running or move to a safer spot).

This head trip can happen in an instant or it can be present the entire time.   Here are a few things to try that may help you get over this bump.  I’ve used these techniques myself and they have worked.  (Note:  while the following are running-specific, these tips can come in handy on a long ride, swim or any other endurance sport).

Slow down.  Back off the pace, catch your breath and re-group.

Clear your mind.  Doubt (why did I ever think I could do this?).  Frustration (I’m running so slow, what’s the point?).  Panic (I have 8 more miles to go and I’m tired at 2).  When these thoughts start to clutter up your brain during a run it can be distracting and will make for a very difficult run.  Say “Stop” silently, or out loud and focus on clearing your mind of any thought.  Focus on 2 things; your breath coming in and your breath going out.  In and out.  In and out.  In and out.  If a thought starts to dance across, say “Stop” and again focus on your breathing.  Do this until you are back on track.

Stop.  Sometimes you just need to stop for a minute.  Take a drink of water, walk, and talk yourself down from the ledge.  Breathe, clear your mind, and focus on what you are trying to accomplish.  Now start running again.

Plug In or Plug Out.  On long runs I clip my iPod Shuffle to my shorts and tuck my ear buds into my bra strap and forget them.  I like having music at the ready but don’t always use it until the last few miles of a run or if I’m at a part where I just need to run and not think.  Crossing back over the GG Bridge is a prime example of when I need to plug in.  Now, the opposite can also apply; sometimes music can be a distraction.  I find that if often the case on long runs when there’s a lot going on around me such as sars, bikes, walkers, or even a big hill.  Silence helps me focus.

Enjoy the struggle.  Sure, it’s tough to run sometimes.  And while your 3 mile run on Tuesday was great, today’s may not be and that’s fine.  I’ve laughed out loud on an impossibly hard marathon course because I honestly couldn’t believe I had to climb “that” hill.  I’ve also stopped dead in my tracks during a run because my head was in my way.  I’ve run home in frustration and then turned tail and ran back out.  These struggles as a runner are not something odd, they’re not an anomaly.  They are perfectly normal. So suck it up and keep going.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂