Getting to the Core

So here’s a little 4-1-1 about running.  A strong core (midsection) is your secret weapon for distance running.  Or running in general.

By incorporating core work such as planks, plank variations, pushups, as well as other body weight exercises such as inchworms, mountain climbers and yes, burpees, you are strengthening your midsection.  And this is important because when you are running and get tired, a strong core will prevent your upper body collapsing downward and impeding your forward motion.

Have you ever seen runners at the end of a race?  Not elite runners, the average Joe’s, like us.  Many of them just shuffle to the finish.  Now, don’t get me wrong, finishing a race is a big deal but wouldn’t you like to finish stronger?  I thought so.

Here’s a quick workout that you can do to increase your core strength.  Try it a few times a week.

Core Workout

  • Plank
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch

Perform each exercise for 40 seconds with a 20 second rest in between.  (Note:  If you are unable to do the full 40 seconds, do what you can, take a break to regroup and continue until your timer beeps.  There is no failure here so do not get discouraged!)

Do the sequence 2 times through.

How To Do the Exercises

Plank   

  1. Hold yourself in the “up” position of a pushup, hands under or slightly in front of your shoulders, fingers spread, apart, pointing forward (do NOT turn your hands toward each other or away from each other).
  2. Press your feet, knees and thighs together
  3.  Draw your shoulders down away from your ears and engage your shoulder blades so they are slightly pulling toward each other
  4. Lift your belly up nice and tight, pulling your belly button toward your spine
  5. Drop your tush a bit so it’s in NOT pointing in the air
  6. Keep your back straight – don’t drop your belly, tuck it up

Bicycle Crunch

  1. Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on ground
  2. Place hands behind head
  3. Lift shoulders and head off the ground, lift feet off ground
  4. Rotate your torso to the right so that your left elbow and right knee in the middle of your torso (this is the start position)
  5. Keep left leg straight out, about 18 inches off the ground
  6.  Keeping abs tight, rotate torso to the left so that the right elbow is now meeting the left knee in the middle of your torso and left leg is now extended
  7. Continue rotating so that opposite elbow and knee meets in the middle
  8. Make sure that your extended leg is as low to the ground as can possibly be

Reverse Crunch

  1. Lay on your back with your hands at your side. palms facing down
  2. Raise your knees and bend them at a 90 degree angle
  3. Keep your head and shoulders firmly on the ground
  4. Press your palms into the ground as you lift your hips and roll your knees toward your head
  5. Slowly roll back to start – keeping your abs tight

Enjoy and have fun with it.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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