Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why Core Strength is Important for a Runner and some other random things

Yesterday morning was full or chores. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house....So the afternoon was for playing and relaxing. The girls asked to have a tent picnic in the kitchen for lunch so we did that. Our tent is an old hand-me-down and is sad condition, but it works.

After lunch and V's nap time, none of the girl's friend could play so we found our old sprinkler and the kids ran through the sprinkler for an hour.  I love summer. I love how there are so many simple ways to be entertained in the summer. 

M didn't hesitate at all, she was in the water as soon as it was turned on. J needed a bit of convincing though. 

After we had dried off, our neighbor brought us a donut for an afternoon treat. We really love where we live and the people we live by. The girls are so lucky to have lots of good friends just their age to play with. And we have the best neighbors. 

Last night was my strength training workout.  I did something a little different for it.  I normally incorporate some cardio in between my different muscle groups, but last night I decided to do a 15-minute speed workout and then do the strength training.  I found a great workout challenge and modified it a little because I started late. You can learn more about it HERE.  Instead of doing just the red, or just the blue as many times as I could in 10 minutes, I did all of it three times in 10 minutes. 

Let's talk a little bit about core muscles. Everyone wants to have that nice 6 pack, but not many think of what having good, strong core muscles do for you.  Most runners focus on strengthening their legs and not so much everything else.  But core muscles are super important for runners. Core muscles are what keep you upright while running. Having strong core muscles will help you keep a good running form. And good form helps you with your speed and endurance. 

You use a lot more energy while you're running when your core is weak because your core helps you run more smoothly with a lot less swaying or moving around.  It also helps you recover faster from stumbles or miss steps. 

How do you know if you need to work on core strength? I don't think there's ever a time we shouldn't be working a little bit on our core. But one way that you can tell is noticing while you're running if your back starts to ache a little during the end of your run, that's one good way to tell. 

You can also check your form. Are you slouched over? Are you dragging your feet? Are you looking up? Are your arms moving side to side or front to back? If your form is off, there's a good chance that it's because your core muscles are weak and tired.  

I have a few favorite core exercises for you to try (that aren't sit ups).  It's always a good thing to switch your exercise up every now and then. Different exercises target different muscle groups. Your core muscles are your back, abdominal and pelvic muscles.  You can target them all differently to strengthen each group. 

Plank: Planks will target several different areas and are great for quick core workouts.  I do a lot of planks because I do my core work at the end of my workout most of the time. And by that time I'm tired and ready to be done. Planks are good because they can be done pretty simply and quick. Start with a small amount of time, 30 seconds-1 minute and add time on as you get stronger.

Supermans: these are one of my favorite back exercises.  There's no equipment needed and you get a good workout without a ton of effort, and you get to lay down. 

Flutter kicks: Flutter kicks are great for your lower abs and pelvic muscles.  And, again you get to lay down.  

100's:  I learned this one in the only pilates class I ever took. And it stuck with me because I saw a lot of improvement in my abs.  I would suggest not to do these every time you work core though.  Sometimes you can strain your back by focusing too much on your abs. 

There are so many different ways to exercise your core muscles. If you ever need to make sure you're doing an exercise right or just need ideas on what kind to do, there are a lot of ideas on youtube.

What is your favorite core workout?

What's your favorite thing about summer?


  1. I LOVE all those core exercises as well! I also like to take a Barre class every once in a while, and they always incorporate some awesome core movements.

    I'm a teacher, so I've got to say that my favorite thing about summer is being able to just relax and read a book in the sunshine every once in a while!

    1. I've never taken a barre class but I've heard they are great!