Monday Motivation - Planks


If you know us, you know we love our planks. Every training plan is loaded with planks, side-planks, knee to elbow planks, plank walks, etc. We tell everyone (who will listen) to do their planks daily. However, sometimes, you just don't have the motivation to do them. I'm there right now. I know I should do them, I know how good I feel when I do them daily but as my days and weeks get busier and busier, I find that my daily core exercises are the first to go. I still run, I go to fitness classes but my daily commitment to planks and core work is gone.

I'm recommitting to daily planks and to help, here are my top tips to recommitting to a daily practice:

1. Write it down - schedule it in your calendar or print out a calendar and put it on your refrigerator or post it at your desk.

2. Enlist your friends - make it a group activity! The girls I work with are all about staying healthy and fit. We created a weekly plank schedule and committed to doing it daily. We get some strange looks but people usually join in.

3. Build up - don't start off with a 4 minute plank. Give yourself a month and gradually build up. You'll be surprised how well it works and how strong you get by just adding 10 to 15 seconds a day to your plank.

4. Vary it - don't just do the same thing everyday. Variety will keep your body and mind alert. I created a plank video series. Check it out for videos for how to add variety to your plank workout.



It's back! We are dedicating December to core strength. It's the off-season for many runners and the perfect time to focus on strength, especially building up core strength. Runners need a strong core in order to maintain efficient form, protect their back and take some of the burden off their legs.

This week, we are focusing on planks and side planks. We added in some mountain climbers to get the heart rate up. Feel free to add in another set of mountain climbers. Do this 3x a week and slowly build up to 30 seconds. It's not about how long you can hold the plank, form is more important.

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How to Stay Strong Anywhere

We love being outdoors and pretty much do anything we can to avoid the gym, with the exception of our favorite yoga and pilates classes. However, we need to stay strong to ensure that we are able to run efficiently, faster and maintain overall balance in our body.

So, if you are like us and don't relish the gym and weights, make your living room or your local park your very own personal gym!

Here are our favorite exercises. We do these 2-3 times a week and sometimes mix them up within our run. We recommend warming up with a fast walk for slow jog for about 10 minutes and then jumping into these exercises that only require your body weight.

Full Body:

Walk outs: These suckers will get your heart rate up and strength your whole body. Make sure you hold your core tight and breath.


Single Leg Squat: Improve your balance, flexibility and strength your leg muscles all at the same time!

Step Back Lunge: This variation puts less stress on the knees. If your knees hurt while doing this exercise, try a stationary lunge by stepping your leg back and then moving up and down without returning to the starting position.

Single Leg Deadlift: We love this exercise because it improves one legged stability and gets your glutes firing which is key for an efficient and powerful stride.

Calf Raises: All to often, runners overlook their lower leg muscles. Add in calf raises to increase strength and ward off injuries.

Upper Body:

Superman: You will feel super powerful after performing 2 sets of this exercise. Cape optional.

Triceps Dip: Find a bench or stairs on one of your runs and work those arms!

Plank Walks: Great total body exercise. Keep those abs tight and shoulder blades flat on the back and your legs engaged.


Plank and Side Plank: Another one of our favorites. Try this as a series: 30 second forearm plank, 30 second left side plank, 30 second forearm plank to 30 second right side plank. Don't sink those hips and make sure your shoulders are over your elbows.

Russian Twist: Strengthens the obliques which are essential to maintaining proper running form. The slower the twist, the deeper the burn.

Bridge Lift: This is a great exercise for your abs and your glutes. Hold for 10-15 seconds on your last rep and really engage your obliques closest to your hip bones.

The Best Strength Moves for Runners

Let’s face it, most runners, us included (!) think we are in great shape and fit because we run long distances or many hours a week. While that’s true, running is the same motion over and over and over again. Thus, your muscles and joints learn to behave in a very specific way. In order to become a faster and stronger runner, incorporate cross training and strength exercises into your weekly running plans.

One of our favorite ways to incorporate strength into our weekly workouts is to do the exercises during a run. We do this on an easy run day and not before or after the following workouts: speed, tempo, hill or long run.

Here’s our workout: Run 1 mile, dynamic warmup series, run ½ mile, leg exercises, run ½ mile, core exercises, run ½ mile, upper body exercises, finish up with 1 mile cool down.

Have time to hit the gym or do the workout at home? Here are the top exercises we recommend for every runner (with links to our YouTube videos):

  1. Plank and side plank (30 t0 60 seconds)
  2. Pushups (25-50, modified or full)
  3. Squats (regular and/or with high knees)
  4. Bridge lift
  5. Single leg deadlift