The consistency message from this week’s post resonated with so many of us that I thought what better “mantra” as we navigate the holiday season and close out the end of 2018 than staying consistent through the holiday seasons?!?
We know that consistency is the secret sauce.
We know that hanging out with consistency is what makes success what to hang out too.
We also know how busy this time of year is for everyone. Family events, work events, parties, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, vacations…it all piles up this time of the year and it doesn’t stop till after the New Year. That’s when we see the New Years Resolutions starting up and people trying to get back to where they were a few short months ago.
Instead of waiting till January to “start over” what if we were able to stay consistent through the holidays and go into the new year on track?
It begs the question…how do we stay consistent through the chaos and avoid getting to January 1 with setbacks?
Below are a few tips to help us make good choices and come out of these next couple months with a strong and healthy base…and maybe even ahead of where we are now.
- Set process goals – As athletes, it’s natural to set big goals for ourselves (lose weight, run a personal best, qualify for Boston, etc.). The trouble with this is the end result is a ways in the future and largely out of our control. The holiday season is a great time to focus on “process goals” — smaller, actionable goals we can check off our list each day that will help bring us closer to your big goals. Examples: workout for 30 minutes daily, get to bed by 10 every night, strength train three times each week, run three times each week…the list continues. Focus on executing your smaller , more manageable “process goals” during the holiday season, and you’ll be more likely to come out with a lot of check marks of the list instead of groaning about “getting back on track” in January.
- Grab a buddy! – The holidays are a great time to catchup with friends or make new STTC friends! Whether it’s someone close by who you can meet up with for a run or strength session, or a new online friend who will call you out when you’re slacking or encourage you when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed can make all the difference.
- Plan ahead and establish your routine – Running around to holiday parties, visiting friends and traveling to see family can make it easy to fall out of rhythm, but establishing a consistent weekly routine you follow can help keep you on track amid the chaos. Assign a specific focus to each day of the week—even the rest days—and plan ahead when you will get in your run and strength sessions. No exceptions, no excuses.
- Crank up the intensity once or twice a week – Sticking to a speed work schedule can be tough at the end of the year. Many runners use that as an excuse to log only easy miles until the chaos calms down and they are able to focus on it again. But without our consistent speed work, our pace starts to fall and once again, we’re back to where we started. Instead of putting it off till later, crank up the intensity of one (or two if your average weekly mileage is high enough) of your running workouts with fast interval session on the roads or a progression run on the treadmill. These types of workouts break up the monotony of running easy all the time and they give our fitness level a quick boost and set us up to start the new year off in better shape than ever before!
- Plan ahead – Traveling to visit family or friends and not being sure when you’ll be able to run or work out can throw us off track. A missed workout here and there and all of a sudden it’s been a week, two weeks, then three weeks! Planning ahead can stop this spiral. When traveling, do research ahead of time and scope out popular running routes where you’ll be heading, or confirm that your hotel or host family has a treadmill or workout area you can take advantage of . Let those you’re visiting (or that are visiting you) know ahead of time you’re planning to work out. Even encourage them to join you! If you announce your intentions ahead of time, it will create the time and space you need, but it will also create an added level of accountability to actually get off the couch.
- Avoid temptation and practice moderation – It’s easy to get carried away at a loaded buffet table, which is why it’s important to know what you’re in for and plan ahead prior to holiday happy hours, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and work parties, etc… Avoid the temptation to overdo it when the options in front of you are plenty. It’s ok to splurge on drinks and dessert every once in a while but don’t let it become a regular habit. Going to two parties on the same night? Eat dinner at the first and save room for dessert at the next. Finding a healthy balance is the easiest way to sidestep the lure of holiday food. There’s no need to completely deny yourself of all your favorite foods. Just don’t go overboard. Being able to practice moderation–small doses of what you love–will let you enjoy the season without feeling guilty.
- Adopt at at-home workout plan – This is easy for us because our plan is already laid out right in front of us–no gym needed! You don’t have to think about what to do, when to do it or how often…the entire plan is right in front of us. Regular workouts we can swap out to keep things fresh, exercises that require little to no equipment and videos with your #CoreCrew family to follow along with. Heck, we even have pdfs to print out and take with us when we don’t have internet access or don’t want to spend time trying to find what we need when we’re on the go. Don’t make it harder than it has to be…follow the plan and you can’t go wrong.
- Go easy on the alcohol – Catching up with friends over a cold pint or sharing a bottle of wine with family from out of town is a fun way to celebrate the season, but excessively imbibing over a short period of time is one of the main reasons people pack on unwanted pounds. Limit yourself to one drink at holiday gatherings when you have a workout planned for the next day or plan ahead and get your tough workouts done ahead of time.
- Create a ritual – One of the best ways to start any kind of habit is to create a ritual around the habit you want to create. Working out is no different. Maybe you want to work out first thing in the morning before you go to work every weekday. You might create a ritual where every morning before work, you get up, eat a small breakfast while listening to the morning radio, go for a short run, then do a strength workout. The idea is to get your mind and body so used to including a workout in your morning routine (or whatever time of day you like to work out) so you no longer have to think about it—it just comes naturally to you.
- Put it on your calendar – A great way to make sure your workouts are ingrained in your schedule is to simply put them on the calendar—just as you would any other appointment. For example, if you want to commit to working out three days a week, choose the days—let’s say Monday, Wednesday and Friday—and put them in your calendar or phone for a scheduled time with a reminder. Treat them just as you would any other appointment. If something comes up, you can reschedule your workout but you don’t want to let this be a common occurrence. Just as you’d never just skip or forget an important meeting or your kid’s soccer game, this keeps you from skipping your workout or forgetting to work out altogether. You know those nights when you sit down and then it pops in your head, “dang I never got my workout in” and it’s too late and you have no energy and POOF the day is gone.
- STOP MAKING EXCUSES – People make all kinds of excuses for not working out—they’re on vacation, they’re sick, too sore, too busy, they’re too tired. Traveling? You can still work out, even if all you have is a hotel room. Tired? Exercise will boost your energy, so get up and get it done anyway. Busy? No doubt you’ve got an extra 10-15 minutes—and you could probably use a break from your hectic schedule to exercise and take some time to yourself anyway. The solution is simple: stop making excuses.
- Don’t quit. Never quit.
November 2018 Challenge: Consistency
Consistency is key so Strong to the Core is sticking with the Strength Running Injury Prevention Program. Below are the routines we are already familiar with along with the number of times they should be done each week. Links to videos and pdf copies of each of the workouts can be found in our STTC private group files.
We have more strength routines to add into the rotation over the next few weeks. The weekly schedule is yours to make. Plan ahead for your week. Schedule your workout time in advance. Plan for enough time after a run to get in some strength work before showering and getting ready for your day. Write your plan into your calendar so it is scheduled just like any other important appointment.
Consistency = Success
The more active and accountable you are in our Strong to the Core group, the more likely you are to stay consistent with your workouts. You may not have much time to be online in STTC with so much else going and sometimes feeling the need to post and comment can be overwhelming. Instead of backing away altogether and losing your support system, grab a buddy and make a commitment of consistency to each other. Check in with each other and post when you can but don’t worry about being as active in the group. Find what works for you, your schedule and your upcoming plans. If you are traveling, print out the pdfs and take them with you. Most of our workouts do not require any equipment and can be done anywhere!
- IT Band Routine OR Stiletto Routine – 3X per week
- Tomahawk Routine OR Standard Core Routine – 3X per week
- Nike/Runners World Arm Strength – 3X per week
- Chakram Routine AND/OR Sand Routine – 2x-3x per week (these are very quick workouts that you can add in as much as you want!)
**Links to all our workouts are available to members of Strong to the Core. If you are not a member, check out how to join us here. If you have questions and want to chat with me (Coach Amy) send me a private message here. I am available to chat and answer any questions you have about #CoreCrew and our workouts.
Y’all will hear me talk about consistency a lot this month. I can already see some eye rolls and sighs…that’s ok I know you’ll still love me when it’s over and it’s going to be worth it!
Let’s start by grabbing our November buddy and coming up with 2-3 process (small and manageable) goals that we can set for this month. It can be anything fitness, workout, meal planning, sleeping, etc… Post in Strong to the Core or share with your buddy and let’s help each other stay consistent through the holidays and come out on target and feeling great!
There are very few things that obsessing over is a positive thing…but injury prevention is definitely one of them.
As runners, we often take running for granted. We just lace up and run, no big deal right? Well sure…when we’re just getting started everyone tells us that running is a cheap way to get get healthy and stay sane. But as we progress and get better at what we love we start to realize that:
- Running is not cheap
- Running alone is not enough to keep us healthy
- If we don’t add strength training to our routine, we won’t be able to run
Most of us have been running for a little bit now and some of us have been running for years so we know running isn’t cheap, we know running alone is not enough and we know we have to do our strength work. But we might still be confused as to what type of strength training is most beneficial to our sport. Should we lift heavy? Should we go to boot camp? Should we do plates or barre or some other class to help us get stronger?
While all those things are great for our personal fitness, they aren’t specific to running. No, I’m not saying you should stop going…but if we want to get better at what we love the most, we have to do a little work on areas where runners most often suffer from injuries and pain.
In September we are…
If you are not familiar with Strong to the Core, we are a private group that was formed from the 30 Days to a Stronger you group. We switched over the to private group to make our little family more secure and give our runners the chance to post and share in a private setting where they are free to say how they feel without being judged.
The group is made up primarily of runners who want to get stronger, faster and healthier! We know that strength training is an essential part of the program if we want to run for life so we do it together with a monthly workout plan, weekly speed work options, accountability, support and motivation!
We’d love to have you join our #CoreCrew family!
We know a strong core can improve our running posture & speed. Since our arms and legs all stem from our core, the strength in our limbs is intimately tied to the strength in our torso.
Having a strong core sets a solid foundation for strength in the rest of the body.
For runners, the main benefit of core strength is increased stabilization in the torso. Our core muscles, the chest, back, abs, and obliques, are what keep our torso upright when we run, and reduce “wobbling” when moving our arms & legs. When we are running, our core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking and less excess energy expended. Core strength also significantly improves balance helping us recover quickly from missteps.
For distance runners, core strength is extremely important. Towards the end of our long runs or races when we are fatigued, our form starts to suffer. Poor form slows us down, and opens us up to potential injuries. If you are familiar with that lower back ache, building up core strength will help to maintain good posture, and reduce the pains that result from poor posture.
While we will continue to build strength in our legs and arms, August is all about getting CORE STRONG!
What have you got to lose? Check us out and see how daily strength workouts, weekly speed work, accountability and motivation can make a difference in your running and your overall fitness!
It’s TOO HOT TO HANDLE!
It’s pretty much hot everywhere now, except maybe for Alison in New Zealand. I think it’s winter over there? For everyone else, it’s super hot, super humid, and it pretty much sucks the life out of us and our runs.
When the temperature rises, our running pace needs to slow down until we acclimate to the heat. Sometimes acclimating doesn’t make a difference and that slower pace becomes our norm for the summer months.
Sometimes, even though we know we should be pulling back on our pace, social media pressures us, our competitive nature kicks in and our need to “keep up” gets in the way of doing what we need to do to stay healthy and avoid dehydration and burnout.
When things get too hot to handle, we need to slow things down, avoid the outside pressures to keep up the faster pace and focus on the little things that will get us ready to race when in the fall. We need to maintain our mileage base but take the pressure off and allow us to just run.
So, for July, while we will still follow our training plans, keep speed work in our weekly routine, work on getting stronger and continue to push towards our race goals, this month we will NOT be posting any runs with paces.
NO POSTS WITH ANY RUNNING STATS FOR JULY!
That’s right, for this month we are going to focus more on all the other aspects of our overall health and fitness and keep our specific running stats to ourselves. We’re going to let go of the competitiveness, relieve some of the stress that comes with having to “keep up” and enjoy a month without numbers. You can include your mileage, your workouts, your struggles and your successes, but no specific running stats!
You can certainly post your paces in other places, you can even send them to me (runners I coach individually will continue to send me their info) but in Strong to the Core, I will remove any posts that include running stats. So if you post them, I will delete your posts without warning!
My hope is that this will take off the pressure to move too fast and allow us to slow down, get in some truly easy paced runs and avoid considering how our pace “looks” to others.
Also for July, if you don’t get the workout done, don’t post. We don’t need to see excuses. Get it done and post….or skip posting. A post with “I didn’t feel like it today” isn’t motivating to anyone and our group is about positivity and motivation. If it doesn’t encourage other Crew members to get it done, don’t post it.
I do want you to continue getting your workouts in and keep posting when you’re done! Feel free to message me anytime during the month if you have a great run and want to share it with me or if you have questions about your training. Bottom line for July…keep running and keep getting stronger!
July 2018 Challenge: Too Hot To Handle
For July we are keeping the same format with hips, glutes and legs on Monday and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday and Arms and Abs on Thursday and Friday. You can find the day’s workout in the pinned post on our group page. You will see some familiar workouts as we found some really good ones in June, but we’ll have some new surprises too!
Since we’re talking about how hot and humid it is everywhere…let’s take a minute to chat about how to beat the heat!
With the warmer weather upon us, hot runs are inevitable. Instead of hiding from the sun and humidity, here are some ways to still get the miles in without letting toasty temperatures hinder your training. Beat the heat with these tips from Runners World:
1. Drink Up – “When it’s hot, I drink at least two more cups of water than usual,” says Robert McLane of Scottsdale, Arizona. If you’re going out early, “hydrate throughout the day before,” says Aaron Runyon of Pace, Florida. The rule of thumb is to aim for 16 to 32 ounces of fluid per hour of exercise, or three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. “Make sure you hydrate with fluids containing electrolytes since you will be sweating a lot of salt out,” says John Eng of New York City. Look for a drink that contains 25 to 50 grams of carbs, 230 to 345 milligrams of sodium, and 40 to 100 milligrams of potassium.
2. Run Very Early or Very Late – “We meet up anytime between 3 and 5 a.m. so we can be done around the time the sun rises,” says Elizabeth Hensley of the running club The Bee Team in Tucson, where the normal high in July is 100° F. If you can’t go early, go as late in the day as possible. Although the sun is highest in the sky at noon, the earth’s surface heat peaks between 3 and 5 p.m so heading out for a run mid-afternoon is probably not a great idea. Wait till closer to when the sun goes down, when the humidity is less and the temperature is going down.
3. Plan Ahead – Run in a park with water fountains or on a route with convenience stores. “I map my run to make sure I can refill my bottles,” says Dominique Perrier of New Orleans. Or stash a cache. “My weekday runs are usually a series of loops in the neighborhood, so I can double past my house, where I leave water or a sports drink by my mailbox,” says Warren Biddle of Brandon, Mississippi. “I sometimes ride my bike or drive the route and leave some water along the way,” says Sloan McLaughlin, who lives in Egypt. Jesse Mack of Boston keeps a cooler at the end of his street with water, Gatorade, and a hat. “I grab a drink, and switch off hats, so I get a cooldown every loop.”
4. Check the Index – It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity! “Last July, it was 99 degrees at 8 p.m., but it’s the 100 percent humidity that will get ya,” says Runyon of Florida. Moist air slows down your body’s ability to cool itself through sweat. The heat index combines temperature with relative humidity to give you the apparent temperature–how hot it actually feels–and the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory when that hits 105. “I check the weather forecast the day before my long run to decide how early to go out,” says Perrier of New Orleans. “Here the temperature doesn’t drop much at night, and humidity is higher in the early hours.”
Caution! The National Weather Service considers it dangerous to exercise when the heat and humidity meet (or exceed) the below combinations.
86° F 90%
88° F 80%
90° F 70%
92° F 60%
94° F 55%
96° F 45%
98° F 40%
(See noaa.gov for the complete chart.)
5. Wear the Right Stuff – “Last summer, I ran with a lightweight long-sleeved top that wicks,” says Gaeten Dominic of Philadelphia. “My skin temperature stayed cooler for a more pleasant run.” Light-colored clothing reflects heat, and a loose fit lets air circulate. Hats are useful for more than blocking rays. “I pack ice under my hat, which lasts about 40 minutes,” says Roger Trudeau, who lives in Tunisia. “The cooling effect of the water running down over me makes all the difference.”
6. Get Used to It – The good news is your body begins to adapt to elevated heat in only three or four days, though it might take two to three weeks to acclimatize. “Running in Guadalajara, Mexico, it’s hot most of the time, so my ‘secret’ against heat is facing it on a daily basis,” says Alberto Aguirre. “Long-distance runs of 30-K at noon are tough, but if you do it twice, you will be ready to finish even if the heat is on.”
7. But Be Sensible – “If you ever feel nauseous or heavy-headed, stop immediately, get in the shade, and drink something cold,” says Rik van der Vaart, who speaks from experience, having suffered heat stroke when he first moved to tropical Aruba 10 years ago. Tara Sweeney of Boston adds to the list of warning signs: “If you are feeling dizzier than normal, are feeling sick, or are not sweating, then you need to stop and get inside somewhere cool.” Michael Bower of San Jose, California, says, “Above all, listen to your body and what it says. It knows more than you do.”
8. Seek Shade – Elizabeth Hensley’s Tucson club heads to the canyons for shade or the mountaintops for cooler temperatures. “Any time you can spend in the shade will help–stretching, warmups, even water breaks,” says Bower, a high school runner in San Jose. Plot routes through residential areas. “There’s more shade in the neighborhoods, plus there’s usually the opportunity to run through a few sprinklers,” says Corinne Makarewich of Harrisonburg, Virginia. Or run by larger bodies of water. “I run near a river or reservoir since it is naturally cooler,” says Dejana Knih, who swears Calgary can get “very, very hot” in the summer.
9. Race Easy – Save the 26.2-milers for fall, since the optimum marathon temperature is 54° F, according to Dr. David Martin of Georgia State University. Every seven degrees above that, your overall time slows by a minute or more. “My 10-K race pace at 80 degrees is at least 10 percent slower than at 60 degrees,” says John McCoach of North Vancouver, British Columbia. Jeannie Runyon of Pace, Florida, says she and her husband stick to local 5-Ks. “They have sprinklers set up as cooling stations at the finish line.” Even with the shorter distances, forget about PRs. “You can’t expect to race all out,” says Jennifer Kimble of Dallas.
10. Enjoy! – “I put on a pair of lightweight racing shoes, sunglasses, and racing shorts, and run shorter routes more often,” says St. John Fletcher of Cincinnati. “I feel like I’m flying.” Cool off by standing under a garden hose, as does Victoria Stopp in Pensacola, Florida, taking a cold shower, or getting in a pool. “I jump into the pool and cool my body off before I start,” says Donna Parsons of Colchester, Ontario. Amanda James of Annapolis, Maryland, freezes paper cups of Gatorade with popsicle sticks for a postrun recovery snack. Appreciate the light mornings and the absence of snowbanks. Remember, it’ll be cold again soon enough.
Time to buddy up for July! Comment on this post in Strong to the Core if you need a buddy to keep you accountable and motivated. Let me know if you need some help finding a good partner for July!
It’s gonna be another great month Crew and I am excited to get back to basics again. Let’s worry less about pace and more about getting stronger and on track to reach our goals!
Wondering what Strong to the Core is all about and how to be a part of this awesome running community? Check out our Strong to the Core info page and reach out to me (Coach Amy) with any questions. We would love to have you join us!
What’s better than a new workout every day?
When you surprise yourself with your courage and determination to push through whatever is throw at you! It takes courage to get moving when we don’t know what is coming but this Crew is STRONG and I have a feeling June is going to be an fabulous month!
Every day in June is a brand new day! Unless there is a workout everyone loves, then we might repeat it.
Wake up, get your workout of the day and knock it out!
Our workouts will stay between 10-15 minutes on lighter days and up to 30 minutes on our heavier days. Pretty typical to what we are used to so you won’t need to plan for additional time. We will follow the same basic outline of our previous calendars with legs early week, mental health/rest days on Wednesday and arms and abs late week. There will be weekly speed work, bonuses, and other little goodies along the way so make sure you check our pinned post each morning!
Buddy System: As always, time to buddy up for June. You are welcome to stick with your current buddy or team, switch things up and partner with someone new, or go solo. You do what works best for you and your needs.
Let’s find out what we are made of with hot summer runs and daily surprise workouts!
Let’s let life surprise us and see what we can learn and gain from it! 🙂
Summertime is a time for swimming pools, cookouts, & killer workouts! We are strong, but at the end of May we will be stronger, tougher and oh so fierce!
This month’s workout challenge is all about getting our legs, arms and abs into shape for bathing suit weather and summer training. If you’re thinking about pulling back and taking some time off, I hope you will reconsider because runners who train in the summer are the ones who put up shiny new personal records in the fall!
Don’t start all over later…keep going now! It’s up to you to stick with the program but if you do, you will come out tougher and stronger. Don’t give up on yourself…kick it into high gear and show the world what you’re made of!
May Challenge Detials:
In May we are switching things up a bit and following along with workout videos that will whip us into shape and will be easy to follow along with. This will also give us a little break from counting reps and sets and allow us to know exactly how long the day’s workout will take. Some days will be a little less strenuous to get us ready for days that will test our fitness and our dedication.
Tuesdays and Thursdays will be our BEAST MODE days with longer workout that will take 20 – 30 minutes each. Monday and Friday will take less time at around 10-15 minutes each. On Friday, we are attempting a short but tough ab workout that will test our strength. We will work our way up to being able to complete the full workout by the end of the month.
On Wednesday we are steering away from mental health day just a tad and adding in the oldy but goody Quick Morning Workout! This will only take a few minutes and is best done first thing in the morning to get your metabolism revved up for the rest of your day.
If your schedule doesn’t match up for Tuesday and Thursday, you can move things around but try to keep the legs and hips/glutes early in the week and arms and abs late week to avoid tired and sore legs for long runs.
Buddy System: As always, partnering up with a buddy is a great way to stay accountable. If you have a buddy team that is working and you want to stay together, that is great. If you are ready to switch things up that’s fine too. Totally up to you! If you would like help finding a buddy, please reach out and let us know and our Strong to the Core family will get you a great partner!
Below is our May Challenge Calendar. We start Tuesday, May 1st, with a “brutal hip and butt workout” so plan ahead to make sure you have time to get in this 30 minute burner!
It will be important to check our pinned post for the daily workout video, especially for the first week so you know which workout we are doing. You are welcome to save these videos and check back in with our calendar for the rest of the month but don’t forget to post and let us know how you are doing. As well as keeping you accountable, it may also inspire someone else to get it done too!
Don’t see our Strong to the Core May 2018 Challenge? In oder to be a part of our Core Crew family, get our daily workout plans, and get the accountability, motivation and support you need to reach your goals, you have to join Strong to the Core!
Find our more about our group and how you can be a part of our community here.
When you’re ready, we’re here and looking forward to meeting you and helping you reach your goals!