August 2018 Challenge: Core Strong

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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.

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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!

Want to know more about Strong to the Core, our monthly workout challenges and how to be a part of our #CoreCrew family? Click here for our info page and reach out to me here with any questions! 🙂

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!

change your life


July 2018 Challenge: Too Hot To Handle!

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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.

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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.



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!

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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 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!

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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!

June 2018: Surprise Yourself

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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.


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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.

If you’re not part of our Strong to the Core family and are ready to join us, click here for more info and reach out to me (Amy) with any questions!

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! 🙂

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May 2018 Challenge: Strong, Tough & Fierce!

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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!

April 2018 Challenge: The Will To Work

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Summer is coming and this means warm days (just plain HOT days for some of us) and less clothing to hide what we’ve neglected to work on through the winter. It means less racing for us in the south and more racing for those in the north. It means bikini weather is on the way….and that can be a little nerve wracking!

For those of us in the south whose long distance racing is coming to an end for a while, it can mean we’re logging fewer miles. Some people even take the summer off. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Especially if you want to pick back up in the fall. You don’t have to push as hard as you do during racing season, but keeping a good mileage base will help you transition smoothly into the fall without having to start over again.

Instead of hanging up your running shoes for a few months, pull back on your mileage or choose times of day when the heat is less intense like early mornings or late in the afternoon when the humidity starts to burn off. Find your BRFs and make a plan that will keep you running through these warmer days. And remember that as the temperature starts to rise, your pace should slow down.

It takes several weeks to acclimate to warmer temperatures. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t run as fast, or as long as you have been recently. Give yourself a break and know that as you get used to it being warmer, your body will adjust and it will get easier again. Be patient!

For those in the North who are still waiting for the snow to melt, you are probably itching to log more miles outside and your chance is coming! Now is the time to have your training plan ready and ramp up your miles to get ready for those summer racing where the weather is perfect!

No matter if it’s getting hot or still miserably cold, you must find the will to keep working. Are you willing to put in the time? Are you willing to work out in less than ideal conditions?

Do you have the WILL to work hard for the results you want?

I know this Crew has the will. And if you are part of our Strong to the Core family, you have a strength plan laid out for you. Get that running plan ready too and let’s work on that summer body and strong legs for race day!

If you’re not a member of Strong to the Core, what are you waiting for? Click here to find out more about our group and how to join! Below is how our April Challenge is laid out…just to give you an idea of how we get our strength in. Each day takes from 10-20 minutes and will help you build the strength you need to run faster and stay on the road longer injury free.

April layout:

  • Sunday – Plank & Wall Sit + Active Recovery & Yoga for Runners
  • Monday – Legs & Abs
  • Tuesday – Hips and Abs
  • Wednesday – Plank & Wall Sit + Mental Health Day (great day for speed work! 🙂 )
  • Thursday – Arms & Abs
  • Friday – Abs & Abs
  • Saturday – Warm up, Long Run, Wall Sit & Plank, Legs Up the Wall, 7 Key Stretches for Runners + Pigeon Pose

Have questions? Reach out to me and let’s chat! You can reach me here.

February 2018 Challenge: Tough Love

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With plenty of love going around in February, you don’t need someone to be nice and tell you it’s ok to skip your workout. You don’t need to be coddled and told it’s fine to wait till tomorrow.

This month, you won’t get that from me. If you’re hurt, make modifications. If you’re tired, go to bed earlier. If you don’t have time, figure out where you are wasting time and workout instead. You’re busy, I get it…but you make time for what’s important to you.

If it’s not important you won’t make time. If it is, you will. That’s all I have to say bout that.

Tough Love…you don’t get kudos for excuses.


Our shortest challenge month of the year. Can you make it 28 days without excuses?

Show yourself some tough love and choose to make time for what is important!

February Challenge Details:

  1. Challenge Calendar – 28 Days
  2. No Junk Food Challenge
  3. Burpee Challenge
  4. Push Up Challenge

Want to know more about how to join our Strong to the Core family and join us for Tough Love February?

Click here for info and let us help you find your strong!

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Ameris Bank – Last Big Race of 2017!

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Formerly known as the Jacksonville Bank Marathon, Ameris Bank is proud to carry on the tradition of the oldest marathon in Jacksonville! This is the 35th running of this 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon, and this course does not disappoint. With pancake flat terrain, and lots of shade, this course meanders down Beauclerc Road, travels around the infamous Forrest Circle loop and winds through Scott Mill and Mandarin Roads circling back to end inside the Bolles stadium on the track.


  • Boston Marathon Qualifier
  • Marathon course has a six hour limit
  • Half Marathon course has a 3.5 hour limit
  • Certified courses
  • Course record is 2:14:33
  • Large Medals to all Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5K Finishers
  • Prize Money
  • 1/2 zip long sleeve shirts provided to all half and full marathon entrants
  • Race results bib/Tag timing
  • Course features lots of shade and pancake flat
  • Finish inside Bolles Stadium on track
  • Digital clocks at all miles
  • Average temperature is 56 degrees
  • Start and finish location:
    The Bolles School
    7400 San Jose Blvd.
    Jacksonville, FL 32217

One of the last big races of the year, you’re guaranteed to see lots of friendly faces and TONS of fast runners vying for that coveted Boston Marathon qualifying time!

But don’t worry, you don’t have to be fast to have a blast at this race. With options for a 5K, Half or Full Marathon with generous time limits (3.5 hours for the half and 6 hours for the full) everyone is welcome to come out and run their own race, enjoy the scenery and end the year with a BANG!

I’ll be there with lots of my #CoreCrew squad and ALL my Moms on the Run ladies! Come out and run with us! I might even bring mimosas to celebrate after the race. 🙂

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Ameris Bank 2017

1st Place Sports and Tropical Smoothie Cafe have put together an awesome race for us to end the year so don’t miss it…start time is 7am on Saturday, December 16th!

Need to know more? Check out any of the sites below for race and course info, registration links, pricing and more. Stop by any Tropical Smoothie Cafe location or 1st Place Sports and let them know you appreciate all their hard work and dedication to this sport we love!

Ameris Bank Jacksonville Marathon:
Race Website

1st Place Sports:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe:

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