Wednesday, February 27, 2008
because...you're not hard core...unless you live hard core...
I love, love, LOVE to run. Crazy, i know, but true. Last summer I began training for my first full marathon. I had done my first half marathon the previous April and loved it so much I was sure the experience of a full marathon would be just as incredible. My training was going really well until i got up to my 18 mile long run. At this point i started to have major problems with my lower back to the point where i could barely walk, let alone run. Sadly, i had to pull out of training and take some time off of running all together. My back continued to hurt for several months, and all i tried to do to remedy it didn't seem to help. I sought the help of some doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists and was still having the same pain. At this point i decided to take matters into my own hands. After doing some research I found something I thought might help me. It is called core training. The term was nothing new to me, being in the fitness industry it is something you hear all the time. But, i had never studied it as in depth until this point. Your core is the center of your body, and when your core is strong everything stemming out from your core will have more power as well.
I began to add more core work into my workouts, and the difference I have seen has been incredible. Not just in my running, but in everything i do. I have really been incorporating more core training with my clients as well, and their response to it has been 100% positive. From improvements in snowboarding, to lifting children, to just getting up and down all the time. Balance, coordination, and overall strength is improved. I'm sold on the fact that core training is important. I'm happy to say i'm running again. I'm preparing for the Salt Lake half in April, and if all goes well I'll have my first marathon completed by the end of the year! :)
A Few Core Exercise Tips
-Do regular exercises such as a shoulder press or bicep curl on a bosu ball, or standing on one foot. This causes you to use those core muscles to balance while doing other exercises.
-Try one legged squats and lunges, again causing you to use your core to balance while you're working your legs.
-Hold the plank position. Get down on your elbows and toes, keeping your hips flat and your body in line. Hold this position for a minute. If that is too easy add a weight on your back or try lifting up one foot at a time. This position is great to work those abs and your lower back at the same time.
-Do walking lunges with a twist. Grab a 5 or 10 lb dumbbell and hold it in front of you. Lunge forward with your right leg and, holding the weight out in front of you twist over to your right as you lunge down. Step back together with your left foot and repeat on the left side. Remember to keep those abs tight the whole time!
-Do pushups! They are a great way to work those core muscles, and get your upper body as well.
-Remember to work the lower back. Most people think "abs, abs, abs" but don't realize that to whittle that middle you can't just work half of it. You've got to strengthen your lower back, and obliques as well....aka your core.