60-Day Plank Challenge

Still coming off of the high of shaving almost 3 minutes off of my 10K time (down from 55:25 to 52:55), I’m inspired to really focus on my core and hip strength. This morning, I started a 60-Day Planking Streak, which will require me to hold a straight, down-the-middle plank each morning before starting my day. Of course, streaks don’t always go the way we plan, so if I need to plank before bed, that’s fine – as long as it gets done.

Today was Day 1/60, and I held my plank for 1 minute and 11 seconds. I’ll try to add 5 seconds each day, but if I need to repeat a particular time, I will. Eventually, I’ll work on my side planks as well. Those are *much* harder for me, but I’ll get there.

One of my favorite Instagram runners (I need to stay off of that app…) has been on a planking streak for almost 3 months and she’s up to 4 minutes! The improvement in her times has been significant, and core strength has a lot to do with it, I’m sure.

Do you incorporate planks into your strength routine? If so, how often and how long do you hold your planks?

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Training Log, February 8-21

Welcome to my training log for the past two weeks! I like to read other bloggers’ training logs to get a sense of how they structure their workouts and posting my own keeps me accountable. I’ll also try to post at least one workout or run each week on Instagram as well.

That said, getting sick, working 10 hour-plus days, and traveling has led to a less-than-stellar workout schedule, but I managed to fit some activity in. I didn’t run or lift weights while I was sick because the last time I tried to bang out five miles while feeling sick, I ended up feeling worse, and I needed to get better as soon as possible to adequately manage a very busy and tense couple of weeks at work.

February 8-12: complete week off from running and weight-lifting

February 13 – yoga at home (Jillian Michaels – Cardio Yoga)

February 14- Valentine’s Day!

February 15 – 4 mile run

February 16 – Full Ironstrength workout

February 17 – Kettlebell strength workout

February 18 – 4.5 mile run with coworkers

February 19-21 – out of town for a bachelorette party! I didn’t get to fit my usual weekend run in but did lots of airport walking and an “exotic dance” class with the bride and fellow bridesmaids ….that has to count, right? 🙂

How did your training go last week?

Building Lean Muscle While Running: A Holistic Approach to Fitness

From personal experience and the research I’ve read on running and weight loss, I can say that it doesn’t take long for the weight loss associated with running to begin to plateau. After you’ve been running for awhile, and logging lots of miles, the caloric burn per mile gradually decreases. For example, when I first started out as a new runner, I could burn 100 calories per mile, which meant that a 4 or 5 mile steady-state run would yield a 400-500 calorie burn. Now, according to my Garmin, I burn approximately 85-90 calories per mile. While fitness technology is not always accurate, high-quality trackers can provide a good baseline for you to monitor metrics such as calorie burn and average pace over time.

According to my research and in talking with my personal trainer, the decrease in my calorie burn per mile can be attributed to the body becoming more efficient at running. The body adapts very well, and can adjust to a particular exercise that is done repeatedly, without new challenges, rather quickly. This adaptation also translates to minimal changes in body composition. My body started to look very differently after consistently dedicating time to strength-based workouts.

In my last post, I highlighted the role of strength-training in an injury prevention routine, but I also want to take some time to discuss how incorporating strength-training and resistance-training into my fitness regimen has transformed my body:

I have actual, visible muscles now. Even when I was smaller in my early college years and in high school, I didn’t have visible back muscles or toned triceps. It’s so cool to see my efforts paying off. Also, aesthetic reasons aside, the strength I’ve been building in my glutes and core by strength-training is also an improvement in that it enables me to push through harder in the last miles of a long run or race.

To start weight-training, I would recommend Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer from BodyBuilding.com to learn a few basic lifts. This program limits cardio during a couple of phases, so it may be something to try if you are running very little or not preparing for any racing events.

If you do not have a gym membership, I LOVE FitnessBlender workouts for working out at home. FitnessBlender is a YouTube channel created by a husband and wife personal training team, and they are so good at what they do! Doing their workouts a couple of times a week consistently will yield great results.

Gym

Shoulders are starting to come through!

Gym2

‘Mirin the #babygains

I’m not where I want to be in terms of fitness, but where I am now is a dramatic difference from where I was. I can’t wait to see how my more targeted regimen will improve my performance and add more lean muscle mass over the next few months.