Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 35 - Burning River 100 - Core Strength.

An Awesome Morning Run in Ute Park
 After I signed up for the Burning River I went and bought a gym membership. Why would I join a gym to run 100 miles? Well it is certainly not for the treadmill! I’ve never been much of a gym rat but since I’ve been working on an exercise science degree I’ve discovered the importance of core strength not just for running but for all sports, as well as everything we do to include aging. Balance, posture, stability, and back health are all related to core strength.

So what exactly is the core? For the longest time I thought a strong core meant having six pack abs and didn’t see how that had anything to do with running or cycling. In fact, the core is every muscle in our trunk; back, chest, oblique’s, glutes - pretty much everything but the limbs. All movement and power either originates or transfers through the core.  How many runners have you seen all hunched over when they run? Or their back bent in a bow? This is all due to weak core muscles. During running, stability and posture problems put stress on joints at odd angles eventually causing injury to ligaments, tendons, or worse. Do this day in and day out and injury is imminent (approximately 60% of runners experience an injury per year). During a long run as the body gets tired the posture gets worse and the on the joints, tendons, and ligaments become more exaggerated causing even more potential for injury. Do this for 100 miles and any posture, stability, or compensation issues are exponentially magnified.  I don’t have enough fingers to count the runners I’ve seen at 75+ miles in hundred mile races leaned over side-ways, or hunched over, or limping along because their core muscle gave out on them.

So what are good core exercises? My favorite and apparently one of the most effective is the good ol push-up.  Sara Klein in the Huffington Post  even goes so far as to say the push-up is the greatest exercise in the world! James Herrera the US National BMX National Team Coach and friend of mine recommended years ago to do 100 push-ups a day. When done right push-ups work the abs, shoulders, torso, chest, and lower & upper back. That’s a lot of territory for one exercise! So to do a 100 push-ups, I like to do 5 sets of 20 throughout the day at work. Just get up from my desk knock-out 20 push-ups and go back to work. When I go to the gym I do sets of 20 between other exercises.

The list of core exercises can go forever. Some of my favorites are below:

Rowing works almost all the muscles of the core and is a good warm-up

The Push-up Down Position

Push-up Up Position

Side Plank (30 - 60 sec each side)

Ball Crunch

Ball Rotation (Side to Side)

Torso Rotation

Lat Pull

Back Extension Down Position

Back Extension Up Position

Sitting Row
Week 35 Burning River 100 Training Summary

                                 AM                                          PM
Mon:                                           Ride Home from Work   7.5 Miles

Tues:     Run 8 Miles                  Ride Home from Work   8.8 Miles
             Ride Work 8.5 miles

Wed:     Run 6.2 Miles                   Core Strength Workout (Gym)
             Ride Work 8.5 Miles

Thurs:   Run 10.3 Miles
              Mountain Bike 30 Miles

Fri:        Hike 5 Miles
              Road Bike 28 Miles

Sat:       Run 15.2 Miles                          Road Ride 22 Miles
             Core Strength Workout (Gym)

Sun:      Run 7 Miles
             Mountain Bike 46 Miles

Week Total
Run – 46.6 Miles
Bike – 159.3 Miles
Total – 205.9 Miles

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