During my San Luis Obispo Ultra Marathon on September 10, 2016, I thought about my core. Rather, I thought about how my core is pretty weak. It was my first trail marathon and a race I ran to prepare for my A race–the Ray Miller 50k in November. I felt great during the run! I felt strong. I felt good. Even with 5,620 feet of climbing and plenty of descending, I was running strong till the very end. On the last big climb, a runner in front of me kept looking back as she didn’t want me to catch her. At the finish line she came over to congratulate me and said, “You were so strong! You pushed me to finish! Thank you!” I really did feel strong and was happy that I ran a strong race.
However, my back was hurting here and there. I don’t normally feel back pain but I felt it a little during the race and was sore afterward. I know it’s from not having a strong core or as I like to say, “Core? What core?” I know it’s there but I need to strengthen it.
Like most runners, I just want to run. Why do I have to do other work? I’ve been reading Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning because I love reading books about ultra running and because I need to continually remind myself to do everything else that will help me a better runner. “Being in good condition throughout the body is important in an endurance event; it’s definitely not just about your feet. Good strong posture–which comes from a strong core–will help take some of the strain and fatigue out of being on your feet for hours or even days.” (page 38)
I’ve done planks and crunches here and there. I tried a plank challenge and then gave up on it. I lose motivation for those types of exercises somewhat quickly. But I need to do it and commit to them like I commit to running the mileage on my training schedule. I have found the best way for me to get them in is to do them after a run or even during a run. Body weight training doesn’t cost anything and I can do them anywhere. It’s been around forever and will continue to rank at the top as an effective exercise. Read more about the top exercise trends for 2016 here.
So I’m committing to it here on my blog! I can incorporate planks, push-ups and crunches after a run. Even if I just do 10-20 to begin with, I just need to make it a habit. I stretch after a run so I can squeeze in a 30 second plank and 10 push-ups after a run. I know that if I can strengthen my core, I’ll be an even stronger runner. I have to put in the work to see results! I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going! I’ll really know when I run my big race in November!
Do you like to just run? What exercises do you want to incorporate into your routine? How do you stay motivated to them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Your path, your pace, Tam