I’m executing in theme with my plan as laid out last week. Yesterday I put in an easy 5 miles (10:11 pace) around the Upper Back Bay. For anyone who ran the OC Marathon or Half, you would be familiar with my run. I started at the top of the big hill where you climbed out of the Back bay and continued 2 1/2 miles toward the finish line. C’mon. You don’t think I’d climb that hill if I don’t need to do you?
Today is an easy three miles (almost not worth lacing up my shoes) followed by some resistance and power training. Since I don’t have a whole lot else to talk about, I thought I would introduce some of the cross training that I’m doing.
The first set of exercises involves core conditioning. After seeing some of my recent race photos, heaven knows I need this. For example, please note the wonderful slouch in this photo taken at the end of the Long Beach Marathon:
Now, normally I think of core conditioning as doing crunches and planks and all those difficult exercises that makes my stomach hurt. But, the Brain Training approach is a little different. For the next three weeks I’ll work on a set of exercises that (supposedly) isolates the important muscles that I need to use for running – lower abs, hip adductors, hip rotators and glutes - by doing a set of exercises that trains the connections between my brain and these stabilizing muscles.
Lying Hip Abduction: This particular exercise conditions the hip adductors and external hip rotators.
Lie on the floor with your head in your hands. Bend your legs to a 90 degree angle. Now lift the top knee maintaining foot contact 12 to 15 times. Switch sides and repeat. You should feel fatigue in your buttocks. I feel like I’ve been paddled by the Boy’s Dean when I’m done (old people – remember corporal punishment in public school?).
Cook Hip Lift: This exercise conditions your lower abs, hamstrings,and buttocks.
Lie on the floor on your back. Draw one knee to your chest. Then, contract your hamstring and buttocks, lifting your butt off the floor two to three inches. Repeat five times and switch sides. I *always* feel the fatigue in my hamstrings when doing this exercise.
Kneeling Overhead Draw In: This exercise teaches the lower abs to engage and remain stable.
Kneel and put both arms overhead. Then, draw in your lower abs and reach an extra inch or two. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times.
Knee Fall Out: This exercise teaches the lower abs to remain activated as the hips rotate.
Lie face up with feet flat on the floor and knees touching. Contract your deep abs by drawing your navel to your spine. Then, without relaxing the deep abs, let you knees fall out toward the floor. It’s tougher than it looks! Repeat 10 times.
In addition I’m doing plyometric exercises. This week, I will be doing Split Squat Jumps (today) and Wall Jumps (Sunday). The purpose of these power exercises is to teach my legs to activate before hitting the ground – which should result in less time spent on the ground and more time in the air (effectively lengthening my stride and increasing efficiency). I’ve often wondered why in most of my race pictures I have both feet on the ground. By the way – I’m finding these exercises, ummm, challenging.
Split Squat Jump:
Start in a squat with one leg behind the other. Lower yourself into a deep squat, and then jump as high as possible. In midair, switch legs, landing so the other leg is now behind. Immediately lower into a squat and repeat 10 to 20 times. (Umm – more like 3 to 5?)
Face a wall with arms extended. Bend your knees slightly and jump as high as possible. Repeat 10 to 20 times like a human pogo stick.
Here what I can tell you. After one week, I have the sorest abs and quads that I have *ever* had since starting on this quest a couple years ago. I have *no choice* but to run slow!