January 19, 2015

Core Focus

A while ago, one of our fellow runners inquired about core training. I have a love-hate relationship with core work and yes, I know it's very important for runners! One of my personal challenges is that I often do my strength training after my cardio workouts, meaning that I often skip out on them if I'm tired or in a hurry. Knowing my challenge was half the battle so I'm making some changes this year.

My approach to core and other strength training is simple - I'll do it in the morning before I get ready for work. Each morning when I get up, I'm making an effort to do something that requires less than 7 minutes to enhance my core strength. Why 7 minutes? That seems to be an amount of time that I can absorb in my morning routine without having to set my alarm any earlier. Bonus!

   * POPSUGAR Fitness: The Quickest Muffin-Top Workout on YouTube (5 minutes)
   * POPSUGAR Fitness: 5 Minutes to a Sexy Back and 6-pack Abs on YouTube (5 minutes)
   * Plank sequence
   * Push-ups

I like these options because they're simple and don't require much advance planning or thought in the morning. That's a key for success for me - I just wake up, pick a workout and go. And in full disclosure, I usually do them in my pjs!

Want to know more about why you should care about core strength?  A quick Google search yielded several results for tips and instructions for why runners should care about their core. I learned that core strength can help reduce injury, enhance speed, and maintain form longer. With these reasons, it seems like a no brainer to focus on core strength in addition to traditional running workouts.

Read more:
3 Reasons Runners Should Perform Core Workouts from Active.com
5 Core Workouts for Stronger Runners from Runners World
Building Running-Specific Core Strength from Runners World

What are your favorite core exercises?

Disclaimer: I'm not a fitness or medical professional and gathered the information from this post from doing my own research to help improve my core strength.


  1. That's a great idea to do it in the morning! I kinda hate working on my core, but getting it out of the way first thing in the morning sounds doable! :O

  2. Since I am injury prone it looks like this is something I need to dedicate more time too! -M

  3. I should definitely do more strength training. I do however do my planks at least 5 days a week!

  4. This is great! I have recently started back with core work after having EK but I need to do more!

  5. Great plan, Christine! I have a super weak core. Just this morning my TRX instructor called me out (again!) for it. I need to strengthen my abs!

  6. This is so timely. I've been searching for a good core routine that's under 10 minutes that I have no excuse to complete multiple times a week. For some reason, core is the area I neglect the most, and I honestly think it's because I'm never able to find a routine that is both challenging (while being able to keep proper form), yet time effective.

  7. I feel like I'm never doing enough strength training. Like you, I'm trying to do better about spending even 5-10 minutes at home working on this, particularly my core. It can never be strong enough!

  8. The CORE is the foundation for all functional fitness for sure!

  9. My favorite core workouts are olympic and power lifts with barbells. You don't think of them as "core" but to get the barbell over your head you have to utilize all those muscles. Before you know it, you've gained a lot of strength there.

  10. My favorite core exercises are planks, especially side planks!!