Today was the first day of my ten-week training leading to the National 1/2 Marathon. I bundled up in my cold weather gear to run 4 miles. After deciding I would go out fast, I remembered that I live in a neighborhood filled with hills (some subtle, some super annoying). About halfway through the run I was a bit winded and towards the end I got a side stitch. I worked through it but could tell that my lung capacity has dropped a little since I have not been running as much since October. But that’s ok because 13.1 miles is not as daunting as 26.2 and I plan to switch my training up a bit this round to give me a new outlook on my running routine.
As I’ve noted in other posts, I want to work on my posture and strength so on my cross train/strength train days (see the new page training schedules) I plan to do more yoga and pilates classes which will help lead to a stronger core. Core muscles–those that stabilize the shoulders, spine and pelvis–help correct postural imbalances and build an excellent foundation for the lower extremities. A little time dedicated to the core is a huge benefit for a runner’s movement because the legs are better supported. There are lots of exercises, both using weights like dumbbells, kettle balls, medicine balls, and stability balls, or by using your own body weight. Some exercises I recommend include: push ups, squats, seated oblique twist with a medicine ball, hip lifts, etc. The nice thing is that you can do these at home or the gym. A quick online search showed me some others that I plan to try including: plank abdominal exercise, lunge with twists and alternating Super Man.
When my workouts include working the core I feel healthier and stronger. Just running is not going to change your body for life, but working your core will help ensure you keep moving even during the latter years in life.