Tag Archives: core fitness

Five Favorite Stability Ball Workouts

As much as I love to just run, I know my aging body needs a balance of running and core strength work.  Right now, I am enjoying some easy miles a few times a week and adding in more core and strength workouts before I start rebuilding my base mileage for early spring 10ks and half marathons. Honestly, it is a mental challenge at times to commit to consistent, daily and weekly workouts that strengthen my core, improve my balance and my flexibility.  However, I know how important all those pieces are to my continued running success.


Stability Ball-Perfect for Balance and Strength

Lately, the stability ball has kept me focused, engaged and motivated to incorporate core strength workouts into my weekly running schedule.  I have a few “Go-to” Stability Ball Exercises that I rounded up from this SITE

  1. Wall Squat-Great for strengthening back and quads- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  2. Bridge-Focus on the Hips- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  3. Pike-Love this SITE for proper form and technique
  4. Ball Leg Lifts- Great video HERE
  5. Reverse Lunge- Check out this VIDEO  for proper form and technique

Finally, this is a good set of exercises with the Stability Ball that I have kept me engaged and motivated to be more consistent with core and strength training!

How do you fit in core strength to your weekly running routine?  What is your “must have” piece of equipment for core and strength training?  


Friday Fitness: Favorite Exercise Equipment


Training Update and a Focus on Core Fitness and Strength Training-  The month of April {four weeks}, I spent focusing on building in more base mileage.  The goal was to reestablish a strong base and increase aerobic endurance.  In the aerobic phase, it is all about increasing stamina and endurance.  My mileage increased, but I was keeping my pace in the “low heart rate zone.”   I ran easy miles each week, focusing on 6 to 7 miles, three times a week, as well as a long run of 10 miles.  Typical weekly mileage right now is around 27-30 miles a week.

Towards the beginning of May, I reevaluated the amount of time I was spending on my core and strength training.  I must admit, I am not always great about making core and strength training a priority.  In order to finish strong, you must train strong!

Two weeks ago, I met with a personal fitness trainer.  Through working with her, I have learned some great core and strength exercises that utilize minimal equipment.  We focused on sets of exercises that targeted many areas at once, called compound exercises.  I really enjoyed my sessions with this local, personal fitness trainer.  However, weekly sessions can  be a bit expensive for my budget.  So, I am adding some key equipment to my personal home gym.  



 Equipment Favorites: Core and Strength Training 

Stability Ball stability ball

  • 8 Stability Ball Exercises– The stability ball is a great addition to planks and push -ups.  I have found these challenging, but know that these are key exercises to strengthening my core! Be sure to check out the stability ball exercises link above!  There are so many ways to incorporate the stability ball into any core strength exercise routine!


Bosu Stability Ball

  • Check Out These Bosu Exercises for Runners–  The Bosu Ball is another versatile piece of exercise equipment.  Standing Leg workouts and bridges are just a few key strength exercises for the legs and glutes!  This piece of equipment is currently on my Wish List!!

bosu ball


Resistance Bands

  • Strength Training with Resistance Bands–  I love using resistance bands to complete exercises like the “Monster Walks” which help to strengthen the glutes!  Check out the above link for various exercises to do with resistance bands!  These resistance bands are also great for doing “Side Clam Shells” to increase hip/glute strength.

resistance bands


Neoprene Dumbell

  • Lifting weights has never really been my thing!  However, at my session last week with my fitness trainer, I worked on using dumbbells as part of the strength training routine.  Here is another great link for workouts to do with dumbbells– I typically use two ten pound dumbbells.


Importance of Core and Strength Training- A strong core leads to better running performance.  When runners have a strong core-form and cadence improve.  Overall, spending time each week on core and strength will lead to stronger and faster running.  

  • Twice a week, after a shorter, easy run- I incorporate core and strength training.  I rotate between using the above pieces of equipment.  I don’t do everything each time.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you have at home for core and strength training?  How often do you incorporate strength training into your weekly running schedule?  

A Little Bit Of Everything This Week

A busy, hectic week! Monday was MLK Jr. Holiday, so that meant a four day week. However, that four day week felt like forever.

Let me share my week in review!

Monday Day Running and a Hike through My Backyard

Love Nature! Running and Hiking!

Loved hiking after my 5 mile run Monday! Nature reminds us to close our eyes and breathe deeply!


  • The joy of playing outside,
  • exploring nature at any age,
  • fresh, natural exercise
  • opportunities,
  • adventure,
  • Nature reminds us to keep an open mind!

Then, the work week started! Tons of coffee and hot lemon water kept me going each morning! 

Starting my day with hot lemon water warms my body and the lemon gets me energized!  Southern Maryland winters are really just cold and rainy, but I enjoy hot beverages each morning on the way to work!

My favorite coffee and almond milk creamer!

My favorite coffee and almond milk creamer!

Middle School Science Homework and Running

The middle of the week consisted of an evening devoted to science homework with my redhead! She is currently in 8th grade!  The homework topic was – “How does the potential and kinetic energy (mechanical energy) change to thermal energy in a Roller Coaster Ride?”  The science homework led my thoughts to running and wondering how runners use potential energy during sprinting and long distance running!  I’m not an expert scientist, but googling, the potential energy of runners did lead to some interesting articles and graphics!  Interesting, scientific thoughts on running found HERE

Running Stride and Kinetic/Potential Energy

Running Stride and Kinetic/Potential Energy

Running and Teaching-Interwoven

As a runner, I always find myself comparing life to running.  Running creates life lessons.  Running teaches us faith, determination, perseverance and pure grit! I feel that running helps me to be a better teacher in the classroom.  In class, I’m teaching my students to stay focused and engaged.  On the road, running, I’m apply those same goals of focus and engagement!

Core Strength Workout at the Gym

Core Strength Workout at the Gym

Despite a busy week of homework and lesson planning, I did make time for the gym!  Focusing on more core fitness workouts! My personal trainer session two weeks ago was very informative! I’m continuing to work on building strength in my hips, glutes and lower legs!


2 mile treadmill run

  • 2 sets of 20 kettle bell squats
  • 2 sets of 15 Bosu ball – hand to elbow planks
  • 2 sets of squats with 12 pound workout ball
  • 2 sets of 15 leg presses on machine with 20 pound weights

Currently Reading and What’s By My Bedside:

Bedside Essentials!

Bedside Essentials!

I am currently reading, Quick Strength for Runners by Jeff Horowitz.  It is a great, informative book with lots of photos geared towards understanding the muscles of the body and how they relate to running.  The book also has tons of photos related to numerous strength training workouts! The book is broken into sections on Standing and Weighted Exercises, as well as, Floor Exercises. Thanks to Sue, who blogs over at This Mama Runs For Cupcakes, for the book suggestion on her website!

The current issue of, Running Times, magazine has a great article on building your connective tissue to run stronger and avoid injury!  Love the page, in this magazine, on using resistance band routines for training connective tissue! 

Running Injury Free in 2015

Running Injury Free in 2015

Topical Ointments for Muscles and Tendons:

  • Willow Balm -Natures Topical Aspirin
    Features white willow bark and helichrysum as active ingredients
  • Power Flex Pain Relief Cream {muscle and joint pain, arthritis, tendonitis, sprains, strains and backache}

I love ordering the above items, off of AMAZON!

What are you currently reading related to running?  Do you use topical pain relief creams for muscle and tendon soreness?  Does the science behind running interest you ?