Category Archives: Workouts

6 Core Workouts for Runners

Strong runners need a strong core. Here's 6 core workouts for runners to keep you strong and injury free

It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

Injury Prevention Exercises for Runners

Hill Workouts for Runners

Speed Workouts for Runners

This month the focus is on core workouts.

When I was sidelined with my first running injury, the importance of a strong core was drilled into my head by my physical therapist. I knew that core strength was important for a runner (and everybody) in injury prevention. More and more research shows that any lower body injury (feet, ankles, knees, hips) stems from a weak core. I thought I was doing a pretty good job in training it. I did my planks and side planks daily holding each for 3-4 minutes. I worked my low back and hips 3x/week in yoga or with other exercises. So when Heather started testing my core strength and balance, I was shocked at how poorly I scored.

Here’s a simple way to test your core strength:

With bare feet, stand facing a full length mirror.  Shift your weight to your right foot. Your left food doesn’t even have to come off the ground. Watch what happens to your body.  Does your hip stick out as you shift your weight to the side? Does your entire body lean over? Do you fall over?

If any of those happen, it means that your core is tight, but not strong.  Every time you take a step your body is out of balance and you sway from side to side.  Walking is essentially a series of one-legged stands.  If you can’t stand on one leg without some part of your body sticking out to that side, you end up rocking or waddling when you walk.  A truly strong core is mobile and relaxed enough to allow you to shift your weight from side to side without all that extra unnecessary motion. The same applies with running.

The core area is made up of your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. These muscles are vital in:

  1. Improving your balance and stability
  2. Posture
  3. Makes activities of daily living (ADLs) easier
  4. Improves your athletic and fitness performance

FYI – While I am a certified RRCA Running Coach, I am not your coach. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Strengthen your running when you strengthen your core with this core workout for runners.

And here are even more Core Workouts from 5 of my running friends. Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand whenever you need it.

Nellie brings a great workout specifically for anyone who’s had Diastasis Recti.

Nellie Core Workout

Carly has a great workout that features Quadripeds. FYI – I had to Google what that was. I call it Bird Dog but Quadriped sounds so much cooler!

Core Workout for RunnersLaura’s Pilates inspired workout will make you feel your core for sure.

Core Workout for Runners This Runner's Recipes

Sarah has a quick workout that can easily be done post run.

Keep your core strong with this quick core workout for runners-RunFarGirlAnd Allie has a killer video of all your favorite (or least favorite) core moves.

There you go – get working on that strong core now!

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

What’s your favorite exercise for working your core?





The Best Injury Prevention Exercises for Runners

Stay off the injured runner list with the best injury prevention exercises for runners.

It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

This month, the topic is Injury Prevention Essentials for Runners.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve had my fair share of running injuries during the past few years. With each injury, I’ve spent some time in physical therapy where I’ve learned a lot. In the past, I always went for the bigger, flashier strength training exercises, thinking that I was gaining more. The more complicated the better, right? Not so much. The basics work. It’s all you need. However, what’s the key to making the basic exercises work?

Doing them. Consistently. And with good form.

Here are 7 exercises that I do routinely to help keep my body strong and off the injured list.


Keep running strong and injury free with these 7 essential injury prevention exercises for runners.

Single Leg Squat (Good for pelvis stabilization, glute strength, balance)

  • Balance on your left foot. Bending at the knee, sit your hips back as if you are going to sit in a chair behind you. Aim for your upper leg to be parallel or lower to the ground.
  • Return to standing position. Repeat 12 reps before switching to the right leg.

Eccentric Calf Raises (Good for Achilles Tendonitis)

  • Start on your tiptoes on the edge of a step, gradually lower your heel below the forefoot.
  • Using the other leg, raise yourself back to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of 15 reps of each exercise, twice a day.

Dog & Fire Hydrant (Good for glutes)FYI: I’m sure there is a proper name for this but I think this gives a good visual of what the exercise should look like.

  • Get on the floor with knees below your hips and hands beneath shoulders.
  • Lift right knee off the floor and way out to the side, like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. (Sound effects are optional).
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds and lower slowly.
  • Perform 12 reps, then repeat on the left leg.

Single Leg Bridge (Good for glutes)

  • Lay with back on the floor, feet flat and knees bent, arms on the floor for stabilization.
  • Raise right leg up off the floor.
  • Pressing your left heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a bridge position.
  • Slowly lower your body to the floor and repeat 12-15 reps on each side.

Lateral Leg Raise (Good for hips and glutes)

  • Lay on your right side with your legs extended out and stacked one atop the other.  Head can be supported with hand.
  • Engage your left glute muscles and slowly lift up your leg keeping your foot in a neutral position.
  • Lower leg to starting position. Do 12 reps. Repeat on other side. May use a resistance band for higher intensity.

Plank (Good for core strength)

  • Begin in push up position and lower down to your forearms, making sure shoulders are over elbows and palms are flat on the floor.
  • Make a straight line from your head to your heels, hold this position for 20-60 seconds.

Side Plank (Good for core strength)

  • Place your right elbow on the ground.
  • Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line, balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
  • Keep your waist up and lifted, and don’t sink into your bottom shoulder. Reach your left hand to the ceiling.
  • Hold for 20-60 seconds before repeating on left side.

And here are even more Injury Prevention Exercises and Tips from 4 of my running friends. Allie is too busy having fun in Italy to join us this month. Can you believe she didn’t invite us along? The nerve! 😉

Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand to keep running strong!

Three key moves for any runner from Sarah.

Prevent running injuries with these moves from RunFarGirl

Don’t forget the Donkey Kicks from Laura.

Injury Prevention for Runners

Go Around the World with Carly.

Injury Prevention for Runners - Fine Fit Day

Nellie has tips for preventing injuries.

Nellie's Injury Prevention Tips Graphic

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and Running Coaches’ Corner this week.

What’s your favorite injury prevention tool or exercise?

Race Pace Workout

trail running happyfitmama

I think I caught race fever over the weekend.

With a ton of friends racing local 5k’s, the Maine Coast Half/Full Marathon(way to go Sarah and coaching client, Cindy!), Sugarloaf Marathon(way to go Kailey on your 2nd marathon!!), and one of my favorite races, Wallis Sands Half (Robin had a 12 minute PR!!), I felt the urge to register for all the races. And I can’t forget to give a High 5 to Allie for killing her Tri on Sunday (You raise me up Allie!) and my coaching client, Dawn, for scoring a huge pure and 2nd overall woman in her 1/2.

The grit and determination had me fired up. I know the hustle and grind of training, especially long distance training, is a pain but I do like following a good plan. I’m this close (you can’t see me but I’m holding my fingers about an inch apart) to signing up for a fall marathon. It’s been over a year since I ran a race…do I even know how to do it anymore?

I ran trails with my friend Karin on Saturday afternoon. It was simply marvelous. All I was thinking – Why don’t I do this more often? Dirt just feels so much better. Not just for my body but for my mind and spirit. It’s so quiet and serene in the woods. And I feel like a kid again, running through the woods, playing with friends. One thing is for sure my body could tell I ran on different terrain. My hips and glutes were sore from climbing, hopping and jumping. I’m committing myself to doing more trails from now on. I need it!


It’s hard to believe that I was on the pain train fighting off injury (maybe?) two weeks ago. I was hesitant to go to a chiropractor, but I thought, why not? My mid back was painful to the touch. The fascia in an area was just not happy. And my Piriformis was inflamed because of it. Last Tuesday I had an adjustment and it seemed like everything went right back into place. I’ve felt good as new ever since then. That and I’ve been practicing good biomechanics while seated (I’m a habitual leg crosser or will have one leg tucked underneath me). I’ve also been doing very, very basic spinal exercises. I scoffed at the idea of doing a side plank or plank with my knees on the ground – too easy! But I think a side plank with just the hips elevated is actually harder than the full position. Try it – you might be surprised too. I’ve felt stronger in a few days with 5 simple exercises. Another reminder that simple is best.

So I’ve got a fun workout for you today!

I love doing ladder workouts at the track. The best thing about it – what goes up, must come down! The same applies with this Race Pace Workout. You start out at a blazin’ 5k pace and finish the set at a comfortable marathon pace. Those 4 mins at marathon pace feel downright slow after the other paces. I’ve been doing this workout every so often when I feel the need to dial up some speed but don’t want to necessarily do it at the track. Don’t get me wrong, I have grown to love the track but sometimes I feel that I need to do the work on the road to really feel like it’s possible to run that fast on something other than a pancake flat surface that goes round and round.

Dial up your speed with this Race Pace Workout on your next run.

Repeating this workout 2x, it would be 50-60 minutes depending on your pace for the warm up and cool down. If you wanted more, repeat it 3x. Either way, it’s a great way to push the pace with variety.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

You can find more speed workouts on my Pinterest board created just for the need for speed!

Do you ever get race fever?

Where do you prefer to do speed workouts?