Runners are always being preached at to fix their core strength. As if running wasn’t exhausting enough.
Unless you're a professional runner, you likely only have time in your day to fit in a run, let alone feel guilty about not spending the recommended 15 minutes per day strengthening your hips and glutes. Here are 5 easy ways - hacks - to sneak core work in to your daily routine. You'll strengthen your core AND help improve your running form, efficiency, and economy in the long run (pun intended).
Adults need recess too! NPR agrees. Plus, core routines can be boring, which is half the reason we trick ourselves into believing we can’t make time for them. Instead of lying on a dirty floor in the gym to try and squeeze random muscles you didn’t even know you had, make core work fun and exciting. Recruit friends to play Frisbee in the park, play a round of beach volleyball, race your friends up the stairs, or dance! Each of these exercises is great for core strength, and are an easy way to work out without feeling lame. If you're in NYC, North Brooklyn Runners even hosts an annual "field day", check it out here.
Stand Up Straight
Practicing good posture is the ultimate way to kill two birds with one stone. You'll get your mom off your back about your slouching tendencies AND strengthen the muscles in your core that help you stay upright at the end of a long run or race. Even spending just five minutes a day focusing on pulling your shoulders back and standing up tall is beneficial. Check out this posture diagram from Physio Podcast.
Run on Trails
As if you needed another excuse to hit the dirt, running on trails is great for working the small muscles in your ankles, knees, hips, back, and abs that are responsible for stabilization when you run. Adding an extra trail session into your weekly routine will have huge pay-offs for your core strength. We've got your comprehensive guide to trail running in Brooklyn here.
Sounds silly, right? In reality, bouts of laughing (i.e. the non-stop type of laughing that happens after 3 AM when you meet up with your old college roommates for the first time since graduation) actively engage your core muscles in a similar manner as when you do repetitive exercises such as crunches. Note: laughing as a core workout probably doesn’t count if it happens after bar close in a greasy pizza joint.
Dog? Baby? Laundry?
The ultimate core hack is to use what you have available on a daily basis as implements for a core workout. Have a toddler? Make your child sit on your back while you do pushups to increase the benefit of the exercise while also entertaining your kid. Not comfortable using your baby as a weight? Play a round of tug-of-war with your dog instead while engaging your core muscles. Dogless and babyless? The next time you do laundry, use the hamper of dirty clothes or the bottle of laundry detergent to make a DIY routine. Do pushups against the washing machine, bicep curls with the detergent, and squats while holding the hamper over your head.
Of course, there's nothing like good old-fashioned planks and push-ups to strengthen your core and get killer abs, but like you, we're busy and love to squeeze in a little core work whenever we can. It's marathon training (and beach-bod!) season after all!
Running blogger Anna Weber is a 2:38 marathoner (!!!) who's qualified for the Olympic Trials, runs with our friends over at Oiselle (only love for them here!), a Nuun and Zensah ambassador, a chemist *and* a believer in karma (like us).