Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Cookie Parable: Smart Core Conditioning for Endurance Athletes

Hi folks - as all of our Runnerpeeps program alums know, I'm an evangelist of regular core strength conditioning as regular part of your run, swim and bike training.  Every training season, I provide an education seminar on this topic for the program.   I also incorporate this into every training plan I provide.  And, I often ASK each you about this topic during 1:1 discussions.   Simply put, it is imperative to your endurance training to also spend time each week tending to your core strength.   

Some of you may smugly say, "oh, no, not me, Jeffries.... I have the core strength of a titanium anvil -- firm and strong.  My gluts put Kardashian to shame.  And, I look terrific in my saucy LuLu Lemon capris.   No worries."   OK, great.  Well, for the rest of you, take this simple test.   Simply hold a plank position for as long as you can, without breaking form, and in proper position the whole time.    No need to tell me your results.   Just use this as a benchmark.   This'll be a discussion point in our base training phase over the Winter.

My belief is...

* if you hold plank < 1min, you need to spend much more time each week developing this strength.  You have the core strength of a jelly donut.    Make core strength improvements a priority!

* if you hold plank between 1 and 2min, you are in OK shape, but not fabulous.  Your core strength is like a jelly tot cookie... sorta crusty on the outside, but squishy and soft in the center.  No attaboys for that.    Make a commitment to improve this to +2min by end of the Spring season.  See workout recommendation below.

* if you hold plank between 2-3min, you're OK... while you're not titanium, you do have decent core strength.  I declare you an oatmeal cookie.   I ask that you simply maintain this goodness each week. 
* if you hold plank >3min, you are doing well.   I declare you a pretzel -- hard on the outside, hard on the inside.   It is my highest compliment. You are the pinnacle of cookie firmness :  )  Keep it up.

Here are some Q&A about this training, compiled by our crack reporting staff:

 Q:  Jeffries, I really think coconut maroons are an underrated cookie. 
A:  That's good information, thanks for sharing.  However it isn't in the form of a question and non-germane to the topic.  Next question. 

Q: Jeffries, my core is ridiculously fit.  Pilates instructors gawk in jealousy.  To showcase my fabulous abs to the world, I often wear a jog bra to church.  Do you do that, too?
A:  Um, no.  I’m Unitarian.

Q:  Jeffries, I have a sassy leopard skin unitard and matching yoga mat -- should I wear those for these workouts?
A:   Rock the unitard.

Q:   Jeffries, these workouts make my core ache.  You stink.  I hate these workouts.
A:   A bit of aching is fine to me… keep it up.  And, thanks for the kind words!

Here’s the 20min training routine I recommend – happy training!