Running From Your Life

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The Austin Distance Challenge may be wrapping up, but spring is around the corner, the days are getting longer and this is just a beautiful time of year to run. When you are not running, hit the gym for some run-specific cross-training. Pure Austin Fitness Specialist Chelsea Paul demonstrates a few exercises you can perform in the gym to enhance your running prowess. She focuses on some alternate core and balance exercises, which are going to show their benefits toward the end of your run when you normally start to fatigue. Run through each of these exercises three times for a total of 12 sets of exercise. Repeating this routine two to three times a week will result in noticeable improvement.

The first exercise Chelsea shows us is the one-leg squat touch down. Chelsea recommends 15 reps on each leg. This exercise will develop glute and hamstring strength, as well as promote balance and flexibility.

> Begin standing with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, hips and shoulders squared, and with your hands By your side

> Lift one leg off the ground and Bend at the knee to 90 degrees

> While bending the knee of the foot that is planted on the floor, hinge over at the waist, keeping your back flat, neck neutral, eyes at 45 degrees, and your opposite leg Bent Behind you. Then reach the opposite hand toward the planted foot

> Contracting the glutes and hamstrings of the leg that is squatting, lift your upper body back up to starting position

After this, we progress to mountain climbers. These are going to enhance power, promote core strength and help you break a sweat in the gym. Keep these up for 30 to 60 seconds

> Begin in plank position: hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders and position one leg forward bent under your body.

> Extend your other leg straight back

>While keeping your upper body strong and steady, alternate leg positions by pushing hips up and immediately extending forward leg back and pulling rear leg forward under body.

Next is the push-up to side plank. This is a tough exercise that promotes total body strength, core stability and balance. Maintain a strong, tight core throughout the movement to reap the full benefits. Chelsea recommends 10 to 16 reps. core stability is critical to running efficiency.

> Begin in plank position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Perform a push-up, keeping your neck neutral, eyes at 45 degrees and elbows aligned with your shoulders

> Return to plank position and then rotate your body to the left, taking the left arm straight up as you balance on the right arm, keeping feet staggered

> Lower back down into another push-up and repeat on right side

Strong abs are critical to running efficiency and power. Chelsea doesn’t want you to fatigue too early, so she demonstrates a popular abdominal strengthener, the V-up. Focusing on correct form here is going to significantly increase the benefits of the exercise. keep the lower back lifted; don’t collapse and round. if flexibility is an issue (for runners? really?), then bend your knees. go for 15 reps.

>  Begin by laying flat on a mat with your arms straight overhead and legs separated hip-width apart

>  Engage your core and then simultaneously raise both your legs and arms, focusing on keeping your lower back as straight as possible

> Return to starting position by slowly lowering both your arms and legs back down to the mat

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