Runner’s Strength Routine

Today was a non-running day. I was at school for nearly thirteen hours so by the time I got home I made dinner and parked myself on the couch. I did manage a little bit of strength training. Most training plans encourage runners to foam roll, stretch and strength train several times a week. A regular routine can help prevent injuries, avoid muscle imbalances and encourage strong running form. For years I have tried to be consistent with this aspect of my training. It has been a challenge.

photo 2 (6)

My Lonely Yoga Mat

If I was asked to choose between running five miles or foam rolling for five minutes, I’d choose running. I don’t understand how I can be so lazy when it comes to a stretching and strengthening. My yoga mat, stretching band and foam roller used to be permanently set up on my living room floor. I thought walking passed it several times a day might encourage me stop and strengthen, but I ended up just walking past the equipment and telling myself I’d do it later.

For the past two weeks I’ve been sticking to a new routine. I tailored it to focus on strengthening my core, hips and glutes. You can easily switch out the exercises based on what you need to work on. This plan works for me because it’s only twenty minutes and is continuous. I start my timer and run straight through the entire routine without a break. I’ve found that plans that have me stop in between exercises often result in me just stopping all together. I also add strength training to my moleskin (more on the moleskin in an upcoming post) for twice a week. I love that feeling of checking things off my to-do list. After researching the best exercise for hip and glute strength, I wrote out a twenty exercise routine on index card. I’ve committed to doing the routine twice a week and have found that doing it right after a run  or on off days usually works best for me.

Check out my 20 minute plan:

  1. Roll Left Side
  2. Plank
  3. Roll Right Side
  4. Squats
  5. Lunges
  6. Left Side Plank
  7. Left Side Clam Shell
  8. Right Side Plank
  9. Right Side Clam Shell
  10. Left Side Pistol Squat
  11. Fold Over Stretch
  12. Right Side Pistol Squat
  13. Right Side Hip Hike
  14. Right Side Lateral Leg Lifts
  15. Left Side Hip Hike
  16. Left Side Lateral Leg Lift
  17. Bridge
  18. 1 Leg Bridge Alternating Sides
  19. Plank
  20. Pigeon on Each Side
Lululemon Run Club: Brianna's Grad School Graduation Party

Random Picture: Lululemon Run Club at Brianna’s Grad School Graduation Party

If you have the time and money, you might consider attending yoga classes. In the past I have prioritized going to yoga a few times a week. I especially love power yoga’s ability to improve my flexibility, strengthen my body and clear my mind. This year with my new role as a Dean and grad school I felt the need to choose between being a dedicated yogi and running. Running won. I have been able to commit to a thirty minute yoga routine that I use once a week. Shannon Sodano, a high school friend of mine has several shorter yoga routines that give me the yoga benefits without having to spend time driving to a yoga studio and money on an expensive yoga package. Thanks Shannon!

photo (19)

Random Picture #2: Trying to wear as many colors as possible on my Sunday run

What is your strengthening plan?

Chicagoland Spring Half Marathon Race Review

Hi Restless Runners! I’m the Third Culture Foodie turned Restless Runner’s little sister! If you want to get to know me a little better click here, but for now, I want to give you a review of the Chicagoland Spring Half Marathon I ran this past weekend.
photo 2
(Note from Cristina: I AM SO PROUD OF MY BABY SISTER!!!!!!!!)
photo 1
So, it might have been the shining sun, it might have been the scenic course, or it might have been the PR, but I had a great experience with this half. The race actually took place in Schaumburg, a northwest suburb of Chicago. At first I was a little turned off by this, I mean I wanted to race IN the CITY OF CHICAGO, not some random suburb! But by the time I arrived to the start, I quickly realized why it was held here, the course was BEAUTIFUL, and the 65 degree weather didn’t hurt either! The whole run you’re surrounded by tall trees, pretty ponds, and awesome spectators!
photo 3
As for the actual run, per usual, I was loving life up until 9 miles. Then after that, I found myself checking my garmin obsessively! I was SO ready to be done with the run! Through the power of my legs and the power of the Pitbull songs I was cranking, I finished. And PR’ed! 1:36! Woohoo!!
photo 4
Thinking about running this race?
-Scenic Course/Lots of Shade (in case its a hot day)
-We got racing Hoodie’s rather than Tshirt’s! They also had XS!
-ITS CHEAP! The race cost me $55 dolla!
-Not enough bathrooms. I actually started off the race slightly late due to this.
-Not enough water stations (the Full Marathon had a very similar course, I would not have been happy with the water supply if i was running the full but it wasn’t too bad for the half)


Crystal Cove Trail Run


Krystal, one of my coworkers, always says I look like I’m gliding when I’m running. Yesterday I was not gliding. Friday’s 7:13 average pace was easy compared to the 9:41 I ran Saturday morning. The difference? I hit the trails.

I’ve met a lot of great runners over the past few months at races. Kurt, an avid trail and road runner, planned an 11 miler at Crystal Cove in Laguna. I’m glad I went in with no expectations because I might have not signed up for the challenge had I known what was coming. We climbed nearly 2000 feet over the course of the run. By comparison the Palos Verdes half, a race I always think of when of my hilliest runs, had just over 500 feet of elevation gain. The downhills were tough too, with terrain requiring full attention. I only fell once!


I feel like I’ve been introduced to a whole new world. Yes, I have trails before, but nothing like this. I was mountain climbing! I now know why trail runners have such a snooty attitude. Running trails really hard! Running on trails must make you stronger for the road. It’s also a great mental challenge. At an easy pace I can run forever. I haven’t had that “I really need to walk” experience in a while. It’s was fun to push myself  past my comfort zone and have a run where I reached my threshold and had to stop. I’m going to try to do a few intense trail runs every month, and I’m hoping my run club buddies will join me. I feel like it will make me stronger and it’s a great way to see the beautiful state of California.

Thinking of going on a trail run? Don’t make my rookie mistakes. Carry water, salt tablets, electrolytes and definitely carry your phone. Also, if you are a numbers person, have fun challenging yourself to climb higher. Your splits are going to be significantly slower, but it’s fun to look at your elevation. Are you in? Let’s hit the trails!