Monday, March 16, 2009

The Effects of Core Training and Stretching

Like yesterday, today is another lazy day. That is, I didn't run. Granted I did run 20 on Saturday and raced miles 10-15, but I still felt good enough to run. I just didn't have the will power. To alleviate my guilt, I've done core strengthening exercises and stretches both days. So it got me thinking, how will a stronger core and better flexibility affect my running performance?

I've read a few articles about the importance of core training. A couple of years ago, I decided to do 500 crunches every day for a week to see how it would affect my running. I remember it made me feel rock steady. It was like my core was a battery back powering my limbs making every stride feel easy. I haven't kept up the core training, but this season, I'd like to put more of a commitment to it. I'm running lower mileage than when I had trained for the NYC marathon last year, so I'm hoping that it will make a difference. If there are studies out there that reflect a quantifiable improvement, I haven't found them.

The same goes for stretching. I think the benefits of stretching, if any, are harder to quantify. But I'm committing to a stretching regimen this season as well. Since I've been doing this for a couple of months now, I've seen a noticeable improvement in my flexibility. I'm nearly as flexible as I was in high school now.

The real test for this core strengthening and stretching regimen begins tomorrow. I'm starting the speed sessions again with NYRR. I'm very anxious about it. I'm guessing I won't be able to keep up with people I used to run with last year, but hopefully I'll catch up in a couple of sessions.

Will start reporting on speed sessions after tomorrow's workout.

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