I don’t know about you, but I hate core exercises. Crunches, bird dogs, dead bugs, planks—it doesn’t matter which kind of core exercise we’re talking about, I hate it. Unfortunately, I’m one of those runners who love running and would be happiest if they didn’t have to do anything else 😉 But, of course, it doesn’t work like that.
Core to the Rescue
To stay strong and maintain proper form, runners have to approach their bodies holistically, diligently attending to all muscle parts. That can’t be achieved solely by running, and in fact, there’s a greater risk of injury if you don’t do exercises targeting all areas of the body.
While I love lifting weights and doing a devastating HIIT routine from time to time, there’s something about core exercises that makes me wince whenever I see them scheduled for the day. It might be that their static execution is simply boring or it might be the feeling that I’m barely working out that makes them particularly repulsive. Maybe the two combined. Regardless of what’s the underlying cause of my hatred, one thing stays the same: the core work has to be done!
So if you feel the same about core exercises, here’s what I do to tick off that part of training.
Trick #1: Split the Suffering
I never do all core exercises during one session. For example, I split planks from the core routine—I’ve noticed that it’s easier for me to endure the workout when I have less of the unnerving stuff to do. As a result, I do Monday planks, which have become ingrained in my weekly routine so much that I barely notice doing planks at all. Highly recommended.
Trick #2: Love Mixing
I pair the core routine with something I like, e.g., curls and other upper-body exercises, say, pushups. Even though a runner doesn’t really need strong arms, adding upper-body work makes the core session much more interesting and motivating.
Trick #3: Explore Creativity
I try to be creative with core exercises. Crunches are a sure way to make me hate the whole world. But doing a modified Russian twist with a dumbbell or, better yet, a Russian twist with catching a medicine ball and throwing it back to your exercise partner, keep things spicy. And, man, don’t these abs burn after such a darling!
I also often come up with various exercises once I’m warmed up and in the “core zone” so to speak. Actually, most of my key core work happens that way. The hardest part, it seems, is to start exercising 😉
When All Fails
Core work has to be done at least once a week. The more serious about running I got, the easier it was to accept the painful truth of this sport. A strong core improves balance, keeping injuries away. And that’s where my thoughts go when I absolutely don’t feel like torturing those abs.
And of course, there’s also the vanity part—nice abs are always welcome 😉