Workout Wednesday: 30-Day Challenges

The face of someone who would rather just run.

The face of someone who would rather just run.

I can have a bit of a wandering eye when it comes to workout routines. Balance is something I always struggle with: when I want to run, I run; when I want to lift, I lift.  I find it really difficult to blend the two.

But it’s SO important to make sure you’re getting both cardio and strength, especially as runners. We can’t build all the strength we need by running alone, so mixing in other exercises to support the muscles we need for running is key. My aim is to cross train at least two days a week, but sometimes I find it really hard to stick to something without a plan — especially when I’m already working on a whole other plan, like half marathon training. The vague idea of “cross-training” can be too open-ended.

When that happens, or if I want to make something a habit, one thing I do is seek out different 30-day challenges where I can get myself into a rhythm and make it part of the routine. I knew my current approach to strength training was not cutting it, so I decided to give myself 30 days to work on targeting my lower body, as well as perfecting the push-up.

For the next 28 days (this is Day 2), I’ll be doing the “30-Day Push-Up Challenge for Seriously Sculpted Arms” and the “30-Day Butt Challenge That Seriously Sculpts Your Booty.” (That last one is slightly cringe-inducing.) Both come from Shape, which has a section on their website dedicated to these types of challenges. 

Click image to go to full workout.

Click image to go to full workout.

Funny story: a couple of months ago I randomly started getting Shape sent to me in the mail. I do not pay for a subscription, but it keeps coming to me. The same thing happened late last year with US Weekly. I found a way to stop getting US Weekly sent to me because it’s garbage, but I think I’ll keep taking Shape as long as someone keeps sending it. 

Yes, I’m taking on two challenges at once (on top of half marathon training). Partly because I think the push-up challenge looks fairly simple, and partly because I know that targeting both of those areas will help me as a runner. Last week, I talked about why upper body strength is so important to running, and it should be fairly obvious why lower body and glute strength is. According to Runner’s World:

When we run, the glutes hold our pelvis level and steady, extend our hip, propel us forward, and keep our legs, pelvis, and torso aligned. So when our glutes are faulty, our entire kinetic chain gets disrupted. Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner’s knee, and iliotibial-band syndrome. 

The booty workout is going to challenge me the most over the next few weeks. Whereas the push-up challenge only calls for one move a day, the booty challenge has you do today’s exercise, as well as the exercises from the previous several days going back to the start of the week (Day 1 --> Day 1 + Day 2 --> Day 1 + Day 2 + Day 3…), plus a cardio burst before each exercise. It should be good, though, to break up the routine and help to get me out of the running-only rut.

Click image to go to full workout.

Click image to go to full workout.

I’m hoping that the next 30 days will teach me to schedule time around my other running goals (straight-up mileage) to work in these exercises that will serve to improve my running in the long run just as much. After all, I want to keep running and to do that, I need strong and healthy muscles!

What’s your workout of the day?
Have you ever gotten anything randomly sent to you in the mail like a magazine subscription?
What areas do you work on to become a better runner/athlete?