In February, I decided I would work to get stronger. I began by picking three 30-challenges: one for squats, one for planks, and one for arms. At the beginning, I started off strong. Doing each workout every morning while I watched something from our DVR. But as the month went on, I started to slip a little. Maybe it was the aching I was feeling after my first 17-mile run, or maybe it was my inherent laziness coming around again.
I started doing two workouts a day for a little while, trying to catch myself up. The squats and the arms workouts were easy to keep with that schedule, but the planks were killing me. I have always been horrible at planks, and despite my “flat” stomach, I have trouble holding anything over a minute. The two-a-day schedule lasted a whole 3 days, and then I fell off the bandwagon completely. I wanted to get back into it, but I just couldn’t get motivated to do so.
Overall, it was a wonderful experiment, and I think that next time I’ll focus on only one challenge at a time, instead of trying to do three. It’s easier to make smaller changes than lots all at the same time, so they say. And after my little month-long (or half-month) adventure, I’ll agree.
I completed 14 days of the challenge and instantly loved the improvement I felt in my legs. The different types of squats were helpful in identifying which muscles were not as strong as the others. The general squats were easy to perform, as I work those muscles often. The Sumo Squats, however, left me feeling sore a few days after completion.
I absolutely loved this challenge! As with the typical runner stereotype, I have weaker arms than legs. I’ve also had lots of experience with pushups through my martial arts career, but never really wanted to practice them, so this challenge forced me to get down on the floor and do just a few each day – totally manageable.
This was my least favorite challenge of all. I would rather do 100 sit ups each day than plank for a minute and thirty seconds. The problem with that is, my upper abs are strong, but the lower ones are a completely different story. It’s almost pathetic how weak they are. And as a runner, having strong abdominal muscles is important to keep your form correct while pumping through a race or longer run. I will finish the plank challenge, even if it takes me a few months to get through it. It’s important, and that makes it a necessity.