My Daily Core

Today’s post is brought to you by the number 3. It’s the 3rd of the month and I’m giving your 3 Reasons Runners Should Do Core Work and 3 of My Favorite Core Workouts.


3 Reasons Runners Should Do Core Work

1. Injury Prevention. Core strength plays a vital role in stabilizing your entire body during running by maintaining a neutral pelvis, and delaying the breakdown in your form when you’re fatigued.

2. Improve Your Running Economy. Stronger muscles help you run faster and use less energy at the same time. Core workouts allow your body to use more muscle fibers during any given workout. Using the same muscles over and over again means you get tired more quickly. But if you have a larger pool of muscle fibers to work with, you can delay fatigue and run faster.

3. Faster Running.  So let’s put these two powerful benefits together. Injury prevention plus higher efficiency equals a faster runner. Injury prevention leads to consistent training.  Consistent training leads to dramatic improvements in speed.

**Remember that your core is more than just your abdominal muscles. The core includes your hamstrings, quads, hips, glutes, hip flexors, obliques, and lower back.


Here are three core exercises that I try to do daily. I either do them right before bed when I foam roll, or when I’m at the gym. I like to do variations of a traditional plank.  (Keep in mind that I’m a work in progress…my form is definitely not perfect!)

1.  Start in a traditional plank.  Keep your body tight and lower to your forearms.  Alternate between your right and left arms.  (I do 20 a day.)

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2.  Side plank dips.  Place your hand on your hip in a side plank and slowly lower your hip down to the ground and back up.  Keep your core engaged.  (I do 50 dips on each side.)

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3.  I learned this series of core work from PiYo.  Start in a downward dog position.  Raise one leg into the air.  Lower it down to tap your ankles.  Raise it back up.  Then tap your knee to your elbow.  Raise your leg back up.  To simplify: Leg up, tap your ankles, leg up, tap your elbow.  (I repeat this series 10 times on each leg.)

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Do you incorporate core work into your fitness routine?  What are your favorite core exercises?

Has the cold weather driven you inside or are you still running outside?  

What did you have for dinner and dessert last night? (These are the hard hitting questions I love to read about!) I had a mexican quinoa with a chocolate protein shake for dessert.  Also, I’ve been adding butterscotch chips to my shake and it’s SO good!

Join the Conversation

  • Amy

    I appreciate you doing these videos so much! And, your arms look awesome…I think I’ve already asked you but could you do a post on your weights routine? I do not do any core work :( Probably why I have IT band problems! I’m going to start incorporating these!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I still need to do some weights videos. I promise I will!

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing these videos! I love to run but don’t really incorporate much of anything else… This is motivation to start ( well that and a nagging knee injury !)

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I definitely stepped up my cross training game while I was injured!

  • http://www.ksrunner.com Sarah @ KS Runner

    Thanks for the videos! We can all use some different things to add into our own repertoire! Dinner last night was shaved steak sandwiches with homemade sweet potato fries and brussels spouts. No dessert. Working on reducing our sugar intake this month! Have a great day Jen!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I never get tired of sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts!!

  • suzysuzyheather

    Core IS so important. I need to get mine back after having the baby. Dinner and dessert? Yikes. I don’t even remember, though I recall having a bowl of peanut butter cheerios in whole chocolate milk before going to bed.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I always crave cereal before bed…too funny!

  • http://flyingfeetinfaith.wordpress.com Jess@Flying Feet In Faith

    Core work is vital! I’ve been incorporating it when I lift weights, usually on Mondays. But I need to add a daily routine. I had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner with sleepy time tea for dessert :) still running outside!! Excellent post Jen!!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I have never heard of sleep tea. Who makes it?

      • http://flyingfeetinfaith.wordpress.com Jess@Flying Feet In Faith

        It’s called sleepytyme tea…not sure I just found it at our local ingles and it has a slight sweet taste and puts me to sleep lol

  • http://leerunsdistances.wordpress.com FLRunnerBoy

    Very valid points Jen!!! And I do try to implement core training at least 2-3 times per week when able. I honestly think that’s a big factor in why I basically been injury free for nearly 4 years. Thanks for posting these exercises … it’s like having a virtual coach lol I love it!!! I been alternating between outdoors runs and the treadmill. It’s been a bit cooler than usual here for over a week now with Sunday being the only normal temp day. So you much be artic in your neck of the woods. For me last night din din consisted of jasmine rice, steamed broccoli, and ribs.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Jasmine rice is my husbands favorite! It was frigid on the track this morning!!!

      • http://leerunsdistances.wordpress.com FLRunnerBoy

        That’s a good man you have right there! And I hope you ran super fast to stay warm lol 😛

  • http://montrealrunnermom.wordpress.com jenniferflorence07

    Great core videos, thank you!!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy


  • http://eathostrunstyle.blogspot.com Sun

    Wow – look at that toned core! Clearly the exercises are working :)

    I like/hate doing planks. I know they are fantastic for strengthening the core but am not really a fan of doing them on my own. Luckily there is a core class at my gym so I get to struggle through core exercises with friends!

    Butterscotch chips in a shake? Love that idea!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thank you!!! Class with friends make it a lot more fun!

  • http://charissarunning.wordpress.com charissarunning

    Wow, thanks for showing these exercises! The videos help alot. I think I’ll try some of them. I’m all about the planking, but I definitely don’t get enough side action in!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy


  • Rae

    I loved these videos. I take a boot camp class and we do planks, side planks with dips and burpees. Hate them all truthfully. But definitely recognize the value of a core workout when it comes to running and staying injury-free. Last night, we had your tomato soup recipe (loved it) and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Still running outside — 5 miles in 21 degrees in NC this am. Would also know how you got so much upper arm definition. I am looking for “sleeveless shirt arms” for the summer and would welcome the workout tips you’ve used to get toned arms. Thanks for blogging.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Burpees are the best and the worst! Great job running the cold! I’ll do a post with some of my favorite free weight exercises:)

  • http://laurainlou.wordpress.com lmicklich

    I love teaching core in my yoga classes because it’s so important for everyone! I love mixing up what we do to keep it interesting, so I might have to use that move from #3!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      That’s awesome!

  • Catherine

    Great core exercises going to do them when I get home, can I please ask how long do you hold each plank for?

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I rarely just hold a plank. All of these involve movement and I give the number of reps I do by each exercise. Obviously, you can adjust that number to what works best for you:)

  • http://crazyrunnerblog.wordpress.com joannaraines

    Thanks for sharing! I will be trying these out for sure!

    For core work I stick to planks and exercise ball routines

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I should use the exercise ball more often. It’s a great workout!

  • http://www.runningnreading.com Running ‘N’ Reading

    PiYo Core hurts so good, right?!? 😉 I like doing those seated Russian twist thingies (very technical, obviously) with a medicine ball, too. Let’s see…last night I had a dish that I made from the Runner’s World cookbook and one piece of Dove dark chocolate with a glass of tart cherry juice. I ran this morning in 24*, so I guess that answers that question; I’m sure you did, too…it’s Track Tuesday!! 😉 Hope you’re doing great today!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      You’re who turned me on to piyo, so thanks!!! You’re on a roll with new recipes. Not that I’m stalking your food or anything like that! I froze my butt off on the track this morning, too!!

      • http://www.runningnreading.com Running ‘N’ Reading

        And then it’s supposed to warm up again, right? Good grief…I can’t keep up. I’m not complaining, though…I know it could be much worse. Keep up the great work, girl!

  • http://alsoranagain.com alsoranagain

    Abs for days, Jen! Nice work, and great vids! [Dashes off to plank…]

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Ha…thanks!! Go get ’em!!

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