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Gotta’ Run: Core strength makes for better running

It’s been about a month since I took a day off from running. That isn’t much to a guy that once went four years between days off. Ed Dupree did 21 years of streaking, another term for not missing a day. Over the last few years, I’ve taken a day off from running about once every 2 to 3 weeks. Nearly always this comes after I have a couple of lackluster runs back to back.

Just recently, I have tried something new that is causing a boost to my morning runs. Vac and Dash is a running/vacuum store from Albemarle and is the printer for all of SRR’s race shirts. The store started a “Werking through the Holidays Challenge” early in November, not something that I usually would do. But this one caught my eye and now with six weeks complete, I wanted to share the positive results.

My mornings are usually hectic and always start with a run by about 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. That means getting up before 5, 4:40 a.m. to be exact. I’m not advocating that early start, but mornings are my thing! I cram the early morning full and didn’t think I could find time to add more exercise.

In October, I had already added a prayer walk that starts when the run’s finished at my driveway and continues for about five minutes. This works well unless its bitter cold or raining steadily, then those prayers take place in the house. Running and prayers just as the new dawn always get my day off to the best start.

Additionally, the “werking challenge” has been just that. Back in the house, I head upstairs for pushups, planks and then downstairs for situps. November called for at least 20 pushups and 20 situps, plus two minutes of planks. December pushed the minimum to 30 pushups and situps, with three minutes of planks, the very popular exercise when the clock hand barely moves.

It’s getting easier every day to do all this and amazingly, I can do the complete run plus workout comfortably in about 65 minutes. The final piece is two cinnamon Pop Tarts as I reflect on the effort and relish any soreness. The “werking challenge strengthens the core, the middle area of our bodies including the abdomen and lower back. The core, in my opinion, is the key to strength and balance. Mine is significantly stronger and usually a little sore after just six weeks, a good thing. Sore means that muscles are being tested and strengthened. And my average run is just a little faster and stronger too.

This challenge ends for me officially on Jan. 1, but I don’t plan to stop. A neighbor, Brian Jones, helped put the new Christmas lights on my farm’s windmill on Monday and he told me about mixing bunches of crunches, a two-mile walk and some upper body twists as his early morning workout. He’s building his core too.

Resolution time is just around the corner. Getting a head start on all your friends and neighbors with some sort of core workout should make you happy. Do it more than seven days and you just might have a new habit and be on the way to better health.

The next two races are the Resolution 5K on Jan. 1 and the 38th Annual Winter Flight, Salisbury’s premier participatory sporting event. On Thursday, SRR and The Forum confirmed that the Resolution event will be held at Salisbury Community Park at 9 a.m. This run/walk is like no other race all year. Entry is just $10 or $5 with three canned goods. Everything benefits Rowan Helping Ministries. Participants get a posted time and a leftover but still new race shirt. They also get refreshments following a low cost fitness challenge to start the year.

We’re still hoping to have Winter Flight at Catawba College with the date changed to Sunday, Jan. 17. This event also benefits Rowan Helping Ministries.

Look for more updated info at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org .  

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