Can we talk about how awesome planks are?

Seriously, aren’t they the best??  In 1 move you’re able to workout your abs, obliques, back, shoulders, and hips!  I still have no idea why people do endless sit-ups and crunches when they could be getting an all over toning/ amazing ab workout just by doing a plank.

Wanna do them but not sure how?  Let me show you:

Or you can do the basic plank on your forearms (this is how I usually do them):

(This plank occurred later in the evening… )

The plank is definitely easier said than done!  Even holding this position for 30 seconds is a challenge let alone 60 seconds.  But eventually they becomes easier.  Try working your way up from 30 second planks to 60 second planks to maybe even 90 second planks? 

Ready for some more challenging planks?  Here are some idea’s straight from the article “Pumped-Up Planks” on

Plank Tuck

Start in a plank with toes on a bench or box that’s about 2 feet high. Bring right knee to chest, then return to start. Bring right knee to right elbow (as shown), and return to start. Repeat on opposite side. Continue for 1 minute.  Works shoulders, lower back, abs, obliques

Side Slimmer

Start in side plank, left palm on floor, hips lifted and feet stacked, right arm reaching past ear to create a straight line from ankles to wrist. Bring right knee and right elbow toward each other (as shown). Return to start for 1 rep. Do reps. Switch sides; repeat.  Works abs, obliques, shoulders, butt, thighs

Pumped-Up Plank

Start in plank, hands under shoulders, feet in line with hips and pressing into wall (as shown). Hold for 1 minute. Make it easier: Lower legs, place toes on floor with feet pressed against wall.  Works shoulders, abs, obliques, lower back

_ _ _ _ _ _

How often do you guys do planks?

So I admit I don’t do ab work as much as I should.  But moving forward, my goal is to do a (3) 1 minute planks after my runs.   It’ll only take minutes so I have no excuse! 

Have you tried holding it for more than a minute?!

Yeah but I think I failed.  1 minute is hard!

Tips on how to make your trail run better than mine.

So I never told you guys about my trail run on Sunday morning.  It was ‘fun’ but also really, really hard.  Like waaaay harder than I remembered.  I finally convinced Mike that running over rocks and roots was a much better idea than running around the boring ‘burbs again.  He was game so we threw on running clothes and drove down the street to The Fells in Medford.

I ran the orange trail 3 times last year so I thought I knew where we were going.  Mistake #1.  We jogged into the woods, followed a couple of wrong paths and had to run back to the parking lot to examine the trails again, more specifically the Reservoir Trail:

“Reservoir Trail: Orange blazes. 5.2 miles. Average hiking time: 3.5 hours. The Reservoir Trail encircles the north, middle and south reservoirs and the open water can be seen from many sites (the reservoirs are for drinking water, so access to them is prohibited). A moderate to difficult hike.”

About 2 hours later we emerged from the woods covered in sweat, dirt, and blood and dying of thirst.  I fell halfway through the run and landed on a bunch of rocks.  I was fine; just scuffed up and bleeding on my arm, thigh, and knee. Mike also whipped out at one point but thankfully was uninjured.  But doesn’t every trail runner fall at some point? 😉

Our first experience trail running together wasn’t as glamorous as I’d imagined but it was a hard-ass workout and something we’ll be doing again (although probably not making it a Sunday tradition…. )

After the run we showered up, iced the scrapes and bruises and then headed out to Grumpy Doyle’s to relax and enjoy the AC.

The battle wounds.  There’s more on my thigh but I’ll spare you the pic’s 🙂

Turkey, avocado, bacon sandwich w/ sweet potato fries and a beer = the BEST post-run meal.

_ _ _ _ _

Even though we didn’t have the perfect trail run it doesn’t mean you should the same experience…..  Here are my top tips for your next trail run!

Tips For Trail Running:

  • Research the trails before you go.  Make sure you know the difficulty of each trail and which one is right for you.  If you’re just starting out, you should start with a shorter, easier trail and slowly work your way to the harder trails.
  • Carry a water bottle (and store an extra one in the car for after the run).  I thought I was fine running without a water bottle; such a rookie mistake.  It was 88 degrees and humid during our run and I was dying of thirst the entire time.
  • Wear sunblock.  You may think the trails are covered with shade since you’re in the woods but trust me the sun peaks through all over the trails.  Layer up!
  • Invest in trail running sneakers.  After falling on my face and almost falling numerous other times, I’m now a firm believer in trail running sneakers.  They have soles that improve your traction which is key on a rocky, slippery route.
  • Keep a first-aid kit in your car.  Band-aids and anti-septic wipes would have really come in handy after our run! 
  • Leave your expectations at home and slow it down.  Trail running is much harder than running on a flat surface so make sure you take it slow.  Walk too if the trails are dangerous.  It’s not worth it to run fast and hurt yourself.
  • Don’t run with music.  I’m sure no one brings an iPod out on the trails but just wanted to remind ya.  Who needs music when you can listen to the birds chirping or the huffin’ & puffin’/bitching from me? 😉
  • Buddy up: Personally I’d never trail run alone but if you really can’t find a buddy and just have to trail run than make sure you tell someone which trail you’re running.

_ _ _ _ _

You guys have any other tips? 

Do you enjoy trail running?