By Elizabeth Towe
You’ve decided to do a 200+ mile relay race and you recruited 11 other people along for the journey! You will train to run the distance and you will plan your team logistics. It’s a sweaty, fun, story-filled 2 days to plan!
Have you thought about what to do on the long stretches of time between your runs? Refueling, electrolytes, stretching…and make sure that you also give yourself prep time before your running leg. This should include some dynamic stretching but also some muscle prep exercises.
The Partner Plank is a great exercise for you and a team member to do at an exchange point. It will help stretch out the hips and spine from the compression of sitting. You will also engage the core muscles in preparation of the upright position of running and help set up neuromuscular control of the hip and legs to push off and extend the hips through the gait cycle. And you will promote the camaraderie of the team!
- Come onto the ground on your forearms and knees (modified plank). Be sure that your elbows are under the shoulders.
- Establish a straight line between your shoulders, hips and knees then lightly brace your core to keep your back from sagging.
- Place one foot on the ground, straighten the knee, contract the quads and glutes, then the same on the other leg. Find your strong plank. Your partner is in the same position in front of you, with your hands about 6 inches apart.
- You and your partner will begin, with the same arm, tapping palm-to-palm, alternating sides for 10-12 reps on each side for 2 sets. Maintain your body position without rocking the pelvis from side to side.
Stretch back into a child’s pose between sets.
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Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their life – and to remember to have fun doing it.