IT’S OFFICIAL! My marathon racing and pacing season are over, and I’m rejoicing that I can pick up my “pace” with strength training again. These warmer summer months are an ideal time to transition and to focus on improve strength and muscle tone as well as to increase your pace with faster, shorter runs. These two will pay off in racing season, whether you are a 5K or marathon runner.

Summer also brings children home, and while it eases up the schedule, this can also bring problems with heading to the gym….kids in tow! Instead, I embrace the opportunity to work out at home. Happily, it takes only a few pieces of equipment to accomplish alot in your very own living room, and the ankle band is one of my favorites for a lower body workout. It’s small, inexpensive (approximately $15), lightweight, and can be used ANYWHERE. It can even accompany you to work or on vacation! Best part?…It’s great for toning the thighs and buttocks, and if you’re smart, you can get in some ab work too. You’ll know it’s working if you feel a “BURN” in those thighs!

GET MOVING! NO EXCUSES!

LEG EXTENSIONS

Place band around both legs, just below your ankles. With abs flexed and shoulders back, extend right leg behind you, keeping your leg “loose” or “soft.” Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 repetitions. Repeat on left side. Complete 2 sets on each side.

SCISSOR EXTENSIONS

Start by lying on the floor or on a soft mat, with the band between your ankles. While supporting your body on rested elbows and with engaged ab muscles, lift your legs slightly off the floor. Lift one leg up while keeping the other leg down, but not resting on the ground to create a scissor motion. Lower leg back down and repeat for 10-15 repetitions. Repeat on the other leg. Complete 2 sets on each side.

THIGH EXTENSIONS

Start by lying on the floor or on a soft mat, with the band between your ankles. While supporting your body on rested elbows and with engaged ab muscles, lift your legs slightly off the floor, at about a 45 degree angle. Keep feet together and slowly extend both feet outward to about hip width. Slowly bring legs back together and repeat by extending legs out again. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.