As a runner, core is essential to a strong run or race. I will also say it is vitally important when you have a back injury too. Strengthening up your core muscles takes pressure off your back and helps your body at the end of a run (no matter the length) when your body is tired and wants to lean over.
I ran two half marathons without concentrating on core at all. By the time I hit mile 10 in both the Disney Princess Half Marathon (2011) and the Philadelphia Half Marathon (2011), my back hurt. Awful. Then in January 2012 I start working with a personal trainer who at the end of every session would do core work with me. When I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in March of 2012, I got to the finish line with a 25 minute PR and felt as if I could keep going! I know that the core work I did leading up to that race helped me finish feeling fantastic.
Core work though can be a mystery to some. I know I have a hard time figuring out core work. I know that crunches are not the only workout I can do to help get those muscles stronger. Tribesports put together a great challenge to get us working on our abs! The above image shows you six different core moves to get you moving on a stronger, fitter core. You can click the link to take the challenge.
If you are unaware of what Tribesports is, go to the site and look around. It's fabulous for finding new workouts, finding new workout friends, and for challenging yourself in an unimaginable ways. I've got several challenges I'm working on. I can't say I can do the above one for two weeks straight (which is the challenge), but even if I can't I know this workout is a great way to improve my core for my races this year!