Rachel's Routine: Get Strong & Build Your Base!

February 02, 2018

Rachel's Routine: Get Strong & Build Your Base!

Rachel Bell Kelley is one #unstoppable woman. In 2017, Rachel ran and won the Cruel Jewel 50. She also set a new course record by 30+ minutes. Holy Cow! Rachel is a Rabbit Elite athlete and (of course!) a Lily Trotters ambassador. Rachel recently grabbed a coveted ticket to the Western States 100 (#jealous) and has been named a woman to watch out for by iRunFar, the leading website on all things ultrarunning. 

How does Rachel get into fighting shape? Read her tips and watch her perform some of her favorite base-building exercises:

Rachel's Tips: Each of these exercises is 30 second long, with a 10 sec rest. It's not meant to be. HIIT workout, rather it should be teaching your neuromuscular connections to fire in a certain way for running. If you need a longer rest in between each exercise that's fine.  Its about quality of the movement, and learning quickness. With that said, if  you do this circuit a few times a week for several weeks, you should eventually get faster, don't force it and fall into bad form, let it happen as the weeks go by. I do 2-3 sets of it twice a week, later in the day after a speed workout, and sometimes during the weekend when I am not peaking mileage.

Keep in mind: This is part of a periodized strength and movement plan and Rachel does not do this exact routine year-round. Like Rachel, you can work with a personal trainer or physical therapist (in Rachel's case, she relies on the experts at Balanced Movement) to create a periodized plan that's right for YOU!

Jump Rope

Somewhat self explanatory, but if you find yourself tripping up, or having to restart with in the 30 second interval, you might be moving too fast...slow down the cadence to where you can smoothly jump rope for the entire 30 seconds.  Stand with good posture and feel you glutes and calves fire.


Toe Taps

Find something to step on that is appropriate for your height.  This isn't about power, so we aren't looking for a tall step.  Something that is comfortable.  Again, this is learning about your muscles firing for running cadence, so think about how far you would bring your leg up for a 10k, its not super high.

Once you find a step just tap each foot on top of the step, again, feeling your glute fire on the leg that is pushing off the floor.  Once you get the hang of it, start using your arms as if you are running.

Single Leg Push-Off

This is a good reminder for your legs of how to spring off the ground behind during the push off phase of the gait. Stand with one leg up on the step, this is just your stabilizing leg, the other leg is the working leg.  If you are standing with your right leg up on the step, start with your left leg slightly behind your center of gravity, not below.  For this you don't want to be popping straight up like a single leg hop, but slightly pushing from behind so your left knee comes up to your right knee.  This is also to connect your pushoff from your toe, through your calf, up to your glute.  You may find that your opposing arm wants to rotate your body. let it.

Jump Around (side to side over step)

Think pushing off from the floor, not pushing off from the step. Its almost like the toe taps, but side to side.  You aren't aiming to pop up vertically, but to transfer weight side to side.

Inside Outside Ladder

Draw a ladder in chalk, doesn't matter how long, you are moving for 30 seconds so you can run back and forth.  If you are beginning on the left of the ladder think about your right foot as the lead foot first.  It goes into the box, then as it steps out to the side of the box, the left foot comes into the box, next the left foot steps up into the next box and becomes the lead food. It goes, into the box, then out to the left side, as the right foot steps up to the next box and becomes your lead foot  This is often called the Icky Shuffle.  Its a somewhat advanced move, so take it slowly if its your first time doing it.  Like any other movement it needs to be practiced before it becomes easy.  Focus on doing it right, add speed later.

Butt Kicks

The most important part of this is to make sure you aren't bringing your knee in front of you.  It should be moving behind you as you bring your foot up behind your butt, not directly below it. 

Mountain Climbers.

Keeping close to plank position: keep your butt down, bring your knees quickly up to your chest.  Keep your hips stable, try not to sway from side to side or up and down.

Single Hand Switching Planks.

As if regular planks weren't hard enough! This is a modified plank adding in movement.  It teaches each side of your core how to shift power from side to side.  Try to minimize hip sway.  You should move side to side a bit, but not be sticking your hips way out one side to the other. Its a small transfer of your weight.

Thanks to Rachel for sharing some of her favorite exercises that keep her feeling strong and healthy when race day rolls around. Follow along on her journey to Western States.

What are some of YOUR favorite exercises that help you run strong?

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