Did anyone watch Run Run Revolution a few weeks ago? It was a CBC documentary about a bunch of high school kids in Ottawa who were chosen to be part of a fitness program. They worked with a coach to prepare to run a relay as well as the 5k. They ran these races in Boston this year during marathon weekend. Pretty neat story and amazing to watch how far the kids were able to push themselves.
One of the things that they had to be able to do by the end of their training was to hold a plank for 90 seconds. It was hilarious to watch their first few tries. Wobbly-armed, they would collapse in a heap after about 10 seconds, flatly refusing to get up again. They slowly made it to twenty seconds, thirty seconds and, by the end, a 90 second plank was no big deal.
Now, runners are notorious for having weak upper bodies. It's understandable. We put in hours of exercise a week but all of it is focused on our lower bodies. After all that, who has time to lift weights, do push ups or whatever else we're supposed to do to strengthen the arms, shoulders and back?
Watch us. We have strong, muscular legs and spindly little arms. It's kinda funny actually.
Well, I decided that I could certainly fit a 90 second plank into my post-run stretching routine. I figured it would help build my core up a little bit, strenghten my shoulders and, well, just make me feel a little less guilty about neglecting those parts.
And, I figured that, if a bunch of high school kids could hold a plank for 90 seconds, well then so could I.
I set my Garmin face up below me, got into position and hit start on the timer. I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. This is soooooo easy.
Open eyes. Fifteen seconds!?! You have got to be kidding.
By thirty seconds I was shaking.
By 45 seconds there was sweat running dripping off the tip of my nose and by 60 seconds, I was no longer breathing as much as gasping.
I managed to hold on for the entire time. I did not lower myself gracefully to the mat. I collapsed with an audible sigh of relief. Holy bananas! That's HARD!
I have since done three of these 90 second planks. I'm still shaking by thirty seconds and sweating profusely by 45. I have yet to lower myself gracefully to the floor.
I have a lot of respect for those kids. They almost looked bored holding their planks for so long by the end. I just look like I'm trying not to die.
I'm sure it will get better.
But man oh man, 90 seconds feels like forever.