Core Resources for Runners and Healthier PB Chocolate Chip Cake

Have you heard about the Core and Cake Party?! Check out The Arty Runnerchick's website, but the idea is that she is going to be writing about core work and cake, and has invited others to join in the fun! I couldn’t resist putting together a post about the core…and I even included a “cake” recipe at the end of the post:)

What is the core?


The core is made up of more than just the abs. According to this website:

“The truth is that the core refers to essentially everything between the bottom of your pelvis and your ribcage, front and back. That’s right; glutes, hip flexors, transverse abdominis and the spinal musculature are all essential components to a healthy core.”



I believe that the key to benefiting from core work is learning your own imbalances and how to correct them. Many runners have overworked hip flexors, because we are constantly using our hips to move forward, and most likely we are also keeping them in a flexed position while we sit all day. I touched on this a little when I talked about my weak glutes, but our core muscles are obviously all closely connected. Tight hips usually mean weak glutes. A tight back can mean weak abs. If you aren’t sure about your own imbalances, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional. There are now places that will do a gait analysis and give feedback about how to improve your running.

You can check  this website to find somewhere near you that can do this type of analysis:

Core Exercises

Planks: on elbows or hands, alternate lifting feet and legs, walk feet and hands in and out, or push forward and back for an added challenge.

The Only Move You Need to Tone Your Entire Body


Side planks are another great way to work the abdominal muscles, along with the glute medius and minimus, and and adductors



Bridges: Lift and lower hips, hold lift for 10 seconds or longer, or try straightening each leg while lifting up and down

Bridge Exercise


Single leg squat: Any exercise that includes balance is great for the core. Squats work the glutes (along with the quads and hamstrings) and it also forces the abs to engage when balancing on one foot.

single leg squat


Clamshells: This exercise works the glute medius, which is an abductor and external rotator of the hip. You can do this with or without a band:

clamsheel with band


Superman: works the low back and glutes


Core Routines

Runners Connect

You can download a core routine from this website

Runner's Core DVD

There are 3 levels of the McMillan Runners Core DVD

Quick Strength for Runners

This book has total body workouts but it is mostly focused on the core


Websites with core information and workouts

Kinetic Revolution
Tips for injury prevention, strength workouts, mobility, and much more

Strength Running

Resources including core and strength workouts, along with options to subscribe to information

Runner's World

Runner’s World is always coming out with new core workouts and information about core strength

Competitor- Injury Prevention

Just type “core” into the search bar and you will find lots of great core workouts


“Healthier” Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

After all that core work, how about some cake to balance things out? I don’t know if this is really a “cake”, but I was looking to bake and use up some old bananas, so I just kind of created this recipe. I tried to keep it a little healthier by using a banana and whole wheat flour, but my husband still approved!




1 medium or large ripe banana

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

dash of salt, if desired



Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cake pan or brownie pan.

Melt butter and mix with peanut butter. Add mashed banana, eggs, syrup, sugar, vanilla, salt (if adding) and baking powder. Combine using a mixer. Stir in flour, then chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. (Baking time may vary based on pan being used)

pbcake1 Enjoy!


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12 thoughts on “Core Resources for Runners and Healthier PB Chocolate Chip Cake

  1. LOVE IT!! thanks so much for joining in on the #coreandcake party! :) such a great post packed with lots of important information and of course the essential quota of delicious cake! haha. the plank is one of my go-to core moves as well and do it often. :)
    okay, you TOTALLY kick my butt in the baking department, that looks way too yummy and i'm always in awe of the people who can just 'come up with recipes' it blows my mind, i'm only certified to microwave in the kitchen. 😉 haha...jk. maybe u can try sending me some of that deciduousness??
    thanks for taking part in the #coreandcake fun!

  2. I totally got slower as i got into my training plan. It was mostly during the easier, slower runs. My slow got slower, but where the speed counted it was there, especially at race time. Right now-- shin pain came out of nowhere! I've been icing, extra days off, and i did a 12 mile easy run yesterday with no pain. I honestly think it's my tight calves or ankle putting extra stress on my shins. My chiro said the body likes to do that. hopefully i'll get in to see him today to fix it!

    1. Sorry to hear about your shins! Hopefully your chiro can help you avoid anything serious. I have learned that many times tight muscles can cause pain in other areas! I am trying to get in to see my chiro too...also hoping he will help fix me:)

    1. Haha I know it kind of makes me laugh too... I was getting tired of looking for pictures and it was the first one I found. It really doesn't fit in with the other pictures now that I look at it!

  3. misszippy1

    What interesting feedback from your Garmin! I didn't realize they could track things like that. As for your resting HR, if it's consistent, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's the spikes (high or low) that tell us something is off.

    1. The heart rate monitor that goes along with the 620 is called the HRM-run and it has special features to track cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation- its interesting but I am still learning how to take advantage of it! Thanks for the feedback about resting heart rate- that is good to know!


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