Friday, February 28, 2014

2014: A Year of Monthly Challenges

406. That is the number of minutes that I planked in the month of February. 6.7 hours of core work over 28 days. It's really not a lot of time when you look at it that way, but on a daily basis, it's much more than you think.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to give myself a monthly challenge. In January I was part of a group challenge to kick start the year off healthy and it was great. We had 4 standards to live by and considering I follow most of them on a daily basis anyway, it wasn't too hard. So I tried to come up with something in February that I wasn't sure I'd be able to do.

The February Challenge...Planking
I would plank every day in February the number of minutes that correlated with the date. I broke it up throughout the day and would plank anywhere from 30sec to a minute at a time. It was a short month - only 28 days - so I figured this was the best month try it out.

The first 5 days were easy. Planking for only a minute or two on the first two days was nothing. I thought it was going to be a breeze getting thru the month. Then I got to day 6. And I started feeling my abs. By day 7, I wasn't sure I would make it thru all 7 minutes that day. Even though I spread it out over 10 hours, my muscles were sore to touch, it hurt to laugh. I kept thinking that the more I did it, the more I was going to get used to it. My abs had to stop hurting and get used to being used so much. I told myself that I had to make it to Feb. 9 - my birthday - and get thru those 9 minutes. And if after that I wanted to cut the challenge, that would be fine.

Surprisingly, day 8 brought happier abs. On day 9, after my 18 mile run, I got through all 9 minutes without much soreness at all. I guess my abs were getting used to all the planking. My first double digit day of 10 minutes was no big deal. At that point I knew I'd make it to the end of the month. It wasn't going to be easy but I committed to finishing out the challenge.

20+ minutes isn't a long time across an entire day, but you do have to fit it in around work, errands, fun with friends. So there were many minutes spent planking on the floor of my office, on the ground before a bike ride, in the middle of the street during an event. If I had a spare 30-60 seconds, I might as well fill the time. So you'd think it would be easy to fit in throughout the day, but there were times I had to cram at 10pm to finish up my remaining minutes.

As February comes to an end, I can say that I successfully completed my planking challenge - all 406 minutes of it.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Do I have abs of steel? Not so much. Will I do it again? For sure.

I don't want to lose the ease of planking quite yet so I'm going to continue the plank challenge through March. This way I get a full month with 31 days. That's an extra 90 minutes of planking in the month. I didn't make it out of the 20's this month so it's time to hit 30 in March!

Challenges are always more fun with friends.....who wants to tag in to the March plank challenge?

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