Wow we're over 100 days into our new lives in this constantly changing COVID world. At the beginning of April I decided to have a little fun and work on my fitness by doing a plank challenge linked to the number of days we were in quarantine. A couple of years ago I spent about 3 months working on a max plank, and got up to 13 mins which I was pretty darn proud of.
**Max nailed the photos right!**
This year, I decided to not only do a plank challenge, but to tie it to days in lock-down/quaratine - adding 10 seconds to each day would slowly build over time and challenge me for sure. If you follow me on Strava you can see I started to log my plank holds, and I had the lofty goal of aiming to beat my previous record of 13 mins, so I was thinking 15 would be my goal *IF* we went that long into lock-down.
A friend jokingly said, come on, it's 2020 - you know you have to go for a 20 min plank.....and I was like ummm that my friend is crazy! Lockdown had gyms closed, and with my foot injury I couldn't run and my pool was no longer open so I couldn't swim, so adding planks gave me something else to work on outside of biking. So I started working on my plank, adding 10 seconds each day and in the beginning doing them almost every day. As I started to increase my time past 5 mins, everyday planks were starting to hurt not my core but more my forearms, so I changed to 2-3x per week so that I didn't have too big of a jump between planks, but still got the work in, and challenged myself.
At the beginning of May I got a diagnosis on my foot from an orthopedic surgeon that required surgery, and then a second opinion from a podiatrist referred to me through Philly Tri Club (reach out and I'll share his info if you need it!) who read my MRI and suggested that although I had the issue that would require surgey, that wasn' the root of my pain, that the tears in my achillies most likely were. So we decided to treat that, and see if it helped and if it did I could defer surgey for later in life or maybe wouldn't need it. In addition to the support I also had to change some of my activity, and the 3x week yoga I was doing was exacerbating my achillies and no good.....and holding that static flexed position in my plank wasn't really good for it either.
So another thing that would be taken away from me because of the injury - so I decided to go for max. On May 14, 2020, which was my "Day 60" which would be 600 seconds or a 10 minute plank goal, and see what I could do. I was watching Max (my son) and was going for a max plank hold ;) and was a little at his mercy of being able to entertain himself, not jump on me, and not get himself hurt. He was a nice distraction, watched me and amazingly did not hurt himself and stayed close enough that I was able to see him the whole time. I looked down at my watch after what felt like forever and realized I had already crossed the 15 min mark, and was close to 18! Instead of dropping down I said, damn you 2020, I'm going for 20 min PLANK HOLD!!!! and stopped at, you know it 20:20 and called it quits.
What did I learn here, quite a few things, but habit and sticking to something and incrementally increasing your stimulous was a great approach. And if you're going for a goal, set something big, hairy, and scary and go for it!