Last January I used planking as my Janathon activity in an effort to start building my core strength to help my running. Whilst stretching my plank PB I came across a guy by the name of Brendon Birch through Twitter. Brendon, aka lehorse1, is a member of Absolute Triathlon Club in Nottingham and set himself a 12 month running challenge to raise money for the Karen Green Foundation.
Having completed my own 12 month charity challenge I know how tough it can be to keep motivated for a whole year – and Brendon’s challenge was far tougher than my 1,101km. Brendon challenged himself to run at least 5km every day of 2013 to cover 3,000km.
As a small gesture of support I decided to carry on my Janathon planking in the form of my very own personal challenge:
It was simple – just a plank every day in 2013. Well, it sounded simple at the time. I should have realised it would be more challenging than that.
I started with a 1m plank on January 1st and gradually edged my time up during the first four months of 2013 to secure a PB of 4m 09s. I then eased off for a couple of months, ensuring I continued with solid planks for at least 1m a piece.
July began and I chose a different approach to freshen my interest – start with 1m and add 10 seconds each day. This helped me secure a new PB of 4m 10s and became the month that I planked the most; a total of 5219 seconds, which is just shy of 87 minutes!
Mixing it up some more, August saw me take on back planks and side planks to help keep my plank streak going. It turns out they’re very much harder to achieve after doing 7 months of normal planks!
September became the month that broke me! I scaled back my efforts to recording a minimum of a minute a day but still I ended up missing a vital plank on day 263 of 2013! A streak of 262 is still an achievement but the disappointment took it’s toll. I continued to plank but my PB was no longer in danger – the remainder of the year was all for Brendon. I managed to finish the year having missed only 4 planks.
I was relived to have finished my challenge but I’m sure not as relieved as Brendon was to complete his!
I guess the big question is: has planking helped my running? I’d have to say my core is very much stronger than it ever has been and I’m sure that it has helped my overall form, helping me secure my half marathon PB at the Oxford Half back in October. So get planking! Just maybe not every day.
Here’s my summary of my 2013 #Plankathon!
- #plankstreak = 262
- Number of planks missed = 4 out of 365
- Time spent planking = over 10 hours
- Plank personal best = 4 minutes and 10 seconds
- Biggest lesson = don’t underestimate an annual challenge!