The Thrill of the Run (& the Results)


People don’t realize just how much running plays into the sculpting and strengthening of your midsection. 


As you pound the pavement in a run, you may finish with not just sore legs but a sore core. With the changing terrain, hills and wind resistance, you utilize your abdominal muscles even more. This may explain why so many avid runners have very lean stomachs, if not 6 pack abs.


This is not only good genetics but something people earn from their persistent athletic endeavors.


I belong in this category as I still have a 6 pack, after four children, the eldest being 13 years and the youngest 19 months. Other than running, I should mention I rarely do abdominal exercises. As a personal trainer, I can offer you the tips and tricks for you to have the midsection of your dreams, lower your risk of injury and just feel stronger! Here is just how you can run your way to a 6 pack (and I do not mean the drinking kind)!


Be Consistent


To lean down your midsection, you need to run at least 4 to 6 days a week for 25 minutes with intervals.


Basically, you cannot run the same pace the entire run, you need to challenge yourself with 2 minutes of sprints every 5 minutes. This will ensure you elevate your heart rate even more, challenge your abs and push yourself the next level you need for your 6 pack. To switch things up, I sometimes do double runs, my morning run is light and easy, while my afternoon run, I push myself to the max. Remember: you get out what you put in!


You Use It All


When you run, it’s pretty much all or nothing when it comes to muscle usage. During a run, you naturally flex your spine, which means with every strike of your foot, your abdominal muscles are being worked.


It is a total muscle engagement with every strike of your foot in a run. This may explain the occasional abdominal soreness at the end of a run. It also may explain why some people say it hurts to run.  


Yes, there are some days it may hurt because it is a challenge but within a mile after your body acclimates to the spine flex, you will almost always find yourself smiling! I usually find myself going into a world of peace, feeling as if I could run forever after just one mile! This is known as the runner’s high, a release of endorphins in the brain which may have you feeling ultra-happy!


Swing Those Arms


As you run you need to swing the opposite arms and legs for balance. This is a natural part of your run.


With wind resistance, you may find yourself pumping those arms even more to maintain balance. 


As you are maintaining your balance, you are utilizing your abdominal muscles. So, pump your way to a 6 pack and pick up the pace in spurts while you are it! The speedier you run, the quicker you will swing your arms in response. From this you will see more definition in upper body.


Hills Bring It to the Next Level


If you run hills, you will find your stomach sore by the end because what goes up must come down. Running hills puts a larger focus on balance, which means you will have your abs engaged even more. As you run downhill, let your body free up and feel your abdominal muscles engage with every strike of the foot. In my marathon training, I have come back from long hilly runs with my abs feeling on fire with soreness.


It’s a good feeling because you know your muscles are being worked and this is part of the equation for results!


Fuel Yourself Healthily


To run well, you need to have proper fuel in your body. Make sure you choose healthy grains, veggies, fruits and lean protein. Balance your runs with a healthy diet and see better results in achieving your 6 pack abs.


As a personal trainer, the clients that achieve the best results transform their eating in the process of training. I find the best way to start the day is with lean protein like eggs. Studies show if you start the day with protein you will be less hungry throughout the day. This sets the stage for a healthy day while it boosts your metabolic rate!


Better your health, lean down, have more energy and achieve the 6 pack of your dreams by taking up running as a regular part of your daily life. Are you ready for the challenge? Then get running!



Tara Zimliki is a nationally recognized weight loss expert, personal trainer, health coach, health writer and founder of Tara’s Bootcamp, the Premiere Bootcamp of New Jersey. Tara also runs her own blog,