Along with my goal of getting back to running without doing intervals (at least for the shorter distances - I may still do them for longer runs), the other thing I am determined to do this year is to get my body back to not hurting so much. I know having a strong core will help me with running, and to that measure I've been doing planks regularly. But I didn't realize, until I read a great article in the March 2014 issue of Runner's World magazine, that having strong glutes is another really important aspect when it comes to running. I'm a literal person - to me, running involves my feet and my legs. According to this article (The Whole Body Fix - not surprising that it caught my eye as the author has been dealing with a hamstring injury for SIX YEARS), you can easily have an imbalance in other areas of your body if your glutes aren't working as hard as they should - and it makes sense to me, because I kept wondering how in the world did I manage to get a hamstring injury when I wasn't doing anything excessive (i.e. I wasn't sprinting or jumping a hurdle when it happened). I think I was just making it work harder than it needed to be and ended up overusing it each time I ran, and eventually that hamstring cried uncle and quit on me.
So as of a few days ago, I started doing the exercises shown in the article (you can see them here). And down the road, I may look into doing some sessions with a trainer/join a gym (Planet Fitness is going to open up here soon, yay $10/month memberships!) so I can continue to strengthen my body. I want to be active for the long haul, and I guess my body is telling me that I can't do just one thing and not expect it to rebel at some point.