I’ve had so many adventures over the last year and I’m so excited to share what’s next! Short story: strength/weight training and another marathon…
I’m not a fitness professional or a running expert, but strength training is one of the building blocks to a successful racing season. Some people are successful with body weight training while others like working with weights. I like a combination of both and find that both are so beneficial.
As the weekly mileage increases and the paces get tougher in a training plan, your body needs to be able to take a pounding without getting injured and your muscles need to be functionally strong.
I know a lot of new runners find it challenging to find time for something else besides running, but strength training doesn’t have to be time consuming or super difficult. Start small, make it a habit and the rest will come together.
Since I’m taking a little running break (after the Dopey Challenge at Disney World this week/weekend) for the next couple weeks, I thought I would share some of my favorite strength trainings tips and exercises I enjoy.
I like to see what others are doing and get ideas, so I thought I would share. 🙂
Single Leg Exercises
Only one leg is on the ground at any given moment when we run so it would make sense that each leg should be worked individually. Most of us have a side of our body that is weaker than the other and single leg exercises force us to isolate that side without the stronger side compensating. I really enjoy Bulgarian Split Squats and Single Leg Deadlifts. You can do them with just your bodyweight or add weight if you want.
Keep It Fun with Variety
No one wants to do the same types of workouts all the time especially because as runners we typically have a set schedule of different runs on different days of the week so mix up your strength training routine. Try out something new! Not only will this keep your workouts fresh, but it will challenge different muscles in different ways for different lengths of time.
Find What Works for You
If you aren’t the type of person that likes circuit training, supersetting exercises or sticks to a list of exercises then try something like yoga, pilates or barre where the workouts are set by an instructor. Find what works for you and rock it! Chances are if you don’t love strength training you just haven’t found the thing that you love yet so keep trying new things.
When you don’t know what to do, compound exercises such as squats, lunges, step ups and deadlifts are always a good idea. Check out this article about compound exercises versus muscle isolation. I would also lump workouts like barre and yoga into this category too because so much of those workouts include a series of compound movements.
A lot of women worry about their bodies changing shape when they start lifting weights. There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t really worry about that, but compound movements shape and strengthen multiple areas of the body at the same time so your body will look and feel more balanced. This can also mean more change in less time because multiple muscle groups are being targeted at the same time.
Small = Big
You don’t have to spend an hour a week in the gym to see results. Start with something small, make it part of your routine and then build from there. Do 25 body weight squats when you brush your teeth every morning, stand like a flamingo (on one leg) while you cook dinner <— single leg + core balance = harder than you think, do a wall sit or hold a plank while you watch tv, etc.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey I hope this helps you get excited about building your body to run your best. Run happy, ya’ll!
*BIG MARATHON ANNOUNCEMENT*
I have decided on an international race and next marathon. I will be running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 28th! Not only am I so excited to run a race in the UK, but I’m looking forward to a spring marathon. I haven’t run a spring marathon since my first marathon in 2015. As of right now, I have no plans of a fall marathon for 2017. That could all change of course, but I might use this fall to enjoy running for fun and race some killer half marathons.
I’ve never travelled across the pond and I couldn’t be more stoked. The course is supposed to be very scenic, fast and flat. Those are all of my favorite things! We will more than likely be flying into London then traveling to Scotland. The plan is to spend most of our trip in Scotland and bookend our trip with light site seeing in London. In my quest to run all the World Marathon Majors, I know I will run London one day so this trip will be all about Scotland. Whee!
Have you ever run an international race?
Any interest in travelling to Scotland?
Do you devote time to strength training?