I’m A Newbie Runner: Strength Training (I’m Back!)

Wow! It’s been quite a weekend for me. Thanks for being so cool about my taking some time off to study, everybody. Also, welcome to the readers brought over from Ali On the Run! I hope you get something out of my humble little blog (I’ll explain this at the end).

Now let’s get down to business.

Runners are well-known haters of the gym. I get it. It’s super boring to be indoors on a beautiful day, repeating the same exercise over and over and over again. Plus, you just don’t get that “runner’s high” from lifting. Boo-hoo. You have to do it! (or start doing it now!!!)

Image courtesy of afitnessequipment.com

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Want to know why? Because it will make you stronger, faster and help prevent injuries. It also helps to lean you out and keep your weight in check. And all the pro’s do it. Kara Goucher: “I do a lot of weight lifting”, Paula Radcliffe does “an hour-long session of core strength exercises” during her 8-day training cycle, and Ryan Hall blogged about his own weight lifting routine. These world-class runners must be getting something right, don’t you think?

How much strength training should you be doing?

-Strength train 1 time for every 2 cardio workouts. That means if you are running/cycling/spinning/walking 4 times a week, you need to have 2 strength training workouts every week (about 30-45 mintues each) AND IT MUST INCLUDE A LEG WORKOUT (don’t be a wimp).

  

-Strength training can be a boot camp class, a muscle sculpt class, yoga (vinyasa or ashtanga), classic weight-lifting, plyometrics, pilates (reformer or cadillac) or any other form of activity where you perform anaerobic movements that max out the strength and stability of your muscles, ligaments and tendons of both your upper and lower body.

Most gyms offer at least one personal training session with a membership, so ask for a trainer who works with runners. Better yet, get with a trainer you know works specifically with runners to build a plan you can follow. Also, check out the my favorite exercises for all your strength-training needs.

When should you do your strength training?

-If you are doing it on a day when you are also running, run first. Your form might suffer after being fatigued if you’ve just finished a leg workout and having tired legs is no way to achieve a great tempo run. Doubling them up is A-ok, but think “run first!” I’m a big run-to-yoga-class girl.

I do yoga outside sometimes with 600 of my closest friends

-If it’s an off day for running, you can do it whenever. Just make sure you’re still taking rest days to recover from all the amazing training you are doing (at least one a week).
Contrary to wishful thinking popular belief, running doesn’t strengthen your legs, lifting does. I will not go into all the mechanics of it, but just trust me on this. If you don’t strength train (sometimes called cross-training), you will never reach your full potential as a runner.

Ready for my tangent? A weird thing happened here while I was away: my little blog was read by a whole lotta people! Here’s the story.

My favorite running store here in NYC, JackRabbit Sports is having a competition between 6 contestants to see who can raise the most money for their respective charities while training for the Hamptons Marathon in September. Cool, right? It’s called Run For the Rabbit. Given my history of running marathons for Fisher House Foundation, I initially considered entering myself, but I figured that with two summer school courses, the GRE’s, work, several baby showers, Fall marathon training and my recent hideous performance at the Jersey Shore Marathon during a colitis flare-up, I’d best not add anything else to my plate this summer. It was kismet that JackRabbit chose to follow Ali on her journey to the Hamptons Marathon because Ali has Chron’s disease, the sister to colitis, and she’s running to raise money for the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America. She’s running for me, too! So, being the crazy cheerleader I am, I “liked” her Facebook page, donated to the foundation via her Run For the Rabbit page (you should, too!) and started following her very entertaining blog. I couldn’t help myself.

On Friday night, JB and I took a walk uptown to 16 Handles to get a little fro-yo treat and ran into Ali (I actually run into old college friends and my extended family all the time–I ♥ NY). Eeeek! I was a total geek and definitely overshared, but it was soooo great to finally meet another person with IBD who is young, fabulous and a runner! I wanted to hug Ali (I did) and cry (I did not) because she’s running for all of us out there who have IBD and that is amazing to me. I totally fangirled her and, apparently, didn’t scare her away too much because she blogged about our meeting and then my little site exploded. Ali is popular. I am new :) Thanks for the shout-out!

So fun!

Now go out and run! (unless you are Ali…didn’t we talk about rest days?)

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7 thoughts on “I’m A Newbie Runner: Strength Training (I’m Back!)

  1. Haha! You are adorable. It was SO great meeting you & we will absolutely run together soon. I can’t thank you enough for all of your amazing support. You’re the best!

  2. So glad I found your blog! You have GREAT advice.

    Also glad to hear that I’m not the only runner that hates lifting. Forcing myself to do it to try to prevent injuries and increase overall muscular balance (good things, yes?). I started doing Body Pump a month ago and I was shocked to find out that I can barely do lunges with my bicep weight. What the heck, body?! Squats, etc are no biggy, but lunges are killer. What is up with this?

    • Jess-Thanks for stopping by! You are most certainly not alone in struggling with lunges. The simple answer is that with squats we have the use of both glutes and can push lots of weight. With lunges, we only have one glute, which usually highlights our strengths and weaknesses. Keep going! You’ll get stronger by the day :)

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