Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Strength Training

It is more than acceptable to be just a runner! I was for a very long time. However, if you do any research on long distance running you will undoubtably read that your endurance and speed will improve if you add strength workouts to your training schedule. I added strength workouts to my training in January of 2012. I strongly believe that those workouts along with my consistent running with the group have made my running so much stronger! Since starting the strength training I took 8 minutes off my half marathon time, 5 mins off my 30k race time, and nearly 10 lbs off the scale. It's hard to argue with those results!

The group I run with worked out a deal with a crossfit gym in Oakville called Primal Athletics. It's a bare bones gym with nothing more than barbells, bench presses, & pull up bars. But it has two amazing coaches that have tailored two workouts a week to our running group. On Monday nights we focus on legs and Wednesday nights we focus on upper body and core. 

strength training workout - I'm in the blue!

Each workout is 45 minutes. The gym typically puts it's members through a warm up time, but our group runs for 40-50 mins prior to the session so we usually get right into the work out. At first we mostly used our own body as resistance. It's amazing what great of a workout you can get with nothing more than your body! Squats, lunges, plank, push ups, wall sits, etc. As time has gone on and we have gotten stronger we have added weights in. 

Example of adding weight: 

beginner me - wall sit with just my body
stronger me - wall sit holding a 15 lb weight in each hand 

beginner me - walking lunges with just my body
stronger me - walking lunges holding a 25 lb plate

beginner me - squats with just my body
stronger me - squats holding a 35 lb kettle ball

How many reps do you do?

Remember, getting up to these weights has taken me over a year of doing this strength training 2 times a week. Some weeks days feel better than others and I can push myself a bit farther. At the end of the workout I feel amazing! I sleep better and overall feel so much better about myself. I have really accomplished some great for just me! Which as a Mommy to twin boys is a great thing to have 2 days a week! This strength training as really strengthen my running. My legs don't get fatigued nearly as fast as they used to. I also feel that it has kept me injury free. . . KNOCK ON WOOD!  An added bonus is that I notice my physical appearance toning. My arms, back and chest are not quite as flabby as the couple years post twins. I'm working on my belly, but that's being done with nutrition. You can do a million sit ups and still not get a flat belly -it's a fact! Belly fat isn't lost in the gym, it's lost on your plate. What you eat and drink effects your belly fat. My plan is to work on that this summer and fall leading up to Chicago Marathon with the nutrition plan from one of the coaches at this gym. 

I would not do any of these kinds of workouts if it wasn't for this gym or going with my running group. I am someone that needs peer pressure and accountability to motivate me. I'm so thankful to have the running group and the coaches at Primal to do both for me! 

Do you do regular strength training? Have you always with your running? What benefits do you notice?


  1. I find strength training an essential part of running. I have improved so much since incorporating it into my regime. btw- I am a twin momma too!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you for your comment! How do you do Twins with another one?!?! I imagine you use running as a stress relief too!
      Since doing this strength training program for over a year now, I can't imagine not doing it with my running training! It helps so much!

  2. You go girl! I just recently started doing some lightweight strength training again-- just at home while Charlie watches Dora. But you're right, so many good things come with it! Good luck training for Chicago-- I did half of Chicago in '05 on a bum knee and it was still awesome. :)

    1. So funny you strength train to Dora! :-) The things we wouldn't have done before kids, right? I've heard really good things about Chicago - I'm excited!

  3. Awesome post! Like you, I used to run and run for years with very little strength training. Since adding it in, I've seen my times improve dramatically and my overall toning and fitness. How awesome that you have a group to do it with!

    1. Hi Laura!
      I'm not sure I would do the strength training if it wasn't for the group so I'm very thankful for that. I have shared your strength training post with a new member to our group that is running Chicago as her first marathon. She wasn't sure she had time to do the strength training class with us - but the exercises you posted about makes it very easy to do at home.