Saturday, January 7, 2012

Please Help Make Me Strong

I remember the first time I learned what an oxymoron was. I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom desperately waiting for the bell to ring so I could snag that box of Jell-O out of my locker, lick my finger and dip it into the sweet sugar powder (please tell me I am not het only one who ever did this). The teacher, Ms. Weiner (not kidding), described an oxymoron as a figure of speech that was contradictory by its very nature. She gave the universal example of an oxymoron: jumbo shrimp.

Jumbo shrimp?” I thought. It took a second, then the cleverness of the term descended upon me. “I get it! It’s big, but it’s small!” I was so stinking bright in the eighth grade it hurts. And, I was a style-fashionista (how ‘bout those cuffed jeans) with a middle hair part:

001

Shortly after that I become an expert in oxymorons. Some of my favorites:

Butt Head
Pretty Ugly
Mild PMS
Marital Bliss
Freezer Burn

I learned that sometimes oxies even show up in pictures:

 oxymoron

Shut up already about the oxymorons, you might say. There is a method to my madness. Today I have decided my entire body is an oxymoron. I am a strong weakling. While I have decent endurance and muscle definition, I am inherently not balanced, not truly strong. Like most runners. I ignore strength training like I ignore the fact that the filter on the furnace needs to be changed or that the toilet paper roll is empty.

If we know it’s good for us, why don’t we do it? Probably because it blows. It’s not sexy. But, like flossing your teeth,  it needs to happen or the dental hygienist will hunt you down and kill you.

I’ll tell you right now why I don’t strength train. I don’t know how. I have never done it. I don’t know how to work the machines, except that spread eagle one where I show the entire gym the crotch of my shorts. I have no clue which exercises/moves are best for runners. I know I’m a broken record. I was supposed to start this about a month ago, but I am a winner loser.

This is where you come in. Get me unstuck.

Is strength training a part of your routine?

If you have a strength training program, I need some pointers. What exercise or plan have you found most helpful to you as a runner? Any links you could share?

Parting is such sweet sorrow,

SUAR

61 comments:

  1. "st-uh-rength... tuh-rain-eeeng". Never heard of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a strength training queen! Kind of...

    If you belong to a gym, they will probably have a weight lifting class. My experience with these is that they tend to be lighter weight / higher reps but it can be a great introduction to lifting.

    I also made it half way through the New Rules of Lifting for Women book. I got busy and wasn't making it to the gym, so I haven't done the program in a while. But that has been replaced by my new baby...

    CROSSFIT! Functional movement FTW. I feel so much stronger since I started a month ago.

    Best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes! I definitely lift weights to keep my muscles strong and balanced. And hopefully it will help my running too. I don't belong to a gym (I live in the middle of nowhere). So I use DVD's to pump some iron 3-4 times a week. Honestly, runnersworld.com has a lot of really great runner weight training workouts. If I had access to a gym, I would probably follow their ideas. Maybe you can make a Shut Up + Flex shirt for when you are strength training??

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes I strength train and I will email you my routine. Should take you all of 25 minutes and then toss in 15 minutes of core and you are done. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've recently started strength training but not at the gym. My son has devised me a program I can do on the lounge floor. It involves body weights and plyometrics - lunges, squats, planks, jumps,push ups and dips. A lot are to improve hip stability and core stability.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Personally I LOVE weight training! BUT.. I can't squeeze it in while I'm marathon training with all the other crap I do, homeschooling etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used to actually do a routine in the gym that my husband designed for me and it was geared towards me as a runner and triathlete. I actually hated doing it b/c it just wasn't fun. Plus, when I was training for IMAZ, my strength training completely went out the window! I just didn't have (make) time to fit it in. BUT, then I got the TRX. I took some classes to get the basic idea and now it's attached to my ceiling in the basement. I LOVE it! It's all about doing functional strength training and using different parts of your body at once, which is what we do when we run/swim/bike/etc...

    ReplyDelete
  8. go to a power sculpting or Cross-Fit class---both train everything and even being a runner you will feel the lunges and squats the next day. Best home strength exercises: push-ups, wall sits and plank.

    ReplyDelete
  9. i like the new rules of lifting for women! within a few weeks i could feel my arms firm up and not jiggle so much. the book is really good at explaining the program and has detailed explanations of the moves. i reeeeeallly like it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What Kaelin said about Runner's World. That's pretty much my sole source of information for running, cross training, & strength training. I used to work with a guy who taught some of us some kettlebell stuff, so I use that for morst of my (infrequent) cross training.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I worked out with a personal trainer for 18 months and got really comfortable with the machines, really increased my muscle strength and got a really strong base. Now I am comfortable with the machines and do my own thing one maybe twice a week. I also do a muscle conditioning class at the gym..small hand held weights, resistance bands, push ups etc its designed for runners and cyclists so its low in weight high in reps and there is lots of cardio included. I do better when I work out in a class than by myself but I am convinced that the strength training keeps me injury free and and allowed me to keep pushing my training longer and harder.
    If you belong to a gym they should be able to do an introductory thingy to the machines to get you started.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been running for 20+ years. Never strength trained. Until now. I got injured(pirifomis syndrome) and just couldn't bounce back. Ended up in Physical Therapy. Had an awesome PT Assistant(Helga. Yes, she was German). She gave me exercises to strengthen my core and pelvic floor muscles. It really helped me and it was a HUGE "aha moment". I became such a firm believer in the benefits of strength training for runners(or anybody) that I am now a NASM certified personal trainer! For runners, I don't think it takes much. 2-3 times a week for a half hour to an hour. It doesn't have to be free weights or machines. Pilates is fantastic. Rowing(Indo-Row specifically) is great for arms, core and legs, kettle bells, Power Pump classes, I could go on and on.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This summer I was working my way through The New Rules of Lifting for Women as Laura mentioned. I loved it. It was like Strength Training for Dummies. And then I fell off my bike and hurt my shoulder and stopped. I should go back.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've been doing the New Rules of Lifting for Women and LOVE it! It tells you how to do all the moves, gives you a program to follow, it's (mostly) quick and easy (TWSS), and works!

    Also, I have no shame and when in doubt, harass the people who work at the gym. I figure they're there to help keep me from looking like an idiot as much as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I totally need to strength train more... 1x is lucky for me. I find it soooooo boring...

    ReplyDelete
  16. If you don't mind an annoying woman and her oddly-smiley cronies, get one of Jillian Michaels' dvds. The workouts in 30-Day Shred are only 20 minutes, but DANG does she work you. And all you need are a pair of dumbbells. Just be prepared to hate her guts and occasionally curse her name.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jennifer Anniston parts her hair in the middle...I think she was envious of your middle school part and followed suit!

    The reason I got a personal trainer many years ago was because I had no freaking clue what to do. It was amazing to have someone just show me and I still think it is what got me that first BQ! After that, I got my personal training certification because I wanted to learn so much more.

    You should pick up the book: Running Anatomy. Awesome book! Shows the different muscles runners use and what type of weight training will work those muscles so that we are stronger runners. I have ALL my clients do weight training now and get it directly from this book.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I also need to strength train more. I like this one because it covers everything, is less than 30 min, they show you how to do it all correctly, and only requires your body and a small set of weights.

    http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263-266-14177-0,00.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. did my first bunch of 'core' strength exercises this wednesday - stomach still hurting.

    "Police intelligence"

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just started strength training because I was told by my massage therapist that my left side is weak and lazy and if I don't get stronger, my right side will give up.

    I don't belong to a gym so I do traditional strength training exercises at home. I do squats, lunges, planks, clam shells, etc. I just got a kettlebell and started doing swings, next up is this whole kettlebell workout for runners: http://youtu.be/oQXiPKap3eo

    I also use my yoga practice to build strength. I found this practice at Do Yoga With Me: http://www.doyogawithme.com/content/connections-core The I can't even do all of it, I'm just not strong enough yet. They also have classes specifically for runners.

    Even in the short time I've been doing strength training, I noticed a big difference in my ability to run longer and a dramatic reduction in injury/pain.

    ReplyDelete
  21. ahhhh I dont do it either, I know I need it. I have no excuse. I have a gym membership, they have all the machines there, they even work, I look at them when I run on the TM but I avoid them. I need to do something though...my problem is I have in my head that I have to run 6 days a week and rest 1 day. I dont want to scarifice a running day to work on muscles, it is really stupid...I will come back here to see what people post !!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I do Body Pump...a Les Mills class with a barbell. It covers all body parts for 55 minutes and you do it to super awesome music. Really...it's pretty fun. Because you load your weights yourself it can be super easy or really really really hard. Also, a handful of buff-looking men take the class....that's how you know it's not sissy.

    They have them at a lot of gyms.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hate most machines. Get a few sessions with a personal trainer with experience with free weights. They're scary at first, but there is nothing like having to add a plate to your bar. Yeah, makes you a bad ass.

    ReplyDelete
  24. The only way I ever strength train is by going to Body Pump, when I am there I love it but it's a chore getting me there!! Good luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. You're not alone! I am bad about it...it's boring and annoying. But I've been going twice a week this year with my husband, who is coaching me. I suggest a kettlebell class. We're using KB's and they are a lot of fun! Additionally, they are a lot of dynamic explosive movements, that translate well to fast running. They also work the core.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I like to strength train because I enjoy it. I don't strength train to benefit my running, per se. I run and lift for fitness, and it seems to keep me off the injured list, so I am happy.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I def. use the group fitness classes at the gym for my strength training. I get too bored and distracted if I do it on my own.

    Side note ---Seven years ago, when I was a dancer, I used to strength train with my high school football team. I was incredibly strong then. So basically just find the high school football weight lifting room in your local area and you're all set ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Not doing strength training is what landed me in PT for 4 months last year. Since then, I've just continued doing a bunch of the exercises they taught me, at least 3-5 days a week. I keep meaning to do a post on my routine in case it's useful to anyone, but here's a list of some of the stuff I do regularly:

    * crunches (core)
    * V-ups (core)
    * planks (core)
    * mountain climbers (core)
    * planks (core)
    * clam shell circuit (hips)
    * "jane fondas" (hips)
    * lunges (hamstrings)
    * single-leg bridges (hamstrings/glutes)
    * reverse crunches (hamstrings/glutes)
    * donkey kicks (glutes)
    * single-leg squats (glutes)

    I try to do 4 exercises each time (at least 1 focused on core) & try to rotate through different things. Basically, knowing that if I stop, I'll end up with hip / hamstring pain again is enough to keep me reasonably consistent!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I lift weights twice a week. Since I am a SAHM, I have the TurboJam DVD set and I do the TurboSculpt. It's 35-40 minutes of full body weight training. It gets the job done.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I cut my teeth on strength training, like the comment above I was in the high school weight room with a football player as my lifting partner. Running is the new thing for me.

    The ideas I read in the other comments are awesome, I just wanted to mention plyometrics. It is strength training in that it uses body weight, and it increases explosiveness in muscles that you use for running. Plus it is fun, which definitely helps. I love jumping boxes, and plan to incorporate that as cross training in the next few weeks. Just my two cents. (gotcha!)

    ReplyDelete
  31. First, run away from the machines!! Far far away!! Get the book "New Rules of Lifting for Women". It's amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I don't strength train and I know I should. I have Jillian Michaels and yes, I dislike her annoying voice and her calling me "baby." But she does work you. It's a good start.

    I used to follow Body For Life and they have a website that shows you the moves. Quite useful. I was slightly sculpted but then, I had to get into this running nonsense. I don't multitask too well ...

    ReplyDelete
  33. For my strength training, i love videos by Michelle Dozois. Okay, i enjoy her cardio only videos even more, but i do see results (or lack of if i skip a few weeks) from her videos. You can see clips of the videos at collagevideo.com. My personal favorite is Your Best Body Breakthru which does some cardio, some weights and an exercise band. She has newer ones too though like Peak 10 Cardio Strength. I love love love her videos and try to do about 2 a week, with at least one of those including weights. By the way she doesn't pay me to say these things. Though perhaps she should? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Using weights and weight machines are the most boring thing on earth. More boring than televised golf. More boring than Hollywood action movies. More boring than a politician's speech.

    Core stuff is good, but is still tough sledding the boredom department. Necessary, I guess. I do some of it, but not as much as I should.

    Yoga is really good. Some of the yoga poses could have been designed to help runners, pigeon pose especially, and several others. Tell your instructor you are a runner, and they'll show you all the good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I take a class that I love. She is a runner so she makes sure we do lots of moves for our core and legs, plus plyo moves that are great for runners. I would say look for a class at your gym, try them all until you find one that doesn't make you want to pull your hair out. Or look in adds for your town for strength classes offered by personal trainers that specialize in runners.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I highly, highly recommend New Rules of Lifting (the male or female version). It's a book with tons of great information and a really helpful workout plan. It's perfect for beginners. I'd also suggest one session with a trainer to tweak/check your form on things. I would suggest avoiding most machines as they don't mimic natural planes of motion.

    Strength loss is a huge concern for women, especially as we age.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Pushups. I went from wimp to monkeybar champion.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Insanity....if your hip can take all the jumping, it is an awesome workout! I am in week 6 and feel great. I generally prefer to do it after a run as once I do it my legs are shot for the day. It's a total body workout though, and Shaun T isn't hard to watch for an hour, which is a bonus!

    ReplyDelete
  39. oh yes, i think we have a little oxy moron or moron-"ess" in us, right?
    TRX has really helped us keep accountable in the strength training Beth. I think you just might like it!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Weights don't seem to be my thing, and they make me sore enough to affect my running, so no go there. Try yoga and pilates and then things like Power Poses or other ideas from Runners World site or the "6 easy strength moves" for runners Dimity posted on runlikeamother a while ago, or some of the exercises on running.competitor.com. I know my core and glutes need to be strengthened and probably back/arms too (desk job). Looking forward to hearing what works for you and doesn't!

    ReplyDelete
  41. If your gym offers "body pump" or any similar group fitness, then that'd be a great place to start for basic movements. I've known quite a few runners who love it for the high reps and lower weight. It's awesome for beginners and experienced lifters.

    Crossfit would also be a really cool and effective way to go.

    And, of course, if you're ever interested, I can write out a basic lifting plan that would get you in and out of the weight room in about 20 minutes.

    I've been lifting seriously for 13 years and have had numerous trainers, and can take their techniques and modify them for the endurance athlete's needs... heck, I'm already doing that for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You might want to check out (and possibly follow):

    http://strengthrunning.com/

    It's one of the blogs I follow along with yours :-)

    ReplyDelete
  43. I just realized the same thing - fit but not strong. Tried CrossFit the other day and if I could afford it I'd definitely sign up! I'm not too fond of weight lifting machines - I think body-weight exercises are the way to go (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, squats, etc.) for overall strength, balance, and to help prevent imbalances and injuries. Good luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yes! INSANITY Beth! It's hard, fun, core+balance+cardio+strength. And Shaun T is NOT BORING!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  45. CROSS FIT, CROSS FIT, CROSS FIT...Do IT NOW!!! This winter is the perfect time to scale down the running and become STRONGER for those races in the Spring and Summer. There are Awesome friendly coaches and they are open every day but Sunday. They have a WOD everyday (the workout of the day). They are there to guide you and help you get stronger and not hurt yourself in the process. I go to Cross fit Julia here in Louisville. It is money WELL Spent. www.crossfitjulia.com Check it out!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I use the bike and elliptical as strength training because with high resistance, you really are working and strengthening the hams and glutes. Plus, you're moving and sweating, so it's less mundane than doing squats in front of a mirror. I'm also a fan of the Bosu ball. I'll sometimes stand on it while doing bicep curls (I do love to work my arms, shoulders and back, but I have a 30 lb toddler to keep up with so there's my motivation). It'll strengthen all of those stabilizer muscles in the ankles and shins. Otherwise, practicing explosive movements, like box jumps or kicking a heavy bag, will increase strength, too!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I love to lift!!!! I mostly do free weights and try to do diff muscle groups each day. Bi's/tri's/,ches/shoulders, legs one day,...then always mix in a bunch of plyometrics, which I've heard is great for your knees to strengthen the ligaments etc--so jumping rope, jump squats, jumping lunges. Also i do alot w/ the ball--core stuff and plank exercises. I usually only do 1/2 hr of working out, then hit the cardio for the next 1/2 hr. Or save my longer runs for home on the tready or outside. Runner's World posts some cool workout stuff for runners too.

    ReplyDelete
  48. yoga is the only strength training I've found that I stick to. the group

    I ran with in San Diego did 5-10 minutes of core work after EVERY run. (planks, russian twists, etc...) But now that I live far away from them, it's yoga for me!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Check out the Shovelglove videos on You Tube.

    A shovelglove is actually a sledgehammer. The videos were made by Reinhard Engel. He also has the No S diet, which I also use. His site www.nosdiet.com has more shovelglove exercises too.

    Reinhard suggests that you set a timer for 14 minutes to do the shovelglove routine. When the timer rings, you're done.

    It sounds crazy, but it's a great workout!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I do strength training regularly in addition to my running. I feel it helps. I take a BodyPump class 2-3 days a week, do kettlebells 2-3 days a week as well. I have a couple of other strength workouts my trainer designed for me as well and throw those into the rotation when I am in the mood.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I did the Jell-O thing in middle school too.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I've been using weights for over 15 years. I even got into body building for a while. It's SO important (can't stress it enough) to keep your muscles strong as you get older.
    Even though I know how to strength train, I use a personal trainer from time to time because it's hard to push yourself when working alone, like running by yourself vs. running a race or with a group.
    There are so many books to help you. A lot of the marathon/running books have weight training recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I worked with a trainer for awhile and he had me do alot of plyo metrics, balance and core work. One legged dead lifts and squats are great. Plyo jump squats and walking lunges for legs. For core I do ball crunches with a medicine ball or a dumb bell and planks. I took a couple of minutes off of my 5k and remained injury free all last year due to the cross training. I don't like weights either, but they are a necessary thing for runners.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I strength trains and I also stretch after my workouts. Both help me to perform better, more efficiently and have helped to prevent injuries.

    Runners World has plenty of great workouts and articles on the subject. That's my go-to source.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I just started strength training last July as a part of a boot camp class. I've tried the videos at home and I never stick with it. A class atmosphere provides a more fun dynamic - I'm able to stick with it and not get bored. :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. HUGE believer in strength training...and I spend most of my time on a bike.

    Core, core, core...learn it, love it, live it.

    ReplyDelete
  57. My advice to you is to hire a personal trainer. A good one will show you how to do everything correctly and can set you up with a plan to do everything on your own. It's worth the investment. Plus if you have the appointment, you are more likely to go do it.

    With most classes in a gym, the instructor doesn't really take the time to make sure you are doing everything correctly. And be careful of the fad of crossfit. While it's a great workout, it's also one of the leading causes of injuries these days from improper form.....

    ReplyDelete
  58. The New Rules of Lifting for Women is a great book and has a schedule for you. It is all about heavy lifting for women. Best part is that the workouts are short. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. You always crack me up with your oxymorons.

    I'm sooo bad with the strength training. As in, I don't do it. It's so BORING!

    Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I am one of those rare runners who LOVES cross-training, and girl, strength training IS sexy. There's nothing cooler than knowing you can sling around a heavier kettlebell than that dork grunting while he bench presses something he had no business lifting! So kettlebells, I LOVE (Athleta sponsored a team of KB ladies, and the Chi blog has some good videos.. technique is VERY important!).
    Also, there's Nike Training Club app for iPhone that has a couple of dozen good workouts, different levels, different intensities. It mimics a bootcamp-style workout, and you just need a medicine ball and some hand weights.
    Good luck! No more strong weakling there, just a strong woman!

    ReplyDelete
  61. With no gym membership I do DVDs at home. Jillian Michaels & Jackie Warner & even Bob Harper. All low weights, high reps, & some have cardio in the form of jumping jacks, high knees, etc. I have loved them & use them 2 times a week with running/elliptical on the other days. Only elliptical at the moment b/c of my stupid broken sesamoid but that's another story!

    ReplyDelete