Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strength Training For Runners Who Hate It

Today I finally did something I should have done four years ago. I usually don’t do things I don’t want to do until I am forced to do them. Kind of like when I am having people over for dinner and for the first time in two months I finally clean the toilet. I mean MY family can live with an unsightly toilet, but I would never want my friends to know I live like that – skid marks and all. GASP.

So, here is what I did. I went to a personal trainer and I finally got a stinking strength training plan. I have never had one of those. I swear I tried to make one up myself, but I never did it. I thought about it a lot, but it didn’t happen. Loser-ville. But, now I know it is time:

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Why have I avoided it for so long:

  • I didn’t know what or how to do it
  • It’s not running
  • It’s boring
  • I didn’t believe it would really work (yeah, I can be hard headed and delusional)

I can no loner deny that lack of strength, especially on my left side, is making me an inefficient and injury prone runner. There I said it.

Not too long ago I was about to go for a run and my mom was looking at the back of my legs  (probably admiring that she had given birth to me). She said, “Did you know one of your calves is much more defined than the other?” That’s when I realized that my lopsidedness had gotten out of hand.

Can you see it? Wow, that’s weird. It’s not very often you look at the back of your legs.

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I have been compromised on my left side since my hip stress fracture two years ago. Yeah, I told you it took me along time to get around to things.

So, let’s just say you don’t have a strength training plan. You can copy mine, but don’t say I never gave you anything. You will notice this is a very mild and easy list of things to do. That’s because I am a weakling at this stuff and I have some lower back pain so we are being careful. I will do this 2-3x per week. Thank you Kim!

Runner’s Basic Strength Training Plan
(that can be done at a gym, at home, in an airport, in a hotel room, or at your in-laws)

Ball squats (put a huge exercise ball between your back and a wall): Single leg, 10 reps x 3; double leg 10 reps x 3

Resistance Band, 4 ways. Tap to side, press to side, tap behind, press behind – 10 reps each side x 3

Single leg squat (on bench or step) – 10 reps each side x 3

Single leg lunge/lift (on bench or step) – 10 reps each side x 3 with12-15 pound hand weights

Single leg dead lift – 10 reps each side x 3 with 12-15 pound hand weights

Side/lateral step up onto bench: 10-20 reps each side x 3

Sumo squat with 30 pound weight - 10 reps, then hold 15 sec; 10 reps then hold 30 sec; 10 reps then hold 45  sec

 

So, there you have it. I am going to cycle this into my regular workout schedule. I swear I am. You will know I’m telling the truth when you see my buns of steel at the pool this summer. And my triple D boobs. Now you know I am kidding.

What type of strength training do you do, if any?

SUAR

52 comments:

  1. Well, I guess if you're doing it... Does this count as cross-training? I'm getting really bad about any sort of cross-training and after your "20 Things" blog, I'm freaked out about injuries.

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  2. I do all of those and then some, but they all include some form of squat and lunge matrices. My "personal trainer" was my physical therapist, and he knows how to inflict pain, even if it isn't physical therapy. Just when you think you've learned all the squats and lunges there are in the world, they make up new ones. Good times, but it keeps me (and you!) from being lopsided. I swear.

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  3. This is hilarious because I am writing the opposite article to this which could easily have been entitled "Running...for lifters who hate it". We should have talked :-)
    I hate running and don't run a lot but I have noticed my times slowly improving since I started serious strength training! Good luck with your program!

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  4. But, but , waaa it looks too harrrrd! Seriously, I'm way too uncoordinated for some of those moves.I'm lopsided, too. I think birthing 10lb+ babies injured me somehow. Thanks for the bedtime laughs. I will try to get around to remembering to do strength training tomorrow, or soon.

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  5. I did strength training long before running. I still use the routines from "New Rules of Lifting for Women" - which is an incredible book! Now-a-days, though, I am concentrating more on balancing out/complementing running than on pure brute strength that I focused on before. In fact, I perform several of the exercises you show above.

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  6. I dislike strength training too,, but I started going to CrossFit twice and week and I can see a big difference in my body and my strength. I also just PR'd my half marathon time by 8 minutes. You should try it out. I am addicted. I wish I could get there more often.

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  7. I HATE strength training!!! I know I should do it. I even have an exercise science degree to prove it but it is my nemesis. I'm working Insanity into my schedule twice a week. So maybe if I stick with that, I'll be able to transition in strength training when I start training in January for my spring races. Will keep your program in mind!

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  8. I did P90X with my marathon training. Now I'm using Chalean Extreme-its only 30 mins and a lot easier to handle on my cross training days and being pregnant and all :0)
    That is totally how my whole right side vs left side looks from my shoulders to my back to my calves-its more defined than my weaker left-probably impacts my form a little bit huh?

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  9. Loved this article. You are not alone with the "one of these calves is not like the other" same situation one more defined calf than the other. I had someone mention this to me while I was wearing full length running tights I told her it was because of my wooden leg! stopped the conversation dead in her tracks, but then had to go back and tell her that I was only joking!
    I blame it on working out on one leg only and getting lazy with the other!

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  10. I got my personal training certification a few years ago just so I'd know more about what exercises would make me a better runner....but I'd still go into the gym aimlessly wandering and have no idea what to do. Once I hired a personal trainer for awhile, it became clear and I learned that running just need overall body workouts and not focus on a specific part of the body.

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  11. i have been weight training the last 2 weeks, while taking 2 weeks off of running. i have been sore, but proof this is something i need!

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  12. I strength train and don't mind it a bit. I tore my ACL and meniscus four years ago. Part of my hamstring was harvested to build a new ACL. So yes, I'm lopsided.
    My goal is to have nice muscle cuts. They can only be earned by lifting.

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  13. I love this! I was just writing on Tuesday about how much I hate to lift. So...very...boring!

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  14. Yeah...I'll be stealing your plan. We have the same calves...except on the opposite sides. Maybe we could just each swap a leg?

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  15. So you're going to do all those only on your left side, right? I kid. Strength training is boring. You should just do calf lifts while you brush your teeth! This is why I'm not a good runner.

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  16. Well, I started running when I found a bootcamp program and learned to love them both.... I got faster as I got stronger. Once you see results - it motivates you to keep up with the strength training :)

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  17. I have run for around ten years (not continously, obviously!) but last January I had to demonstrate a push up in front of a group of people. I couldn't even manage one, from my knees! That really shocked me, and then I read a book called Younger next Year by Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge ( this book changed my life, everyone should read it!) this book went into detail about the decay of ageing and said that it didnt have to happen. I wont tell you all the advice, but strength training is a crucial part of being healthy and active into old age. I joined a gym that runs many different classes and I now do crossfit style workouts, TRX classes, bootcamp classes and yoga as well as run. I'm loving it! I'm fitter and healthier at 48 than I have ever been. I say cross train!

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  18. I have run for around ten years (not continously, obviously!) but last January I had to demonstrate a push up in front of a group of people. I couldn't even manage one, from my knees! That really shocked me, and then I read a book called Younger next Year by Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge ( this book changed my life, everyone should read it!) this book went into detail about the decay of ageing and said that it didnt have to happen. I wont tell you all the advice, but strength training is a crucial part of being healthy and active into old age. I joined a gym that runs many different classes and I now do crossfit style workouts, TRX classes, bootcamp classes and yoga as well as run. I'm loving it! I'm fitter and healthier at 48 than I have ever been. I say cross train!

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  19. Strength training is limited purely to lifting and carrying my 3.5 yr old daughter. I hate doing strength training as well.

    I'm really surprised that your mom noticed this lopsidedness in your legs. The first thing I noticed was that you have no cellulite on your legs which is awesome!

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  20. So at the end you poop out an enormus ball?Strength training indeed.

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  21. A year or so of battling injury and fighting through a 70.3 and a few other races I final gave in as well....I hired a strength and conditioning coach and it's been the best $$ I've spent. I tore my left hamstring to the point I was on crutches 3 yrs ago and like you, have been lopsided and compromised since. When we 1st began I began to wonder if I had suffered a stroke on my rt side because it simply did not work fluently. It improves daily, but I am constantly amazed at just how weak I am...Good Luck!

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  22. I always say to my 'boys' who ask about gym work, yes it's great, but go out and run if you want to be a better runner, then when you are running enough you can put in a bit of gym work... I do my strength training on the hills...

    PS you have great legs and I would love to run behind you, no wait that might not be such a good idea!!!!

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  23. I definitely do strength training! A lot of those moves are great and I do several of them myself and with my clients. I know the strength training is boring, but once you start feeling and seeing those strength gains I bet you'll start to enjoy it!

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  24. SUCH a fantastic and important post!!!

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  25. Slack line!! Not kidding. Check it out.

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  26. I need to get back into my weight training. Right now I do the Yoga for Runners DVD with my husband. It is terrific! I do Rodney Yee too and thought she would be no big deal. She makes you hold the poses, which makes it more isometric than Rodney. And we are so sore the next day! I have found it has made me a more balanced runner. I didn't see many upper body moves there. I know you run with your legs, but that seems unbalanced.

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  27. And DDD bewbs, not as fun as you think. I have to buy new sports bras today and YAY most only go up to DD.

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  28. I made up a while body strength training plan that I did a couple time a week along with yoga, I'm just starting to get back into it after my marathon, which was 2 weeks ago. I do wholeheartedly believe this is what kept me injury free. I believe! I do my training at home and just use different exercises I find specific for runners ;))
    Love reading your blog you are hilarious!

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  29. Just got done doing this workout. I wound up with a major case of PF this summer that was caused by a glute imbalance. I was released from PT a month ago with some specific glute exercises and the general instruction to do lots of lateral movement and exercises that require balance and target one side at a time. This fits the bill! Thanks for posting it.

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  30. I have to laugh about your story about lopsided calves because one of my friends (an Ironman no less) pointed that out to me this summer. I whined about my stress fracture etc, but I was mortified that she noticed! But have I started strength training? No. I'm with you. BORING! But essential.

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  31. Argh! I hear you - strength training is boring to me too. I go through highs and lows with it. I will have a month or so when I am on top of it, and then like right now, I fall off the wagon. I think I'm more motivated in the warmer months, you know, when people can see your 'guns'. For me I've found that in order for me to remotely keep up with it, it has to be simple. I stick to squats and upper body work like pushups and weighted planking. I also do a Cross Fit style treadmill routine sometimes (ie run 0.5 miles, then do x pushups (man style), then do x squats = repeat until at least 3 miles or so reached) By the end of that routine, I'll usually have banked about 100 pushups and squats, if not more. :) But I agree - it is a bear to get me into strength training consistently.

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  32. I have been making myself lift weights after each run for the number of minutes that I ran in miles. So if I ran 10 miles I have to lift for at least 10 mins. At first I really only did the bare minimum minutes but now I actually enjoy doing it.

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  33. I'm actually going to try and do some of this myself. Thanks for posting the exercises. May not do as much, but some is better than nothing I guess. Thanks!

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  34. Wow, the difference in your calves is amazing, but yeah who would think to check out their calves, going to look at mine now. I really am too lazy to strength train even though I know I should do it, so I've started doing these workouts a few times a week: http://www.bodyrock.tv/
    Most of the workouts are only 12 mins, even I can do that and they mix it up every day.

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  35. My calf hasn't rebounded from my hip stress fracture either! I can really see it in downward-facing dog and it really bothers me. I do circuit training with jackie warner and jillian michaels--via their DVDs of course. I am not as faithful as I used to be. My current goal is to strength train once a week. In november I'm upping it to twice a week.

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  36. Wow. I went to a trainer about a year ago and he gave me almost the exact same strength training program you have. I'll have to try the sumo squats because that is not in my routine.

    When he asked my goal, I told him I wanted my ass to look like Jessica Biel's. It's a little more Jessica Fletcher but whatevah.

    I've learned to love the strength training - it's slow, methodical and I can feel it at the end of the workout.

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  37. Good for you! I am the type of person who loves any kind of cardio (running, kickboxing, etc.) but dreads doing any strength training. We just have to get over that mentality that it's going to suck!! I will try to incorporate some of these moves into my works outs as well, so thanks! Too funny about your calf.

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  38. I love weight training almost as much as I love running. I've been a gym goer on and off for the last 10 years. It wasn't until late 2010 that I really focused on strength work and it has paid off in spades. I'm a whole lot stronger and faster than I've ever been. I'm dealing with some niggly little injuries now but they're nothing that adding a few new moves to my routine won't fix (along with some physio & ART).

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  39. I do a lot of free weights, and my ripped class has a ton of strength straining involved for 1 hour.

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  40. Does lifting my purse count as strength training?

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  41. I do strength training/lifting on my off running days. I also love the INSANITY workouts, found my strength training is better now since investing in them.
    I use machines for legs and butt, and free weights for upper body, as well as some of the pistol squats, lunges and ball squats you've listed. My workouts are pretty simply, I circuit through each exercise three or four times, depending on my time constrictions. It usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour.
    I would love to say I see lots of progress on it, but alas, my legs and butt have been ruined by advanced age pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, old skin. I keep hoping my butt would get a little rounder, firmer and higher, but I am genetically predispositioned to my old Italian Aunt's flat tush syndrome. It's not a good look. Just hoping that with enough exercise, I won't end up like them, where the belly sticks out farther from the side view than the tush does...
    Amy P. Philly Runner.

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  42. When I had to stop running in July (plantar fasciitis progressing to torn plantar fascia) I joined the gym around the corner from me and started taking Body Pump classes. I would never make time for it as a runner so I figured it was the perfect time to work on strength. I *love* those classes. I know I'm not going to go into the weight room and do a strength training routine on my own, so a class setting is a perfect fit for me. So I don't know how it's going to affect me as a runner (IF I ever get to run again, waaah) but I figure it can only help, and the enhanced muscle definition was a bonus. And damn, I had a weak upper body. Seriously, getting stronger, even if I can't run again, has to be a great thing.

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  43. So encouraging to hear someone else bitch about strength training, but respect what it can do for the running. What a cowinkydink..I just signed up for 6 training sessions at my gym (mostly play indoor racquetball with the fam. and hit the treadmill). Man -o- man my body is pissed off at me right now. My husband is laughing his ass off because I am never sore after a run. I signed up for strength training to help my running. Only time will tell.
    As far as injuries go, I have been injury free since running in Vibram 5 Fingers.
    Love your blog.

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  44. I've been doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Body Revolution workouts that combine strength training with cardio training. I like that they're effective 30 minute workouts.

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  45. When I had my bulging disc in my lower back (L4&5) is when my PT pointed out that same thing to me -- one calf clearly bigger/more defined.

    I actually gave up weightlifting a year before that (because it always gave me sciatica pain). So probably the disc has always been compromised. I was doing tons of core work but I was really weak despite that.

    Bikram yoga is what got me back into balance -- and strengthened. It surprises me because I still think of yoga as just a bunch of stretching, but it really builds strength too.

    I have started doing a very little weightlifting again, but truthfully I'm still wary of it aggravating my back. Thanks for sharing your exercises!

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  46. Around age 35 I had to start doing more than just running to maintain my weight and I started strength training as well as other cross-training activities. Now I love weights - Body Pump is one of my favorites because I can get my heart rate up while lifting!
    Good luck incorporating your new program!!!

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  47. I'm so glad you posted this!! I'm still recovering from a hip stress fracture, and I've noticed my calves are very different sizes. My capri pants get hitched up on my healthy calf, and my fracture side is puny, so my pant legs always look different lengths. I just decided this week to get a trainer and rehab my weak leg, and these exercises are going to be super helpful for me.

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  48. Thanks so much for this! Ive had to cool it on the running and my leg routine is boring me to death. I have this bookmarked now! You are awesome and hilarious as always!

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  49. I just found this by googling "strength training for people who hate strength training," so thanks for this.

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