Sorry I’ve been absent from the blogging world for a few weeks! Life has been a bit hectic lately. To briefly catch you up on things going on – I presented at a conference last week (STLUX) so I was prepping for that, my best friend is getting married this week (yay!), and I did my first race of 2014 – the Quivering Quads trail half marathon. It was a great race and though very tough I’m glad I did it.
My main update though is that after having an “I should…” attitude about it for a long time, I’ve FINALLY actually taken up a strength training routine!
First, a little background on why this is so key for me. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for awhile know that I recently trained for a marathon using the Hansons Marathon Method. I successfully hit my goal by training on this method, but it did require a sacrifice. Specifically, there was just no time for cross training. The plan required six days a week of running and not only did it not leave time for other activities but it almost discouraged them. At the time this was what I was looking for so I was OK with that, and I am so glad I did it. However, at the start of 2014 I decided I needed to make establishing a strength training routine a priority for the year. I’ve known for awhile that the lower back issues I continue to have are largely the result of having a very weak back and core. I probably have stronger muscles in my legs than your average person but beyond that I’d say I’m pretty weak overall. What I’m trying to say here is that no one needs to convince me that strength training can make me a stronger runner. I know it can.
So after much procrastination, I finally decided to man (woman?) up about a month ago and cash in on the personal training sessions my husband gave me as a Christmas present. He gave me ten one-on-one sessions with a trainer at his Crossfit gym to just try things out and see how I like it.
I’m now training twice a week with a great trainer named Gini at Crossfit 26 in St. Louis. I’ve only had seven sessions so far and I can already see the impact! Today I thought I’d share 10 things I’ve learned thus far in taking up this strength training routine:
Ten things I’ve learned taking up strength training:
- This stuff is hard! Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I worked my body all over like this.
- Lifting weights isn’t as scary as I thought, and can actually feel quite empowering! I’ve always been really intimidated by the idea of doing anything involving a barbell. I’m really liking it though – so far I’m really liking back squats and dead lifts.
- It’s all about starting small and building up at your own pace. For example, I had no idea that there were things like pull-up bands to help assist you in doing a pull-up. It’s so cool because with one of these I can actually do 10 pull-ups in a row! With the goal of slowly working towards thinner bands until I can do one on my own someday.
- Squatting feels completely awkward. I’m sure that gets better, but it just does : )
- Lunges aren’t new to be but passing a kettle bell under your legs while doing lunges is a whole new ball game.
- You can do so many cool things with just a kettle bell! I may need to invest in one of these for home.
- I have awful posture. I always want to let my shoulders sink forward, and that is exactly what you need not to do while doing these movements. This is the main thing I keep having to force myself to think about (and thanks to my trainer constantly reminding me to do so), not just when working out but in general.
- I love running because I don’t have to think about it. I just do it. This is different as I’m constantly thinking about my form. I actually kind of like that. Oddly I’m now realizing when I run that I’m thinking more about things like keeping my core tight, paying attention to posture, etc.
- I’m realizing a lot of the movements (e.g. deadlifts) have practical applications in real life. For example, I don’t think I’ll ever lean forward at my waist to pick up a box ever again!
- Strength training is actually fun! In a completely different way than running. Running is a way for me to shut off the world and really clear my head. This training is more about focus with the goal of making my whole body stronger.
I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going as I progress further! My current training plan is two days of strength training at the gym and four days of running. I’m hoping to get back in the pool soon too for at least one workout a week, as I’d like to maybe do a couple of open water swims this summer. With the weather getting nicer, finally, I have no excuses to not fully come out of my winter hibernation!
What’s your strength training routine? Have you ever tried Crossfit?
- Welcome to my blog! I’m Gina, an avid runner living in St. Louis, MO. Check out my blog for tips on running, swimming, race recaps, book reviews, and recipes! Follow me on twitter at @ginabhawalkar, or feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
March 9th - Quivering Quads Trail Half Marathon
June 1st - Steamboat Springs Half Marathon
August 30th - KT82 Trail Relay Race