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:

  1. This stuff is hard!  Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I worked my body all over like this.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Squatting feels completely awkward.   I’m sure that gets better, but it just does : )
  5. Lunges aren’t new to be but passing a kettle bell under your legs while doing lunges is a whole new ball game.
  6. You can do so many cool things with just a kettle bell!  I may need to invest in one of these for home.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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?


7 Responses to Starting Crossfit!

  1. Susan says:

    Good on you!! So funny, for pretty much all the same reasons I also started crossfit this year – but my second week coincided with what should have been week 1 of hansons. Everyone says you should cross train, I gave a bad lower back and weak core and posture but I can run. I too was terrified of Olympic power lifts but have always wanted to be able to do a pull up. Long story short is aged 5 sessions before realizing it was just so hard there was absolutely no way I could do that and hansons. I noticed a difference in my strength almost straight away – I felt musclier! But it took too much out if me to give 100% to hansons which was my main goal for the first glf of this year. So I had to pull out, I’m sure my trainer thought I thought it was too hard and I struggled with the quitting which is anathema to me. But thus time around doing one thing made running easier. So glad to hear you liked it, gives me hope for next year!

    • Gina says:

      I am already noticing a difference in my strength as well, Susan. I loved Hansons but the tough thing about it is it really just don’t allow much if any time for cross training. That was the one aspect of it that I found challenging.

      Best of luck with the training! Which race are you doing again?

      • Susan says:

        I’m in Perth Australia – about to do my week 7 speed run. I’m tired already but so far nothing has been overwhelming – still a while to go though. Boy do I look forward to Wednesday mornings! A first for me, rest days used to make me all antsy, not now!!!

  2. Janae says:

    I love crossfit but it’s really easy to get injured, esp if you’re doing a lot of mileage in your running regimen (I had chronic IT band issues as a result). I’m actually 5 mos. preggers and trying to keep up with running, strength training (mostly exercises that I’ve learned from CF) and swimming :) Good luck with CF!

    • Gina says:

      Congratulations, Janae! I have heard swimming is a great activity to do while pregnant. I remember my cousin saying she literally did it up to the day she delivered. That’s so awesome that you are staying so committed to being active.

  3. jill conyers says:

    So many great things going on! I’ve wanted to try true Crossfit forever. I just haven’t been able to find a box that has hours that work with my schedule. Can’t wait to hear more!
    jill conyers recently posted…Welcome to the New Jill ConyersMy Profile

    • Gina says:

      Will keep you posted, Jill! One thing I do love about running is that you can do it anywhere, any time, and not have to work around class schedules :) Love your new blog design!!

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