Strength training is essential for runners. It can help prevent injury, increase your metabolism, improve your running form, and make you a faster/better runner. A few weeks ago, I talked about how I had met Jenna from Little Green Running Shoes and was doing a 4 week long fitness regime with her. Jenna is a certified personal trainer and she put together this awesomely organized program. (Seriously organized, I will get into that in a bit) While I am not someone who needs a personal trainer to push or motivate me, I personally benefit from having someone else develop the program for me. I know exercise moves but I fail at putting them together nicely and focusing on a particular group of muscles. I was feeling like I was in a rut, I had just quit my kick boxing gym and life had gotten so busy I no longer had time to make it to any of my group fitness classes. Jenna came in at just the perfect time!
I was given a (seriously organized) monthly calendar of daily self- explorative exercises, descriptions of the exercises AND links to videos of Jenna performing the exercise with correct form and a modification if needed. I told you, organized! Jenna also posted a daily motivation or heath tip and was always available for guidance.
The 5 day a week program was an increase from the 3 day a week workouts I was used to. The first week I had even mentioned that I had a bit of soreness in my arms from the increase. Upper body strength is something I struggle with, always have. I can tell you that I see some improvements in my arms now than I did 4 weeks ago. Strength training does not necessarily mean lifting heavy; just a few simple exercises using your own body weight, some free weights or resistance machines will strengthen the muscles you use for running. Stronger muscles will help you maintain better running form, power over hills, keep you running at a strong pace and push thru those last few hard miles
I can’t give you the workouts, you’ll have to get those from Jenna, but here is a peak at what my week looked like. Short and sweet. The workouts typically took me 45 mins to an hour and most days it was doable in my house, when I needed equipment like a rower I went to the gym those days. This is where knowing the workouts in advance came in handy because I did not have to go home only to find out I needed to go to the gym. I consider myself to fall into the intermediate exerciser range so some of the exercises I found on the easier side but at times, I found myself challenged a bit so these workouts are great for all levels. On the easier days, I just added in a few more reps so that I felt like I was putting in the work. Did I mention this was in addition to my 4 day a week marathon training?! Seriously doable for anybody no matter how busy you are. Upper body, lower body, cardio, body weight and full body were the categories the workouts were broken down into. I started noticing the benefits of an increase and muscle group specific workout fairly quickly. Upper body and bodyweight exercises were always my favorite, but all of the exercises were great. Having the schedule well in advance helped me plan out my day as far as when I would run and when I would get my workout in. Each week we also focused on the things that help us achieve the bigger picture; creating a new healthy habit, tracking your intake/workouts, recovery and goals. I won’t lie, there were days when I didn’t want to get my daily workout in and I had skipped my run, I still pushed thru and did at least one round of the exercises on those days. No one is going to hold you accountable but yourself. Doing only what you can is better than doing nothing at all, and that is exactly what I did on those days and on all the others I pushed myself hard.
Overall I am glad I was given this opportunity from Jenna and thoroughly enjoyed this month of workouts. I will defiantly be referencing back to these workouts and may even continue to follow the calendar for the next month while I’m still in full on marathon training mode. Go check out Little Green Running Shoes blog and shoot her a message if you’re interested in getting your own monthly workout regime.
Dream Big. Work Hard. :)