Alright, I have a confession. I’m a distance runner – but you already knew that. There’s another side to what I do though (and have done in the past). I’m a lifter. I love the feeling of being strong, in many cases more than being fast. In fact, in the past I thought that’s how it had to work. To lift and become strong you have to sacrifice speed. But, after some serious training, talks with professionals and my own experience, I’ve learned that that idea is not true. In fact, speed and strength can work together to compliment one another. Not sold? Keep reading.
When I was a basketball player, weight training was part of what we did. The problem? Our coaches were male, with experience training men. They taught us about the need for brute strength, but left it there. Sure, we were strong, we were tough, but it wasn’t a program designed to meet our needs, as female athletes. Based on that experience, when I got into running, I fought the need for strength training, I thought it would work against my objectives (to lose weight and get faster).
Then, I started working with Sam at Performance Fitness Training. I was skeptical about choosing a female trainer (she is aware of this!). I wasn’t sure if she could push me the way I needed to be pushed. WOW, she changed that quickly! Instead, she knew EXACTLY what I needed, listened to my goals – on the running side – and designed a program that many days left me wondering if I’d make it through the workouts at hand.
Here’s the best part. She talked me into power lifting for a rotation. Soon, I was doing pull ups (not assisted!), squatting well-above my body weight and lifting weights that I never would have thought was possible. It was addictive. But, to my surprise, it didn’t work the way I thought it would. During that time, I continued to lose weight until plateauing at my goal weight (even while cutting the miles). I also dropped my half marathon best time by 20 minutes. That’s right, 20 minutes…even though I didn’t change my running plan (except by cutting back!). My new strength gave me endurance and worked with running to turn me into a better athlete with a routine I loved (I was able to mix it up and that’s something that helped me thrive).
I’m writing this because as we come up to a new year, it’s important to think about your goals. In an earlier post, I encouraged you to sign up for a race and to write a training plan. I wanted to be sure to emphasize the importance of resistance training and writing that into the plan. Below are a few important points:
- Strength training increases overall endurance.
- Muscle burns more calories than fat (read more about this here).
- Women can be STRONG without being bulky. I didn’t believe it until I experienced it, treat yourself, work on strength!
- Adding resistance training allows you to better handle runs, especially long runs, by offering a varied routine.
It’s important to note that it’s good to talk to a professional before starting a strength regimen. The machines at the gym may look easy to use, but proper form is paramount for avoiding injuries and best results. To learn more, check out Girls Gone Strong. This blog encouraged me a lot and gives great tips. Become a fan…and get strong starting today!
Questions? Ask! Connect with me! I’d love to learn more about your journey, your goals and where you’re going.