Let’s get right to it-- this post is for all my running friends out there who know strength training needs to be a bigger part of their routine, but don’t know exactly where to start or just have trouble staying consistent. If you asked me to write this post two years ago, I wouldn’t have much to say because I ran all the time, loved it and suffered through strength half-heartedly out of conviction, not enjoyment.
Fast forward two years and I’m at a point so happy and excited with strength training that I am having a hard time training for the Boston marathon because it means giving up some of the time I spend circuit training (I NEVER would have predicted that). I still LOVE to run and want to improve as a runner because it will always be one of the most invigorating, mind-clearing, endorphin-boosting, challenging, satisfying form of exercise to me,
BUT I now know what running can and cannot do for my body.
Running Cannot Change Body Composition *much*- (maybe a little fat loss, but then it always levels out).
Running Cannot Build Lean Muscle Mass- (asking running to develop your shoulders or glutes is like asking honey to protect you from a sunburn. Not in the cards, not its purpose, not going to happen)
Running Cannot Increase your Metabolism- That’s right, our bodies actually learn to adapt to “chronic cardio” and find a way to protect itself by giving away precious muscle and hanging on to fat. Your body requires you to do more and more before it budges and there is a point that it becomes impossible to maintain without injury or frustration.
If it sounds like I’m not a runner, or don’t belong in the running community, don’t kick me out just yet! Listen to this podcast, please. http://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/craig-ballantyne/
Now that we have realistic expectations for running, let’s get better at it! We WANT to push through plateaus, to get faster, to avoid injury, to PR, etc….and strength training is an undeniable part of that process.
If you tell a runner to complete a workout that doesn’t get their heart pumping, sweat dripping and endorphins flowing, they probably aren’t going to enjoy it, let alone stick with it. The circuits that I create incorporate tried and true compound weighted movements with cardio bursts in the form of plyometrics paired in strategic ways to challenge and grow lean muscle while blasting fat in the most efficient way. It will recruit larger motor units (fast twitch) through high intensity intervals that require much more caloric burn and even after burn than running (primarily small motor units with slow twitch muscle fibers).
Personally, I’ve gotten faster (and felt more comfortable during faster paces) since cutting down on training volume and consistently incorporating weight training and sprints more than steady state running.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s training style has to work for them so please take what you can from this post and leave the rest. This is simply from a runner to a runner how I would incorporate the Move Sweat Shred workouts into a runner’s training:
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE WORKOUT GUIDE
The beginning of the workout guide has a weekly plan including the muscle groups being worked each day and recommended cardio. For runners, I would recommend:
1. Monday: Stick to the program-- it's a heavier leg day and will pay off greatly in your training.
2. Tuesday- Train upper body as provided, BUT SKIP THE HIIT and implement a speed or track workout according to your running training plan.
3. Wednesday- Complete the CORE section in the guide and then run a mid-range distance or tempo run according to your training plan.