After I made the big decision to switch from Surf City Marathon to the half in order to ensure I show up to the start line of Eugene BQ ready, I came to the realization that I no longer have the excuse of being a “high volume” runner with a marathon in a few weeks (or months….) to justify avoiding strength training. I’ve been looking forward to getting back to weight lifting for a while now and although I plan to really dedicate time to it by completing P90X2 later this year, I know that now is the time to get started.
Knock on wood, I’ve never really been injured (I had some knee pain during IM training but luckily it only required me to cut short a few long bike rides and wouldn’t have been considered a serious injury) and although I’m sure there are a lot of factors that have gone into that, I think part of the reason is that before I went all endurance-agro, I build some serious muscle and core strength with P90X. After I finished my first round of P90X religiously, Mike and I attempted to incorporate the workouts into a second round modified around triathlon. It wasn’t easy to get in the workouts no top of swim-bike-run and ultimately we ended up skipping a lot of them. Then in October I tried Insanity, also modified to accommodate triathlon and marathon training. The good news is I was still strength training, just not as often as before.
From January-June during Ironman training I tried to get in yoga once a week plus at least one or two core workouts (usually Ab Ripper). Some weeks I was successful and other weeks I didn’t do anything but swim, bike and run. There wasn’t a single weight lifted in this period. At some point I tried to do a pull-up and discovered I still could do one so I figured I wasn’t losing THAT much muscle. After the race, I dabbled in various group fitness classes, did some P90X yoga, and then started up at Dailey Method. Although I love TDM, there is nothing that can replace a good weight session (plus my membership expired and I’m trying to save money so I decided not to renew). While we were in Belize in November, the eco-lodge we stayed at had a pull-up bar. I tried a pull-up and failed. I knew then that I had lost some serious strength (also could have been spending a lot of time in a bikini…).
So, starting last week, I’ve dedicated myself to going to the gym at least one day a week (during lunch!) to get in a 45 minute strength training routine. This is in addition to the weekly Monday lunchtime yoga class I’ve been going to and the 1-2 times a week I’ve been doing Ab Ripper! I no longer can stand going to the gym and wandering around weight machines aimlessly doing reps, so I knew I had to put together a plan for myself. I used a couple of different articles I found online about strength training for runners as well as my own knowledge of strength training and made myself a full body strength training working that I could complete two times in about 45 minutes. I tried to do as few isolation moves as possible, favoring combination moves in order to be more efficient.
Here’s what I did (12-20 reps for weight bearing exercises, to failure for planks and push-ups):
- Split Leg Squats (lunge with back leg on a bench or step) with Overhead Press
- Low Plank
- Sumo Squat with an Upright Row
- Squats with Bicep Curls (this turned into squats and then bicep curls because I found it hard to focus on them together)
- Lateral Lunges
- Side Plank
- Straight Leg Deadlift with a Row
- Tricep Kickback (while in a slight squat for leg work)
- Plank Punches (hold a high plank and alternate punching in front of you)
- Bicycle Crunches (25 each side)
After I was finished, I repeated!
Luckily I brought a shower gear because both times I did this routine I was very sweaty! It was harder than I thought but a great workout. As expected, I was VERY sore on Friday after completing this workout last week. Unfortunately the soreness lasted until Sunday but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy getting back into things. I’m hoping that after today’s workout that I’m not quite as sore. Despite the soreness, I still had a great long run on Sunday so I think it’s not affecting my runs too much.
I’m hoping to continue this routine and eventually add in a second day of weight lifting. If not, I think that yoga, this routine and a couple sessions of good ol’ Ab Ripper will keep me strong enough during Eugene Marathon training to prevent injury (knock on wood again).
Tip: Print out the workout and bring it with you to the gym and mark your weight and reps as you complete it. I found it much more motivating doing this!
Do you strength train while marathon training? What kind of workouts do you do?