Since I have mentioned strength training a couple of times recently I have had a couple people ask me what exactly I do for strength training. I thought I would put together a blog post on the strength training I have been doing the past couple of years.
I first incorporated strength training into my routine a couple of years ago when Instarted training with a coach. Unfortunately continuing to train with a coach does not fit into my budget right now so I had to go back to training on my own. However, the two years I did train with a coach introduced me to the benefits of strength training and exercises I could incorporate into my training.
For me strength training has included exercises with weights, resistance bands and a stability ball. It has helped me build strength in my legs, core and upper body. From planks, to dead lifts to back lunges I have gone from someone who did not include strength training to having it be a regular part of my training.
In my basement where I head twice per week to go through my routine you’ll now find dumbbells, a medicine ball, a stability ball and a series of resistance bands needed to complete the various exercises in my program. It is something I have come to consider an important element of my training.
If you are interested in more information about strength training for runners here is a blog post by more former coach Mathieu. If you are interested in adding strength training to your routine here is a list of exercises you can try.
Do you include regular strength training as part of your routine?
It has been nearly a month now since I ran the Ottawa Marathon. Following the marathon my usual approach to recovery had me back to running the following Friday. Since then I have been taking it easy, sticking to mainly easy paced runs and not being as disciplined about my diet as I am when I am in a training cycle.
Tonight felt like a turning point. I planned my usual run home from work and because I felt good I decided to pick up the pace and run a little quicker than I have been. I ended up with a 9 km run around my marathon pace so it was not a particularly fast time. However, it was a change of pace from my routine has been lately. I feel like I am ready to get back into a training cycle.
In terms of running it means I will start to add mileage again and get back to doing long runs on Sundays. I’ll also throw in a few races over the summer as I work my way back into marathon shape. In additionnto races it will also mean working in weekly speed and tempo sessions to go along with my easy paced runs.
I will soon be getting back to strength training to build strength in my core and legs. I plan to follow a similar approach to the one I used for my last marathon since that seemed to work well. I also start regular rolling and stretching which I have been neglecting over the past few weeks.
How soon do you like to return to full training after a big goal race?
There are now 50 days to go until race weekend. Week 13 was the start of a new four week block or training for me. That meant this week was a week of full training after a recovery week last week and I also received a new series of exercises from my coach to do over the next four weeks.
In terms of running, the key workouts this week were Tuesday and Thursday when I did tempo runs. I took the shortest route home from work which is about 8.7 km. As a result I ended with 8 km at tempo pace and about 700 m of a cool down both nights. I felt good on both occasions, especially last night since I was able to beat Tuesday’s time by just over a minute.
In terms of the exercises my coach assigned me, I now have more exercises to add to my stretching and mobility routine and strength exercises have been replaced with exercises aimed at core stability and lower body endurance. Speaking of strength exercises, it seems like they have paid off because I weighed myself this week and was surprised to see that I have added 5-10 pounds of weight.
In terms of the rest of the week I have an easy 10 km run planned for this evening and a 32 km run planned for the weekend. The long run will be particularly important because it will be another opportunity to test race day nutrition. I also plan wear my new shoes to see how they feel over a longer distance. Once again I will finish that run with the last 5 km being at marathon pace after covering the initial 25 km at an easy pace.
How was your week?
Strength training is said to have a number of benefits for runners. Here is a good list of potential benefits strength training can have for runners. If strength training does provide these benefits then I think it is an aspect that was really missing from my previous training programs.
In terms of my training it is something I had not included in my training until I started working with my coach last fall. Since I started. Working with my coach I have been including a series of exercises to work my core, legs and upper body.
Now I include a series of strength exercises twice a week. From planks, to dead lifts to back lunges I have gone from someone who did not include strength training to having it be a regular part of my training. In my basement you’ll now find dumbbells, a medicine ball, a stability ball and a series of resistance bands needed to complete the various exercises in my program.
Despite my setback in the Philadelphia Marathon I think the strength has benefitted me. I have improved my times in the 5 and 10 km since I started adding strength training to my routine. The big test will be in May when I run the Ottawa Marathon. If I can avoid the mistakes I made in Philadelphia I will be able to put my training to the test and go for a new personal best in the marathon, beating the time I set here in Ottawa last year.
What do you think of strength for runners? Do you add strength building exercises to your training routine?
After a recovery week last week it was back to regular training this week. Week five is nearly complete now. With 29 km complete so far this week I will end the week this weekend with 15 and 8 km runs. Fortunately we were back to average weather for this time of year this week so my outdoor workouts were not too difficult to get in.
Like in previous weeks my more intense efforts came on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Tuesday is my run where I include accelerations in an 8 km run. This week called for 2 x 30s, 45s, 60s and 90s. This workout is tougher than it sounds because it takes a bit of time to recover from the 60 and 90 second accelerations when pushing the pace.
I won’t spend too much time discussing last night’s intervals since I talked about them in last night’s post. What I will say is that the combination of 100, 200 and 300 m sprints is one of the toughest workouts I have done so far. The good news is that I made it through them without getting injured.
This week also saw me start a new strength workout that I will continue for the next four weeks. This one builds on the previous one with exercises to work on my legs, core and upper body. It is a tougher workout than the one I did over the previous four weeks.
That’s another week of training nearly complete. Once again I managed to fit in all of my scheduled workouts while avoiding any injuries or setbacks.
How did your week go?
It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.
Here are this week’s stories…
A post about finding balance.
Here is some advice about learning from race mistakes.
Tips on how to maximize your running.
Info on strength training for runners.
Some advice about sports drinks and when to use them.
Do you have a running addiction?