For the past 3 years or more, I’ve been reliably fitting strength training into my schedule at least once a week. Ideally, I try to strength train twice a week, and do yoga once. Sometimes the second strength workout and/or the yoga slip, but I’ve been very reliably getting one workout in, and I do think that it has made a huge difference in how durable a runner I am.
Because I only strength train once or twice a week, I really try to make it count. I cover all body parts, and try to be as efficient as possible. I’m not saying that this is ideal, it might be better to spread things out a bit more, but I feel that with my schedule, it’s better to do it this way than not at all.
I get a lot of questions about my strength routine, what I do at the gym, how I decide what to do, etc., so I thought I’d document as best as I can what I do, and how I build a strength routine.
As a runner, my two goals in strength training are to become a more durable runner, and to be a stronger faster runner. To be a more durable runner, in my opinion, the most important thing is to have a strong core, and strong hips. To be a stronger faster runner, I feel like having a strong core is also important, so that you can maintain form and be strong towards the end of races, but it’s also important to work on your rear chain (glutes, hamstrings, back, etc.), to give you power to work the hills (especially if you’re a trail runner).
My running partner, Lori, and I usually take turns making up our weekly workouts, this keeps things interesting, we get to try new things, and to find new and challenging workouts to add. We both have fun making up the workouts but also try to keep things do-able because revenge is always just a week away 🙂
When I make up a workout I group things into different categories, and try to be sure that I always include moves from each category. I include: core, hips, legs, arms/triceps, and back. We usually start with TRX exercises, partly because they can get busy at the gym, and we like to grab one early on to make sure we can work those exercises in. Lori and I alternate exercises, so we group things in two, for example, I’ll do something on the TRX while she does something else, like a squat or deadlift, then we switch and do the opposite. In 45 minutes we can usually fit in 8-10 different moves and cover off almost all body parts.
Here are a few sample workouts that we’ve done over our last training cycle.
If you want to try any of them, feel free, I would advise you to research proper form on them first. I usually check out YouTube videos first if I’m unsure of how to do an exercise. If you aren’t confident in your abilities though, consult a trainer, do a few sessions with them, and get proper instruction. I am NOT a trainer, this is what I’ve been doing, but I make no promises or guarantees to take responsibility for you and what you can or should do, so be careful and make sure you take care of your body.
If you are not comfortable making up your own workouts like I do, you could also try the Nike + training app on your iPhone or Android. There are a ton of different workouts from 15 minutes up to 45 minutes long. I keep expecting these workouts to feel easier, but even when I’ve been working out a ton and very consistently a Nike workout will kick my butt and leave me sore the next day!! I figure that’s a good thing! 🙂