Guest Post: Strength Training to Compliment Running

We are tackling the Wisconsin North Face Endurance Challenge in September and in preparation for this wickedly fun 10K trail run, we’ve partnered with Lauren Fairbanks, Chicago Mountain Athletics trainer.  This week Lauren is helping us become well rounded athletes by challenging runners to add strength training to their regimen. This is also part of the focus of The North Face Mountain Athletics Program. Athletes and amateurs alike can take part in these free bi-weekly workouts in order to improve their speed, strength or endurance in any sport. You may even have a “Lauren siting” there.   Welcome back Lauren!

lfIt’s no secret that serious runners favorite form of exercise is running, but many runners may be missing one key component to their training program.  One of the key components that compliment any running program is strength training.  For a number of different reasons, runners often overlook the importance of adding in strength workouts to their training regimen.  Some are scared to “bulk up” or gain too much muscle mass, while others might just be unfamiliar with how to work with weights.  These days, runners need to do more than pound out miles on the pavement to see improvements in their racing performance.  They need to be strong, athletic and have muscular balance to avoid injury during their training program.   Strength training helps build a solid foundation in the body and increases joint stability, which in turn can lead to fewer injuries.   The benefits of doing a strength training workout at least 2-3 days/week will not only help with injury prevention, but will also help your overall racing performance as well.  Strengthening both big muscle groups (Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves) as well as the smaller stabilizer muscles throughout your hips (hip flexors, extensors, hip rotator muscles) will create a strong base to withstand the impact that running has on your body.  The best exercises for runners are those that strengthen the legs, hips and core.   Some examples of these would be squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks and step ups to name a few.  Strength training will not only help you feel stronger during your races, but can also help you run longer and more efficiently.  Stronger legs and core equals both more endurance and speed.

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If you’re brand new to strength training you should build your weight capacity up slowly, starting with just body weight exercises and then progressing to loaded movements.  Heavier strength training days can be done after your lighter mileage/intensity days, and body weight exercises can be done on the other days where your running training is more intense.  Smaller hip mobility movements and foam rolling can be done on a regular basis and act more as maintenance since they are less intense.    Below is a basic strength training routine you can do as a beginner with just body weight or add weight if you are more advanced.  Circuit through each tri-set 3x them move on to the next one.

lifts

3 sets of 12 repetitions

Forward lunges

Step-ups

Plank (1 minute)

Hip fire hydrants

knee up

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3 sets of 12 repetitions

Single leg squats off a bench

Russian twists (30 seconds)

Lateral lunges

Side planks (30 seconds each)

twists

So if you’re ready to crank up the intensity in your training, run faster, feel stronger, and spend less time injured then starting a strength training program is a no-brainer.  You will definitely feel the positive effects in no time!

 

Lauren Fairbanks is a Certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Health Coach with a passion for helping people reach their goals.  As a lifelong athlete with an expansive knowledge of nutrition she strives to share her expertise with everyone she meets.  She loves working with people and helping open their eyes and minds to the positive effects of proper nutrition, physical activity and living a balanced life.  Lauren was a Division I Track & Field Athlete at Central Michigan University where she graduated with a B.S. in Dietetics.  Along with her Dietetics degree and personal training certification she also holds specialty certifications in Kettlebells, TRX, and Pre/Post Natal Training.  When she’s not busy working with clients you can catch her running or riding her bike around the city, cooking, checking out Chicago’s newest restaurant, or planning her next travel adventure.

 

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Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 1

If you are living on a tight budget OR aren’t quite clear even where to start with jumping in the fitness “pool”, these fitness activities are free, fun and can guide you in the right direction to feel more calm, strong and the bomb in 2016!

Strength Training

If your goals include muscling it up or toning it down, these indoor, outdoor and online options can fuel your fitness fire.

Nike Training Club Chicago

Train with top Chicago fitness professionals in classes ranging from barre to HIT in addition to speed, endurance and long distance run training. Nike Training Club Chicago supported super fabulous events last year like Train with Hart, a 5K run with Kevin Hart, and #getouthere, a temporary Chicago river front workout facility to withstand the Chicago chill.  Need a little help sorting through your fitness goals? Sign up for an exclusive Resolutions Consultation with a Nike fitness pro and get athletic coaching advice for nada dollars.  Join and sign up for workouts here.

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North Face Mountain Athletics

Cold air, they don’t care.  North Face continues their free Mountain Athletics outdoor workouts Tuesday at Lincoln Park and Thursday at Millennium Park even in the winter.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is for you!

Each session, led by two The North Face trainers, prep you for outdoor goals.  Sign up here.

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Chicago Park District

Looking for something local?  Check out your nearby Chicago Park district building this week, January 2nd-10th, for free boxing, swimming, aerobic exercise and more.

Target Commit to Fit (with Adam Rosante and Idalis Velazquez)

It takes at least 21 days to start a habit so Target wants to bolster your fit meter with a free 21 day Commit to Fit workout program.  Adam Rosante, certified athletic trainer, and author of “The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean, Train Dirty & Live Hard” and Idalis Velazquez, founder of IV Fitness LLC and the creator of the PowerUP60 training method, power through with you by leading a series of Target Youtube videos for abs, cardio and strength.

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Dance

ARC Chicago

Join in a Dance Free for All January 5th-10th with the American Rhythm Center Chicago.  Classes ranging from Tap, Break dancing, African Dance, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian and much more are all free!

Dance Fitness with Jessica

These short, high energy dance routines are lead and follow style but still could be club ready with practice.  Jessica Bass starting a small group dance class in Knoxville, TN that expanded to hundreds of free Youtube videos in addition to a purchasable fitness program.  Lace up your dancing shoes and prepare to werk.

If you don’t have twinkle toe or muscle head genes, stayed tuned for Part 2 of our Free Workout posts: Yoga and Running!

 

Fit, Free and Fun for Spring

Finally!  Events are starting to pick up and Chicago is bringing it’s S game.  Super. Spectacular. Spring.

We are so excited to share some of our secret spring events this week to put that sprang back in your step.

Tuesday April 14th (Lincoln Monument) and Thursday April 15th (Pritzker Pavilion) and every Tues, Thurs in April

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North Face Mountain Athletics

We got our first taste of Mountain Athletics at the kickoff event at the end of March on a clear 50 degree day and man, we didn’t know what to expect.  Our duo of personal trainers explained that each week focuses on a different body area all while integrating the core.  We went through a series of intervals all using our own body weight.  Exercise sets can be modified to fit your level of fitness which makes the workout approachable yet challenging.  We loved the partner exercises so bring a pal and get ready to sweat.

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Tuesday 4/14 (and Tuesday nights each week)

BENDER FLAVOR LAB

Calling all house heads slash yogis!  Bender Flavor Lab serves up a hot serving of unique fitness and jams each Tuesday at the Lab Dance Studio.  Each week holds a different theme and DJ set but always gives you snacks and water in an urban street art styled loft space.

Bonus: Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s on Tuesday 4/14!

Wednesday April 15th

Big City Blonde and Goldplaited presents a trivia and pampering event: “Blondes vs. Brunettes”.  Get competitive, red heads and dark locked people can rock the trivia too.  Participants can win glam make up prizes, indulge in styling and make up tutorials from Goldplaited, and obvs flex their hair color knowledge.  We need to study up!  Rsvp here.

Friday April 17th (through Sunday April 19th)

Pure Barre is is partnering with Real Simple for a “Beauty & Balance” Weekend April 17-19.  Stop by any of the participating locations to take a “Pure & Simple” specialty class.  To register for one of these special classes, please visit the local studio page and find the “Real Simple’s ‘Pure & Simple’ Class” on your studio’s schedule and click “Sign Up Now.”  New clients are welcome to try a complimentary class using the promo code “REALSIMPLE” – make sure to select the “Real Simple Class” option and enter this promo code upon checkout.

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Saturday April 18

It is time to Live Out Loud Everyday with Lole Activewear.  In celebration of the new Lole Southport location, they are having a grand opening party and fashion show brunch across the street at the Yoga Loft located at 1350 W Newport.  The store is directly across the street at 3434 N Southport Ave.

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image borrowed from Lole

Lole Spring/Summer Collection Preview Fashion Show
Doors Open:  10am
Show Time:  11am
Mimosa’s and brunch from Kitchfix, a $15 Lole voucher, and a Goodie Bag.  $10 Ticket donation going to CTF Children’s Tumor Foundation.