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.

high five

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

plank.jpg

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.

 

Guest Post: Off the Couch

mountainath

In addition to our spectacular The North Face Giveaway, we’ve partnered with Lauren Fairbanks, Chicago Mountain Athletics trainer, to guide us (and you!) on our trail running journey up to the Wisconsin Endurance Challenge in September.  This week, Lauren is sharing how to start a training program.  If you have been glued to your sofa, watching Netflix with a slice of pizza lying on your chest, this is a great place to begin.  If you have the idea that “I’m a NOT a runner”, this is for you too.  Welcome to Chi Organic Girls, Lauren!

lf

 

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.

GUEST POST

Off the Couch: How to get Started Training 

By Lauren Fairbanks

Sometimes the hardest part of beginning any exercise routine is simply just figuring out where to start.  With all the new fitness trends and loads of confusing health advice out there, it can quickly become overwhelming to any newcomer to running.  Running can be one of the most painful, but rewarding athletic endeavors to take on.  I hear a lot of people make the excuse “I’m not a runner,” or “I’m not fast enough to race.”  Pending you have no injuries and your body and mind is up for the challenge, anyone can be a runner.  Look around next time you’re walking past a race on a Sunday morning, runner’s come in all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities.

The awesome thing about running is that you can really do it anywhere, and you don’t need a fancy gym membership or a ton of expensive gear to be good at it.  It’s a great way to get fit, build up your confidence and enjoy the outdoors.  If you are brand new to running, I recommend joining a running group in your community to help get you started.

The most important part of beginning any training program is making a goal.  Goals not only give you a purpose in your training but they also give you something to focus on.  Deciding whether you want to run your first 5k or your first marathon will help you be able to lay the foundation for your training plan.  A beginner can run any race, its just about allowing enough time to train for it.  Next up: sign up for that race and share your goal with someone else.  This person will become your accountability buddy.  Your accountability buddy can be a person in your life that is supportive and encouraging and who is invested in helping you reach your training goals.

running

The one important piece of equipment that you will need to start running is a good pair of shoes.  You can visit your local running shoe store and they will help get you fitted for a pair that works for your feet.  If you have never run before, a great way to start your training is with a run/walk method.  This can be as simple as 1 minute running followed by 1 minute walking for your desired distance.  As you feel more comfortable you can increase this to 2-3-4-5 minutes of running at a time.  There are tons of extensive running programs online, but sometimes its best to keep it simple and easy to follow when you are just starting out.  I would recommend getting in 3 runs/week, with one of those being your “long run”.  Your long run will vary depending on what distance you’re training for and how far along your are in your program.

It is so important to start any training plan at your own pace.  Starting a program that is way to aggressive for you can set you up for failure, disappointment and possibly even injury.  Making sure you start slow, and gradually build your speed and mileage will reduce your risk of injury and keep you feeling strong.  It’s so important to listen to your body and be patient with your progress.  You don’t go from couch potato to running 50 miles a week overnight.  Time, commitment and a good attitude will go a long way in running training.  If you stick with it long enough you might just experience that “Runners High” that you’ve heard all runners talk about, and that definitely makes all the hard work worth it.

Look for more tips from Lauren in upcoming posts. There’s still time to get outfitted in free The North Face Gear and join us at the Wisconsin Endurance Challenge. Check out our The North Face Giveaway today!