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.

 

Running towards Labor Day: 1st time (or 2nd or 3rd) 5k Tips for Success

We have a confession to make.  It’s been 2 weeks since our last post…and quite awhile since our last good run and yet, we have decided to run a 5K this weekend!  AHHHH the agony.  We have every intention of getting up at 5:30 am and running to prep but then our beds call us back loving and tenderly.  Maybe tomorrow we will start again.

For those of you who want to stretch your runnin’ legs with us and challenge yourself anyways, the Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 5K this Sunday has super fun pre and post race events that may convince you to jump out of your bed!

The Magnificent Mile® Fitness Meets Fashion Market

Schedule of Pre Race Events

Where: Fleet Feet Sports – South Loop

What: Sneak peeks into fall apparel from trendy fitness brands, live music and giveaways!

Friday

10:00-8:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market hours

4:00-7:00 pm: Q+A, chat with running coach and Runner’s World columnist, Jenny Hadfield.

 Mag-Mile-Shakeout-Run-Header-2014

Saturday

10:00-7:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market Hours

9:15 am: Official Magnificent Shakeout Run led by Professional Oiselle Runner Lauren Fleshman and Jenny Hadfield.

10:30-11:30 am: Complimentary Yoga for Runners class presented by Yoga Six Studio.

4:00-6:00 pm: Meet Professional Oiselle Runner, Lauren Fleshman for a Q+A, photo opportunities, mingling and more!

 

Race Day! Sunday

Register here and get a high quality racerback top to wear while traveling along the fab Mag Mile, a sexy finisher medal and access to a crazy post race party at the historic Buckingham Fountain.  Keep an eye out for delicious LUNA treats at all pre and post race activities.  What a good way to tighten up before Labor day!!  And to really prepare…check out the following pre-race tips for newbies like us from Terra Castro, recently retired professional triathlete and LUNA Chix Pro fitanista!!

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Morning of the Race

  • Warm-up: remember this is short speedy distance.  Warm-ups are essential to get the muscles ready to push at the faster speeds.  No need to hurt a hamstring!  Make sure to get in 10-15 min of light running and pick ups (strides- increased speed and leg turnover).
  • Seed yourself: This means make sure you pick the right corral or group to start with.  If you are ready to rock- go to the front and be aggressive.  If you are middle of the pack,steady approach, place yourself mid group but be ready because it will be a little crowded.  It is OK to be aggressive and seed yourself a little faster than you think as it will give you more room to get moving.
  • Breakfast: Make sure you eat your pre-race breakfast 2 hours or more before because you don’t want the food to cause GI distress.  Coffee, bagel with PB and banana is always a great starting point to try.  If needed you could use a clif shot right before with some water.  Keep it simple.
  • NO NEW THINGS: don’t get excited and try any new product, shoes, socks, or routine on race morning.  Do what you did in training.
  • Race plan: I always have my athletes write out a simple race plan (strategy) of how they will approach the race.  Not only is this good for the race splits (knowing your mile splits to go for) but I also have them write out the mental side of things to process nerves and know how they will handle the WHAT IFS etc.

 

Terra Castro is a recently retired Professional Triathlete who works as an Elite Sports Massage Therapist and Endurance Coach at Detroit Tough.  Terra works with age group athletes of all levels, and has a specialization in Youth/Junior Triathlon Coaching.  Her passion to BE BOLD is something she shares with all her athletes and within her community. (Head Coach/owner of Be Bold Crew LLC).  You can follow Terra and up your run quotient @terracastro (Twitter & Instagram).

Her tips and tricks will be featured in our next few running blog posts to improve your run game (and ours for sure sure!)