Want to be a faster runner? A little leaner? Would you like to get injured less? Want to be strong?
Back when I was a run-first-everything-else-last girl, I made a bunch of strength training mistakes. Here’s what I did wrong and how I fixed them:
Giving up too early.
When I didn’t see the results I wanted in the mirror immediately, I got discouraged and then I gave up. Why can’t huge quads appear overnight? I had to change my expectations. I also had to change how I measured my results. Instead of looking in the mirror, I had to judge my progress on whether or not I could do more reps or could lift more weight than before. In addition, I had to trust that over time, strength training would make a difference.
Not being consistent.
A lot of people like running because they can do it with friends, but strength training is a lonelier pursuit. Some people may be able to meet up in a gym, but a lot of us runners have to fit strength work in at home. Joining a 12-week challenge, which came with an online community, helped me stay consistent and I started to actually see the results.
Not doing it enough.
When I first added strength training into my routine, I only did it once per week. That’s not enough. In my experience, I need at least 3 days per week of strength training to see results. And, don’t forget rest! Muscles need time to repair (and get bigger).
Not lifting heavy.
When I first started, I only did bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises are great, especially plyometric type moves, but don’t forget to add some traditional weighted squats, lunges and deadlifts. These seem basic, but they can give you a lot of bang for your buck.
I like my strength routine to include both weighted and plyo exercises. I also like a full-body strength workout (because I want arm muscles, too). These usually involve a mix of squats, lunges, squat jumps, switch jumps, deadlifts, curls, overhead presses, etc.
I use a moderately heavy (for me) set of dumbbells where I can still control the weight (and it’s not controlling me). About 15-20 minutes of this and I’m done for the day. Oh, and by the way, sprinting can build strength in legs and abs!
It’s never too late to start getting faster, stronger, leaner and healthier.
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a