Building A Better Running Body

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My little kettlebell friend 😉

Hey boys and girls…. off to another day….  my thought on waking this morning… “there are parts of me that are tight and ache that I’m not used to” haha

Enter… doing new exercises or hitting others harder than you have recently. I actually, in a twisted way, kinda like that feeling. I know I’ve worked m body in a different way and that’s a good thing.  We do adjust to the same/similar work over time and  have to step outside our comfort zone, whether it’s adding something new, increasing our weights or our reps, or running a little farther.

As a runner I do try and find exercises that will build and strengthen me for running…. is there a more glorious form of exercise ? 😉 I have found that my strong upper body really does come into play when I’m in those last hard miles of a long run and my legs might be asking “are we there yet?”

I’ve also read a lot on how runners can rely more on their legs than the strong powerful glute muscles to drive their run and how those muscles, even though the largest on the body, can be weak or neglected leading to potential injury. I’ve been focused on doing some specific work in that area for awhile now.

Yesterday’s workout was one I enjoy ’cause for me it’s constant movement and variety. I do some boxing for like…3 songs (that will get you breathing hard) and it’s great upper body/core work. I move into doing some weights, back to some boxing, then core work on the floor, weights, and maybe end with the final song hammering on the bag. ( seriously, if you ever need to release stress, anger, frustration…. get a punching bag 😉 anyway, put all that together, it’s a good workout that I feel the next day. I like that.

So some moves I’m doing lately I think are helpful ( and hey if you’re into that aesthetic thing, they don’t hurt for that either 😉

Squats. I do those suckers wherever I can. I can knock off like… 50 brushing my teeth. Do that twice a day… that’s outside of my workouts… bonus… I use  a 35lb kettlebell to do my squats with in my workouts. Yeah, you’ll feel that after awhile.

Deadlifts. Again, if I’m moving through a quick workout, that kettlebell really comes in handy.

 Glute Bridges. I think one of the single best moves for runners. Do single leg also… that’s where you find out pretty quick that you’re a total badass   wimp. Single leg really isolates the muscles on one side and you have to intentionally focus (embrace the discomfort…. I try not to make squealing noises at the end of a set haha)

Lunges. Those are always a good standby and can be modified for your needs.

My newest favorite though, has taken me a little practice working on the form, is the single leg deadlift. Oh I’ve got it now… I’ve even got it using my 35lb kettlebell through the move. The movements are slow, controlled and focused….. and yeah…. you should feel it. I love that this exercise isolates and focuses on one side without making you over-compensate. It’s best done barefoot so you can really plant your foot solidly on the floor. This move will also bring out every balance skill you have….. perfect for an old person like me to keep that sharp 😉

Even if you don’t run, these are great lower body strength moves that benefit anyone. Incorporating a variety of exercises and athletic movements into your routine will make you stronger for your overall daily living =)

Do you have any favorite “go to” strength exercises ?

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Yeah I’m a Runner With Muscles

I have a friend who always tells me….

“I’m glad you don’t look like a runner”  the first time that surprised me ’cause I’ve had perfect strangers assume I am.

What she meant was that I don’t fit the typical profile… if there is such a thing as one… (see my Runners World page on that topic)

Well, first of all, blowing me out of the running for any “normal runner” profile is the fact I’m 6’0 tall. I’m definitely an easy target and I’m often paced off of… or targeted to overtake ha

Yes, my legs are long and my stride is one to some of my much smaller counter parts two strides, I’ve had to deal with the fact I’ve got a lot more…. body… to move along and my pace might not ever be that of my smaller, whippet thin running companions.  I’m just stupid happy to be in the club…..

Besides, those obvious things, I pack a decent amount of muscle and that is what my friend means. She likes that I have muscles….  more than the average person/runner …..I kinda like it too 😉

As mentioned in another post, a few years ago, I started doing strength training on days I couldn’t run because of really bad weather ( I hated the treadmill and found it to be sooo boring) so I started doing my own “routine” I’d do some boxing and some weights. Nothing crazy, but enough to give me a decent workout.  I’d do it a couple times a week.

Well, it kinda stuck.

Over time I tried to actively incorporate that into what I do. In the beginning I was a kinda ….uninformed.. runner. I am pretty much self taught, read voraciously, and do a trial and error thing.. if it works for me I keep it… if it doesn’t I toss it out. I shamelessly talk to people who are more experienced and knowledgeable. It’s how I’ve learned.

So imagine my total delight, when I started seeing articles and suggestions that runners needed to do more than “just” run. That strength training/cross training was beneficial on so many levels. I was ahead of the game!

Injury prevention/protection

Overall body strength for those last, long hard miles.

Not to mention, it’s good to work all muscles in your body not just running muscles.

I think my body responds well to some weight training, I don’t go all crazy with it. And genetically, I might have something going on that helps.  But I do know I am more aware than ever of how all my body works together running and how I am aware of the strength coming from other areas and not just my legs/glutes.

Of course, being strong and having muscles helps greatly in my daily active life too =) and let’s not forget… summer and tank season 😛

Dec 2014
Dec 2014…..front view……..
Dec 2014
Dec 2014… and the back… I was surprised… I hadn’t really looked at them in awhile 😛                                                    

So what do I do ?

It’s all stuff I have at home. I have weights of all sizes which I use for upper body ( I really do prefer them over machines as I feel like it’s a little harder and makes me invest more of myself) I spend some time on that as well as core/ab stuff too. Squats of all kinds are my newest fav move….weighted and not weighted. I also use a jump rope and love explosive move exercises like jump squats….. which are not recommended to do a high volume of and then go wear heels 😛

and yeah, I end with a plank. I’m up to 3 minutes which makes me feel super bad ass crazy sweaty and breathing harder than an old horse out to pasture when I finish.

The most recent thing I’ve picked up working on is a single leg deadlift.

BOOM. There’s a move that singlehandedly kills your ass haha.

Seriously, it totally isolates one hip/glute area, develops balance (yikes) I do think I need a lighter kettlebell than my 35lb one to do this move with. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this. It’s one of the harder things I’ve tried.

Basically, if I have only 30 minutes I cram it with constant movement…. if I have more time… I put more in. I prefer 45- to an hour if I can.

Ah……… all for the progress of becoming a better, stronger runner 😉

If you run do you strength train?  Cross train? Tell me what you’re up to incase I wanna try that too 😉