Archive | Strength Training RSS feed for this section

Today is the Day…

18 Jun

Day one of the next sixteen weeks of my life…

16 weeks that will probably have you sick of hearing the words “Chicago” and “Marathon”

16 weeks of torturing running with Kevin because he told me he’d run my training plan with me (if only the race wasn’t sold out…*evil laugh*)

16 weeks of kicking ass and taking names because I plan on owning this race come October.

Week 1 is an easy week:

Monday: Upper body/core workout

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Wednesday: Upper body/core workout (a.m.) 4 miles of hills (p.m.)

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace (a.m.), yoga (p.m.)

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10 pace

Aside from a quick treadmill mile with my very first personal training client on Saturday morning, and some yardwork, I took the entire weekend off in preparation. My legs are really happy right now, I’m completely healed from my injury, and I’m ready to run.

We have 4 weeks until the Jamestown Half Marathon – the first race of the summer! That week will also be the beginning of the high mileage weeks involved in the plan I’m following – it tops out at 48 miles a week toward the end of the plan. I’m a tad nervous about that, since it typically takes me two weeks to run that many miles, but I trust in this plan and my body, I’m ready for it!

Is anyone else training for a fall marathon? What type of plan are you following?


Why, When and How Runners Should Strength Train

5 Jun

Why, When and How Runners Should Strength Train

Hello Running and Cupcakes readers! I’m Kristen and I’m very excited to share my thoughts on strength training with you today. Just to give you some background, I’m a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in the Boston area. I also have a blog, Be Fit with Kristen. I’m very passionate about inspiring others to a life of health and fitness. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

First off, I want to extend a big thank you to Samantha for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her blog. Smile

I thought it would be nice to start with a little inspiration by quoting my mentor, Andy, “When you’re in a race you want to be more than a runner. You want to be an athlete because athletes are strong and can fight their way to the end”. I think about this quote every time I run. It was the one thing that kept me going during my last race, the 5 mile run for HAWC. I got to mile 4 and hit my wall. I came close to slowing down and giving up on my goal. But then I remembered the quote and told myself that I was a fighter. I kept repeating (to myself of course) that I was a fighter and not a quitter. I found the strength to fight through the fatigue and complete that last mile. I even managed to pull off an all out sprint across the finish line. I’m happy to say that I surpassed my goal by a minute and 38 seconds. I’m so glad that I didn’t quit.

Here’s a picture of me crossing the finish line exerting every bit of strength I had; using my arms to propel me forward. It almost looks as if I sprouted some wings so that I could fly. And maybe I did…

Kris finishing

Okay, moving on to the details of why, when and how you, as runners, should strength train.


Injury Prevention

  • Prepares your body for the impact
    • Strength training builds stronger muscles and stronger bones. Your body is more efficient at absorbing the impact of running on your joints and ligaments.
  • Prevents over-use injuries
    • Strength training will help strengthen areas such as the hips and glutes, both areas of weakness in many runners, lessening the chance of injury over time.
  • Eases Recovery
    • Strength training after a run makes a good cool down. It enhances range of motion through the joints which will help alleviate aches and pains that are common to most runners.

Performance Enhancement

  • Improves your gait. Focusing on weaker muscles will correct muscle imbalances; i.e. knees that cave inward. In this case you would focus on strengthening your outer thighs.
  • Improves your speed. Stronger legs will increase the power behind each foot strike making you faster
  • Improves your staying power. Strength training, particularly when done in circuit format will improve your aerobic capacity. Your body won’t require as much oxygen and energy to perform. You’ll be able to run longer without tiring.

Enhances Inner Strength and Mentality

  • You’ll feel stronger physically and be more confident mentally. You’ll know you’re an athlete. And athletes have the focus and the drive it takes to find your inner strength finish strong. You’ll be saying to yourself, I know I can…


Frequency – At least 2 but preferably 3 times a week to get the benefit, but not after long runs unless you do something of low intensity.

Intensity – You’ll want to workout at a moderate to high intensity level depending on how you feel and the run you’ve done that day. You should keep your heart rate elevated. And don’t be afraid to pick up heavier weights. Overloading your muscles is what makes you stronger. You’re not going to bulk up if you stay within the 10 – 15 rep range. I promise. J

Type – Contrary to what was ingrained in our minds for many years; strength training is about training movements rather than muscles; particularly with athletes. It’s often referred to functional training which consists of exercises that will help you in everyday life (like running). Think multi-joint exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, pull ups, or anything that engages more than one muscle group at a time. You should most definitely stay away from machines. Machines are linear and usually only work one muscle at a time. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place, just not with athletes such as you.

Time – About 20 minutes (excluding warm up and stretching) will do. If you run strength train on a day that you run, do the workout after the run. If not, your body will be too fatigued.


I’ve designed a circuit workout for you all today. Though it’s geared towards runners, it really is a great total body workout for anyone.

Please remember that you must always do a proper warm-up before your workout and a good ten minute stretch after.

Strenght Training for Runners

Okay the personal trainer in me can’t, in good faith, give you this workout without some instruction on form etc. So read on if you want the details…


Go through each circuit 1 -2 times before moving on to the next, with little or no rest in between. Once through is about 20 minutes. Twice would be a good challenge if you have the time.

Lunge to balance: Start in a lunge position, drive your back knee up and then in front of you keeping the foot flexed. From there take that same leg into a forward lunge. Reverse the motion.

Push ups on the stability ball: Hands on the ball, feet on the ground. Beginners should start with the ball up next to the wall.

Jump Squats: Make sure you bend your knees as you land. Always land toe to heel. Keep your chest lifted at all times. If you can’t touch the floor without sacrificing form, then just reach down as far as you can.

I, Y & T Flies: Use light weights for this one. Raise your arms straight up over your head (making an I). Lower your arms and repeat movement but now bring your arms up wider (making a Y). Repeat a third time but lift your arms out to the side, straight out from the shoulder (making a T). Each round counts as one rep

Lunge to overhead press: Do this as a single leg exercise to really fire up those glutes. Place your back foot up on a bench. Squat down until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Drive up through your heels and your glutes as you press the weights overhead.

Tricep dips: Keep your back up straight and your elbows behind you.

Single leg deadlifts: For better balance hold the weight in the hand opposite of your standing leg.

Assisted pull up/Chin up combo: One hand has an overhand grip and the other an underhand grip.

Alternating side lunge: Hold a weight across your chest from some extra resistance or add a hop in between sides to make it more cardio intensive.

Diagonal wood chops: You can use a medicine ball, hand weight or a cable machine. As you rotate your torso make sure you pivot your feet so that your knees stay in line with your toes.

Hip rolls: You want to make large exaggerated circles keeping the motion slow and controlled

Donkey whips: Start with your leg out straight behind you, hip height. Bring the leg around to your side keeping your foot flexed. Hold for 1 count and return to start.

Lateral leg lifts: Do these on the floor (since you’re already there). For an extra burn turn your foot slightly so that your toes are now ground facing.

Stability ball knee drives: If you really want to target your core lift your butt up slightly as you bring your knees in.

Stability ball roll out: Keep your body in neutral spine. Avoid sticking your butt back as you roll in. That would be cheating. You want to use your core to roll in/out.

Plank series: For a real challenge do these back to back with no rest in between.


Note from Samantha: I haven’t tried this workout, yet, but I will be very soon! I’ll let you know how I fare after the fact!

I hope you enjoyed this post from Kristen!


%d bloggers like this: