3 reasons I’m choosing strength training

As I mentioned in my last post, for the next 90 days I’m going to be prioritizing strength training instead of focusing on running. I’ll still be running, but if I have to choose between fitting in a strength training session and going for a run, I’ll be choosing strength. Or at least that is the plan.

I think I’ve actually lost muscle mass since Disney

Strength training is really not my thing. I don’t love it. I don’t miss it if I don’t hit the gym a few times a week. That is my relationship with running, not weights. In the next year I’m hoping to knock out some pretty sweet PRs and get a little bit more serious about running. So even though it feels a little counter intuitive, I’m going to be focusing on strength training instead of running for the next 90 days.

Improve Resiliency
Last year I realized that I don’t seem to bounce back from races as quickly as other runners. I’m pretty much okay with that. I know not to schedule races too close together. And it mostly works. However, I can’t help but wonder if I had better overall fitness if I would be a bit more resilient after races.

I’m hoping in 2016 I won’t be quite so worn down after racing, which is especially important since I’m planning on tackling a lot of 5ks in the spring. After most of these races I will need to recover quickly and get right back into hard training if I want to continue to see improvements over the course of the season.

Reduce Body Fat
It is no secret that elite runners are very lean. While I am definitely not quite that speedy, I do want to get faster. A sub 20 5k is not an easy goal. If leaning out a bit can help me get to that goal, then that is what I am going to do. I’m hoping that changing up my usual work out routine (running with a side of running) I will pick up a bit of muscle and drop a bit of body fat.

I will be cleaning up my diet as well. P90X has a diet plan to accompany the program, but it looks like it would difficult for me to follow (I’m a very picky, lactose intolerant, vegetarian). I will be adding a bit more protein to help build muscle, cutting back on carbs because I’ll be running less, and cutting back on alcohol/splurges (my wedding anniversary, Thankgiving, Christmas, New Years and my birthday are all within this 90 day period).

Maintain Fitness
I don’t have a single race on my calendar until April 2016. This is a good thing because I absolutely need to take a break from hard training. I’ve been following one training plan or another since March and it is time for a break.

Well, sort of. I want to maintain my running base so that I am ready to start training hard in February and I KNOW that without an actual plan I will end up hardly running at all. Especially when the weather starts to suck and I just want to stay inside. I’m hoping that by keeping the focus on strength training while supplementing with running, I will be able to maintain my current level of fitness and still feel mentally/physically prepared to resume training in the spring.

I’ve already skipped one workout this week in favor of pizza, ice cream, and Netflix. So there is definitely a strong possibility that this plan will not work out at all. But I’m hoping if I keep reminding myself that it is only 90 days (87 left!) I can power through.

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9 thoughts on “3 reasons I’m choosing strength training

  1. Good luck! I admire your ability to take this on. I tried to follow a generalized overall-fitness based “plan” this summer/fall and I failed. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm just not good at sticking with something that doesn't have an incentive structure (i.e. a race) built in, and if I'm going to work out I always think “yeah I COULD do that spin class, but why don't I just run?” It was a mistake for me to assume that the same level of motivation would be there, even though I knew non-running fitness was valuable. I've definitely been doing a lot of the “bare minimum” lately and that's okay – my race times show that my fitness is actually holding up pretty well considering how much less I train these days. I realize now that I just really needed a break – not just from the physical aspects of hard training but also from the rigorous structure of following a plan all the time.

    For what it's worth, I think a lot of race recovery/resiliency is also genetic. Just like other aspects of running – speed, form, endurance – natural ability plays a big role in resiliency. Do you really think all the people who recover from races better than you are more fit than you? I bounce back quite well from races, but I don't do anything different than anyone else, I'm just blessed with a good deal of natural resiliency. I'm certainly not in better shape than you! I'm sure improving your strength will absolutely help your recovery, but in addition you might just have to accept that you need to emphasize post-race recovery more than other athletes – and through no fault of your own. Just some food for thought, not to discourage you from trying this!!! 🙂

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  2. This is really interesting – I'm excited to hear how this goes. I struggle with strength too because it's definitely not my favorite part of training. I can't motivate myself to do these types of workouts, but I know I need more of it too. Good luck to you! If you have any great strength workout recommendations, I'd love to hear about them! 🙂

    Oh also…I know I've gone in and out of peaking through your posts. I can't seem to follow you via email which is why you don't hear from me much. I'm trying to figure out a way to get notifications (other than Bloglovin – cuz I don't use that). Just wanted to let you know I'm trying my best to keep in your loop!

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  3. That was me last night. I got stuck late at work and when I got home I was like “well I'd go for a run if I had a race to worry about, but no harm will come from skipping yoga tonight.” And then I got comfortable on the couch and that was that. I'm really hoping that the rest of the plan goes better.

    I agree that genetics probably play a huge role in recovery. I definitely don't think that after one quick 90 day program, I will suddenly be able to zip out for a run the day after a hard race. I am hoping to at least reduce some of the post-race ouch though. Like maybe if my core is stronger, my form will hold together a bit better, and then the amount of sore the next day will be more manageable. Fingers crossed that this plays out in this manner.

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  4. Oh, it's not you, it's blogspot. It has been giving me so many problems lately.

    I'm the exact same way. I hoping that by putting it on the blog I'll it least feel somewhat obligated to try to follow through. I need my readers to keep me accountable.

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  5. I need to work on strength training too! It's such a struggle for me 😦 I think I'm going through post-marathon blues (which are kind of like the pre-marathon blues I had that prevented me from strength training then also)

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  6. I'm so glad that I am not alone in with my strength training struggles. I'm always like, “It's too close to a race so I can't start something new.” or “I just finished a race, it's time for a break.”

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