Here’s How To Stop Dreading Strength Training As A Runner
It may take some time, but with some research you can find the strength training that works best for your body—and is fun, too!
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
I have a problem, you guys. I have a sick addiction to a workout, and it’s not (gasp) running. My name is Danielle, and I am a barre addict. This post isn’t really about barre, though–it’s about finding strength training that you love!
I have never been the type of person who actually likes to exercise. Kudos to you if you are! That must make life much easier–but it’s just not me. Running has been the only form of exercise that I genuinely enjoy. After having my back surgery, I realized that if I wanted to run at all, even if it was just 3 times a week, I would need to do some serious cross training to strengthen my core and help keep my back healthy as long as possible. The only thing worse than cross training (in my book) is the dreaded strength training, which gave me visions of giant body builders heaving boulders over their heads while grunting.
Since I was obviously not going to do that, I set about trying lots of different strength workouts to see what stuck. I tried BodyPump, yoga, weight training (both free weights and machines), pilates, and a host of others. Finally, I settled on barre, because I found myself genuinely excited to go to class. Barre is a combination of athletic movements at a ballet barre combined with yoga and pilates. No dancing is required! As luck would have it, a new Barre3 studio was opening close to where I live. I was already familiar with Barre3 from being an online subscriber and doing many of their awesome videos online. However I had a hard time being consistent with doing the workouts at home–a problem many of us have! I was lucky to join a studio that is welcoming of people of all fitness levels, shapes, and sizes. They emphasize doing your best each day. I walk in and out of that door excited about class.
The most important part of a strength training routine is finding one that compliments your running and leaves you feeling excited to do it again–or at least not actively dreading it. For me, that means focusing on a lot of core work, particularly in my glutes, hips, and lower back, which are my weak areas. I can tell that my strength training has been paying off because I had way less soreness and weakness in those areas during my first marathon after surgery! A strong core helps promote good running form in the later miles of a hard run or race, but getting one doesn’t mean you have to do thousands of crunches. There are plenty of great strength routines (barre included!) that can help you achieve that goal.
While what I’m doing may not be as hardcore as CrossFit, as traditional as weight lifting, or as soothing as yoga, it’s working for me, and consistency is key! Little efforts every day yield big results. Your running will only benefit from finding a form of strength training that you can stick with.