Yesterday afternoon members from my local MRTT chapter took over my basement when I hosted, Becoming A Stronger Runner, a strength training for runners workshop that I held just for them, and today I’m happy to share the workout with my readers.
After having my attendees introduce and tell a little bit about themselves, I discussed the importance of strength training to help prevent injuries and enhance our running performance. I then had my Cruiser/MRTT friend and client, Kim, demonstrate each of the exercises as I pointed out correct form, muscles used, and how many reps they should try to complete.
I chose Kim to demonstrate the exercises because she has beautiful form with great control, extension, and flexibility. We have been working together since late September after she gave birth to her third child, and through my guidance and her very hard work she has lost approximately 45 pounds. Just last weekend Kim set a PR at the Rock ‘N’ Roll DC Half Marathon with a time of 1:56:09. I knew that Kim’s demonstration of each exercise would be spot on, and allow everyone to see it done correctly.
After Kim demonstrated all of the exercises, we were ready to turn the ladies loose and let them participate! Kim led them through a series of dynamic stretches to get their muscles moving and warmed up.
Next she led them through a cardio warm-up to make sure their heart was pumping strongly and sending oxygenated blood to those muscles we would asking them to work. On a side note, I sometimes use this reverse pyramid, or variation of it, as the cardio portion of an interval workout with my clients.
After everyone was properly warmed up, they broke into groups to go through all of the exercise stations. At each station, we had them take turns practicing the exercise, and then coach their partner through proper form.
Each station was marked with a pink sign and one of my lovely stick figures doing the exercise.
I designed the workout to focus on core and mostly lower body muscles, specifically muscles used to take the runner through their gait cycle. There are four different phases during that cycle, and each phase uses a different group of muscles or connective tissue:
- Initial contact phase uses the plantar fascia
- Stance phase uses the calves, Achilles, and core
- Takeoff phase uses the hamstrings, pelvis, and abs
- Forward swing phase uses the hamstrings, quads, and core
We talked about the importance of working the entire body, and how the upper body helps carry a runner through a race, especially a longer one, once the runner starts tiring. I worked two upper body exercises into the routine, and showed the ladies how they can add upper body exercises to their lunges and squats. We also discussed using items like a jug of water or things laying around the house, instead of rushing out and buying weights.
I suggested they try to do some sort of strength training three times a week for the best results, but if that’s impossible, I recommended twice a week minimum. Of course, I’d rather see someone cross-train with weights once a week, than not at all.
After everyone had gone through all of the stations, we regrouped to lead the ladies in final stretches. We focused only on lower body stretches since the workout had mainly focused on lower body exercises.
To finish off the workshop, in true MRTT style, we had a slew of giveaways. Five lucky winners took home Fellow Flower magnets and Sweat Pink shoelaces. The two grand prizes were a free personal training session with me, and an MRTT visor and magnet.
It was a busy and fun workshop, and everyone left with a copy of the Strength Training For Runners Workout. With that in their possession, they will be able complete a great workout in their home with little to no equipment needed, and should soon see an improvement in their running performance.
- Is strength training part of your cross-training routine?
- After running, what is your favorite exercise?
- Did you race this past weekend?