Category Archives: Marathon

Strength Training for Runners

Stregnth training guidelines for runners _ happyfitmama.com

If you are a runner, you know you should be strength training.

Now be honest, do you actually strength train consistently?

I know how easy it is to forget about strength training.  Believe me, I get it.  We are runners, we want to run ALL the miles.  Just look at my workouts from last week.  I was running more so I dropped a day of strength training.

So running all the miles will make you a stronger and faster runner.  That’s a fact.  The more your run, the better you become at it.  But when you run all the miles, you need all the strength to keep your body running injury free.  You may have legs of steel from doing hill repeats or 800s on the track, but your WHOLE body needs strength training to combat the repetitive stress you do with each run.

From my years of working in the fitness industry, there are two things that stand out in the excuse column of why strength training doesn’t happen more often.

Intimidation.  It can be intimidating to go to a gym where there’s lots of machines and “toys” with big buff dudes and ladies flinging heavy stuff around.

Time. I’m already spending a ton of time running, how can I fit it one more thing?

You don’t need fancy gym equipment to strength train.  It most certainly makes it more interesting, but it’s not necessary. Do you know what the best strength training exercises for runners are: planks, deadlift, squats, lunges and push ups.

Notice what all these have in common?  No equipment needed!

You also don’t need hours to devote to strength training.  It should take you 20-30 minutes to bust out some strength.

Easy enough, right?

Strength Training Guidelines for Runners

Do:

  • 2-3 full body strength training sessions a week focusing on the major muscle groups of the lower and upper body
  • Use a heavy enough weight so form is not compromised
  • Form is key!  Don’t get sloppy to get through the exercises faster.  Slow and controlled.
  • Exercises that will enhance your running (see below)
  • Plyometrics like squat jumps, bounding and high knees are explosive bodyweight training which a runner needs.  These exercises help with your “spring” when you push off the ground with each foot fall while running.
  • Exercises that move in many planes.  Work to the front, side and the back!
  • Do strength training on your easy run days or cross training days

Don’t

  • Say you don’t have time
  • Think advanced means better results.  It’s better to do a basic move with good form.
  • Use momentum when performing the exercise.  Think about what muscle you are working to lift the weight in a slow and controlled movement.

Looking for some strength training exercises for runners?  Check out these 7 workouts that are 20-30 minutes and hit all the muscles runners need to strengthen.

FYI – While I am an ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist and RRCA Running Coach, I am not your trainer or coach.  Please consult your physician, trainer or coach for specific guidelines.

Strength trainign guidelines for runners | Bosu Core Workout happyfitmama.com

Strength training guidelines for runners | The 100 Workout happyfitmama.com

Strength training guidelines for runners | Stay injury free or rehab an injury with these glute strengtghening exercises for runners happyfitmama.com

Strength training guidelines for runners | quick 20 minute BOSU strength workout happyfitmama.com

Strength training guidelines for runners | my-favorite-strength-and-running-workout-happyfitmama-com

Strength training guidelines for runners | A strong upper body is an asset that every runner should have. Try this quick upper body workout for runners to get faster and stronger. happyfitmama.com

Strength trainig guidelines for runners | You can workout twice in one day! Get a run in the morning and strength session in the evening. happyfitmama.com

Linking up with Coaches Cornerand Wild Workout Wednesday.

Do you strength train? 

What’s your go to for strength training?

Workouts for Your Best Half Marathon

Workouts for your best half marathon | happyfitmama.com

Welcome to another month of Run It!

In case you missed it, here’s what we covered so far this year:

Winter Running Tips and Essentials

How to Stay Sane on the Treadmill

The Best and Worst Racing Advice for Runners

Essential Exercises for Common Running Injuries

Hydration Tips and Tricks for Runners

Summer Running Tips

Rave Runs

Mental Workouts for Runners

This month the topic is workouts for your best marathon whether it’s a half or a full. It’s fitting since we just kicked off fall racing season with the Berlin Marathon last weekend. It seems like there’s a half or full every weekend through the rest of the year.

Since I’ve run more half marathons than marathons, I’m going to focus on a half workout.

Here’s a fun workout that I’ve used in the past for half marathon training for myself and  my athletes.

Try this workout for your best half marathon happyfitmama.com

For any distance runner, there are 3 key ingredient workouts that should be done each week:

Long Run

A long run is the back bone of any distance runner’s training.  Long is relative – it could be 8 miles or 30 miles depending on the distance your are training for.  The purpose of a long run is to build endurance.  With each week, your long run increases (unless there’s a cut back week) and hopefully, the distance becomes more manageable. Most long runs are done at an easy pace but advance runners may throw in goal paces or a fast finish.

Tempo

Tempo runs are meant to help the body flush out lactate that builds during hard exercise.  Again, super useful for any distance you are training for. In doing tempo runs in training, your body gets used to running at faster paces for a longer period of time without building too much lactate.  A tempo run is usually at a comfortably hard pace

Specific Workouts

To get better at running fast, you need to run fast.  That’s the basics of specificity in running.  For half or full marathon training, the last 4-8 weeks of training is the time to get your specific workouts in. Specific workouts are usually for the more advanced runner rather the beginner. In specific workouts you may be running at goal race pace for

Workouts for your best half marathon | happyfitmama.com

Here are even more workouts for your best half or full marathon from a few of my running friends. Click on the picture to take you to their post. And don’t forget to Pin awayso you have a stash of valuable running info to reference whenever you need it.

Laura

Laura September Workout

Nellie

6 Amazing Half Marathon & Full Marathon Workouts

Carly

6 Best Half and Full Marathon Workouts - Run It

Allie

VITASeptemberWorkoutLinking up with Coaches Cornerand Wild Workout Wednesday.

What are you training for right now?

Half or full marathon – which is your favorite?

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Thoughts on the Boston Marathon

Thoughts on the Boston Marathon | happyfitmama.com

In 5 days, the Boston Marathon will commence.

A race that every runner knows about. A race that even the non-runner knows about.

I’ve been thinking of Boston a lot lately.

Maybe it’s because it seems like everyone is asking me if I’m running this year.

“Everyone” meaning all of my patients who remembered me running two years ago or people who I just meet and find out I’m a runner. When you live an hour away from Boston, everyone and their brother knows about Marathon Monday.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked in the past month, I would be a freakin’ millionaire.

Of course, the majority of the people asking me are not runners and have no idea that you need to qualify, run with a charity or a get a bib from a marathon sponsor (like I did from Stonyfield).

There’s also the question – “Have you ever run Boston?”

Simple question with a very complicated answer. Usually I answer with “yes but no” and then rehash all the ugly details.

A friend told me I should just say yes because I did train for it and I did cross the starting line.  I even have a finisher’s medal. Read THIS story if you are wondering how that happened.

But, to me, I did not run Boston.

Boston Marathon Finish LIne | happyfitmama.com

Maybe I’m thinking so much of Boston because my Sugarloaf Marathon training was cut short last month. My whole goal for training for Sugarloaf this year was to BQ so I could run in 2018. Training was going really, really well and I was allowing myself to think that I might have a viable shot at a BQ.

Well, Sugarloaf is not happening this year. In fact, I’ve been doing some soul searching trying to determine if I even want to try to run a marathon again.

It’s ironic that I am now contemplating if I have another marathon in me. Last year at this time, I was in the same place although I was not injured at the time.  While I have forgiven myself for what happened, I still have these thoughts on Boston.

It’s definitely a love/hate relationship between the marathon and I. The only reason that I would even think of doing a marathon again would be to make it to Boston.

I love the vibe of Boston. After experiencing it all two years ago, I want it again. If you have ever been, you know the whole weekend leading up to the race is electric. The expo. The history. The symbolism.

Thoughts on the boston marthon | happyfitmama.com

When you get to the Athlete’s Village, the electricity continues. And all along the course, it’s nothing but one big party.

But I don’t really love the marathon distance.  I love the training but not the actual race.  In fact, I haven’t had a really good experience with the race part.

As for my body, can it handle the distance and or the speed? Obviously I don’t have a great track record with marathon training.

Last year when my social feeds started filling up with non-stop pictures and updates from the marathon weekend, I had to take a break from it all.  I was happy for all of my friends who were there but it all just made me very sad.  I was extremely jealous and angry.  I wanted to be there again so badly.

Thoughts on the boston Marathon | happyfitmama.com

This year, I’m not jealous.  Ok, I am jealous.  But definitely NOT angry.  This wasn’t my year. I’ll be truly happy tracking all of my friends running and glued to the TV watching while I’m at work…or at least trying to work.

As for next year, I can’t say it will be my year either. My window of qualifying for 2018 is short.  There’s not that many races around here before September. And there’s also the status of my pre-stress fracture injury.  I’m not sure when I’ll be back to running yet.  Maybe it’ll be in 2 weeks.  Maybe it’ll be in 2 months.

My heart was broken at Boston but it had nothing to do with Heartbreak Hill. I still feel like I need to go back to have closure. To make it right. To finish what I started.

I’m not giving up on my BQ dream just yet.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday, Coaches’ Corner, and Thinking Out Loud.

Have you run Boston?

Do you think I’m nuts for still wanting to go back?

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