Strength Training in Real Life

strength training
This is Kimberly – with muscles!

I’ve listened to the podcasts. I have followed other runners on Instagram. I have looked at Runner’s World Magazine. A common thread kept coming out –strength training and how beneficial it is for running. Despite all the media, I still wasn’t a true believer –but that all changed 9 weeks ago.

Let’s just process this: I have been running races since 2006. I have been training for races–with a plan and a coach– for maybe only 3-4 years. I have been a devoted member to a specialty gym called Isotolp Fitness for 8 years. Never, not once, have I ever felt a desire to pick up a dumbbell. Never, not once, have I cared about a proper form push-up or pull-up.

9 weeks ago I approached the owner at Isotolp Fitness, Chris Tolp, and signed up for  12 weeks of 1:1 personal training. I had no idea what I was getting into. In my regular classes, we focus primarily on body weight movements with an occasional medicine ball and jump rope thrown in. In personal training, it was all dumbbells and one machine (I still don’t know what it’s called, but it’s very torturous multi-purpose. I started using 7lb weights–SEVEN POUNDS. I’m now up to 10 and 12 lb weights. I’ve learned how to do a proper fly, a pull-up (still assisted, no kimping here!), various rows, lunges, squats. Along the way, I have indeed gotten stronger. But, that wasn’t the primary goal. What I WANTED was to not feel so fatigued when I’m running. Among  my running friends, I’m typically always the one with the lowest mileage, the one who joins on the back end of long runs (granted, they train for marathons, and I’m a solid 10k and half marathon girl), but I was always tired in my runs. Now, I have a lot more energy, I can truly feel the power in my legs as I run around a track, and I have found a different gear in my strength. My regular bootcamp classes are much easier. My splits are averaging faster this summer than last summer. I’m still sore after classes and runs, but I’m finding with the right recovery time, I’m bouncing back a bit faster now. As an unexpected bonus and side effect, I do have some visible muscles and tone!

If you’re looking for one change, one little tweak to make, I highly recommend buying a couple sets of weights and get started in your living room. If you’re a member of a gym, head on over to the free weight section! You never know until you try.

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