Body Weight Workout

Before I begin a training cycle, I make a new one of these, by including new exercises and back-burnering previous ones based on strengths and weaknesses. This is my current, at-home routine that I do twice a week.

Planks with arm rows for 1 minute
locust pose – hold for 1 minute
moving locust – scissor your arms and legs – 1 minute
Modified pushup hold – 1 minute
regular pushups – as many as I can
leg lifts – slow lower – 1 minute
oblique v-up hold – 1 minute on each side
jump squats – 1 minute
we have lift off
donkey kick hold – 1 minute on each side
single bent leg vertical squat – 1 minute on each side
It looks weird, but its HARD.
side planks – 1 minute on each side
single leg band exercises – triple threat – 30 on each leg
45 degree angle
straight back
single leg quad flex hold – 1 minute on each side
hamstring curls with a ball – 1 minute
side crunches on exercise ball – brace yourself – 30 on each side

ONE MORE TIME! I repeat the sequence. 


Pool Purgatory (Cross-Training)

Laps are mind-numbingly boring and I hate doing them. It’s part of the reason why I call pool workouts “pool purgatory.” The other part is due to my lack of gills. However, pool workouts are undeniably great for cross training, recovery, range of motion, flexibility, and your breathing. Sure, a lot of people wait to incorporate swimming until they are injured, but I think it’s highly beneficial to get in the pool (or lake or ocean) BEFORE you are chronically injured or sentenced there by a Physical Therapist.

From a runner’s standpoint, swimming is great for strengthening hip flexors, promoting ankle flexibility, strengthening the back muscles to help with running posture, and increasing lower abdominal strength. If my legs are too sore and inflamed to go on a recovery run, then I jump in the pool and swim some laps to get the recovery benefits from the circulation.

Lengthy swims are particularly good for endurance athletes. Everyone has their limits to how much they can train before any more is damaging to their muscle endurance. But because swimming is zero impact, it enables athletes to push past those limits and build a stronger, more efficient cardiovascular system.

Swimming is a full body workout and it is tiring. It feels odd for me to be physically tired without feeling skeletal muscle fatigue. But besides getting the running benefits from pool workouts, it’s also a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise – as long as I can remind myself of all the benefits on the days when I really dread the pool.


Strength Training with Weights

Having a separate, weight-bearing workout routine is one of the things that I believe helps with injury prevention and prepares me for those finish line sprints. I don’t do a lot. My routine is about 20 minutes long and includes just three exercises – squats, goodmornings, and tricep pulls.

Ironically, getting injured from weight training is one of the things that scare runners away. But the benefits are too great to not include it in training. It helps build stability, power, and yes, even endurance. You do need to use caution with how much weight you use, how quickly you add weight, and your form for each exercise. Be aware of what the dangers are, and listen to your body.

Another reason why some runners avoid this is because “they don’t want to bulk up.” If you’re a male, then maybe. MAYBE. But male or female, it’s ridiculously hard to bulk up while also being a distance runner. If you’re female, unless you’re taking supplements of some sort, forget it – bulking up isn’t a valid concern.

Squats on the squat bar – There are a few different proper ways. Flat shoes are best (or go barefoot). Keep your feet planted and your back flat. Some people say chest out, booty out, but you still have to keep your back un-arched. Experiment with how far out you want to spread your legs, and slowly lower yourself into the squat, coming up just as slowly. Make sure you’re using your butt!

Goodmornings – I like using a bar, but you can use dumbbells if you prefer. Start with the bar on the floor and lift with your hamstrings. Your feet should be planted, and back straight and flat. If you’re not familiar with this exercise, it might be helpful to try it without any weight first, focusing on lifting your upper body with your hamstrings. You don’t want to be lifting with your arms and/or back.

Tricep pulls – I’ll be honest, I chose this exercise only because it’s an area that gets used less than others in my life. But I wanted an exercise that wasn’t lower body to give my legs about a minute rest. Using both arms, raise the bottom end of the dumbbell from the middle of your back to almost the top of your head. Along with your triceps, this works your upper back, which helps with running posture.

Some people decide to start a weight workout circuit using machines instead. That’s fine, but I generally stay away from machines unless I need to isolate a specific muscle or muscle group. That would be useful if one side is greatly imbalanced or I’m recovering from and injury and doing physical therapy assigned exercises. When you work with free weights, you get the benefit of using and working your stabilizing muscles.