Thursday, 21 June 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Strength Training

I have been dolled out a little food for thought this week about my Marathon Training Plan.

Some of my fellow Fitfluential Friends - Rebekah from Bex Life and Amanda from Run to the Finish - went to workout with Jackie Warner at an amazing event hosted by Evian in LA over the weekend. (*Yes, I am totally jealous! Come to Toronto Jackie! You know you want to!) Needless to say as a reality TV lover, and as a girl who especially loves when reality TV meets fitness, I am a fan. (*note: definitely have her workout DVDs and regularly tune in to her show*) So I was especially excited to see what these ladies learned from Jackie and what she had to say to all our burning fitness questions.

And I was a little surprised...

Amanda reported that Jackie Warner HATES distance running (GASP!). Jackie explained in the first 20 minutes of a workout your body burns through sugar, in the next 20 minutes fat…after that it’s looking to your muscles for fuel.  That’s why many women who are very active still have a slightly “soft” or “doughy appearance; their muscles are consistently being eaten away from excessive cardio.

AH! No, Jackie Warner! No!

But she is probably right. I am not very big, but I do not have a hard body by any means. There are no six-pack abs or rippling biceps going on over here. And I whole-heartedly admit that I am a Cardio Queen. I love to go out running most days, and then generally to switch things up I tend to pick another form of cardio (aka spinning).

I am not one for weights and strength training, and I am not really sure why. I think it is because it is unfamiliar territory. Running is something I am comfortable with and something I have been doing for years. Weights is something I know deep down I should do, but don't. If I had a choice I would pick cardio every time.

So after reading Amanda's eye-opening Jackie Warner interview, and chatting with my two very ripped friends Robyn and Jess, (hello, fitness model and soon-to-be workout DVD star - these ladies know a thing or two about muscles) I have decided I need to dedicate more time to strength training. Over the next 4 months for my Marathon Training I have decided to make some BIG changes to my routine and make strength training a regular part of these.

There is a lot of talk in the running world about finding your Ideal Running Weight. And the science in this is sound. Obviously the leaner you are, the easier it is to move faster for a longer period of time. It makes sense. But I personally find being a slave to scale rather destructive to my self-esteem. So instead of focusing on losing weight or achieving some magic number, I am going to focus on increasing muscle.

Mileage is still going to be important, but I am also going to incorporate 3 strength training sessions a week. There is going to be a LOT of sweating going on over here. The lovely Robyn Baldwin is training me, and has told me that I need to do 2 upper body workouts a week and 1 lower body workout. So that is what I am going to do.
Post Run and TRX Workout

She has me busting my butt with a tough TRX workout this week. But I think it is going to pay off big time in the end. I guess we will just have to see how my muscle develops and how my times improve over the next few months.

What are your thoughts on Strength Training and Distance Running?

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,


  1. Strength training should be every runner's best friend! I love it. Looking and feeling strong has replaced a self-destructive weight obsession for me. I think that's why I love Tough Mudders so much now- I'm at a place where value health over a silly number, and value my internal and external strength, and they're one event in which I can prove to myself what I'm made of!

  2. This sounds like a great approach for you!! I definitely agree that some kind of strength training is important to balance out running. strong legs, back and arms will carry you through any run! Try a barre workout too while you are at it (not that I am biased hehe!).

  3. As I said on Amanda's post, I think Jackie is probably right. However, when it comes to goals in distance running, distance running has to come first, strength training second. That's not to say don't do it, but to make the running the focus. Now if it's all about the hard, cut look that we all love, then running can take the back seat. It's a trade-off, in my opinion!

    1. I agree I will never be able to run 42 km if mileage isn't MOST important, but I think incorporating strength training to my routine will help me get lean and increase muscle mass

  4. Strong is the new skinny. I suggest checking into kettlebell training as well. But only because it is what I am doing, and we all know how I cool I am...wait, that came out wrong. I am cool. There it is...

  5. I'm no runner... 5ks are my happy/easy/comfortable cup of tea. But what I do know is that I couldn't run for 2 minutes (yes, literally) before I incorporated strength training into my routine. That being said, there are SO MANY benefits of weight/resistance training for women. We have to stop being afraid and embrace it! Great post! xo

  6. i am on the same page right now. I wasn't doing enough strength and I've been doing distance running for 10 years. I decided since miami sucks for long distance int he summer it's time to shake things up.

    So here's to both of us finding out if it works!! thanks for the link love darling!

  7. Strength training changed my body - in a positive way - like no other workout. It is the most effective way to tone up (in my opinion) and a great way to change up your workouts!

  8. I have been incorporating more s/t the last year or two, especially after a few running injuries when I was not doing any... learning the hard way! But like Amanda said, when you're training for a big running event (like a marathon) that needs to be the priority. But one leg workout is totally doable, your legs won't be toast, and you can get in some great upper body s/t while marathon training. Great post!

  9. I've seen a great improvement in my body through weight lifting than I ever saw with all my cardio associated with Triathlons. I've been doing weights about 2-3 times a week for a year or so and I am stronger now than I ever was. I love running also but I definitely am keeping up my weight training as well. Good luck!

  10. Wow, what a post! I'm a runner and I'm really curious about this whole muscle eating thing...sounds so horrid! ;) But if Jackie says so... ;)

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  12. You seriously have the biggest, most gorgeous smile. Just sayin'. :)

    You know what's funny? I posted an upper body/abs workout that I tried Tuesday night before my long run (finally hit 10 miles!!!), and I did it because I'm noticing that my body hasn't changed much with as much running as I do. I decided that I seriously needed to start adding strength training to the mix, because I'm running longer distances. On the days I'm not running, I'll have to test this 40 minutes (sugar+fat) thing. :)

  13. You are doing great!!!! Adding weights is what i need to do next! I love these proof pictures we all post!!!

  14. YES!! Strength training is SO important for women, not just women who happen to love to run and are self-professed cardio queens either. ;-) BUT given your big race this year too, strength training is going to be integral for you, especially in keeping your knees safely surrounded by STRONG STRONG legs. SO glad you're doing this!! I'm obviously in love with strength training as well as running which is why I'm so excited you're getting into the strength thang ;-)

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