WW | lifting for runners

Since I’ve graduated from free access to a gym, I have had to improvise my strength workouts at home. It’s not nearly as fun and I find it’s incredibly hard to motivate myself to do weights on my own. I’ll be honest, the single motivation I have to lift weights is to stay injury free so I can keep on running. I don’t really give a crap about getting huge biceps or a six-pack. And if I add too much heavy muscle mass, it makes running harder. So therefore I give you…

A Strength Workout for Runners

Runner's Lifting (1)

Let’s get into the details shall we? I thought about photographing myself doing these exercises, but decided I would prefer not to embarrass myself. So I’ll do my best to explain what I did. Feel free to improvise or look up a better exercise that suits you.

warm up:

  • jump rope 2-3 min
  • jumping lunges jumping-jack style x1 min + ski style x1 min


    • standing lunges w/ weights (I used a 9 lb weight in each hand) 20 reps each leg x2
    • squats + overhead press w/ weight (I used a 9 lb weight, hold weight out in front of you when you do your squat, then press over your head when you are coming out of the squat) 20 reps x2
    • curls 15-20 reps x3
    • push ups 10-15 reps x5
    • standing one-legged squats 10 squats/leg x2
    • one leg triceps dip (think normal triceps dip, but cross one leg over the other, switch legs between sets) 15 reps x3
    • runner’s arms w/ weights (I used 5 lb weights in each hand) 30 sec on, 30 sec off x3

Thera band exercises (I have hip issues, so this is preventative medicine for me. I highly recommend these exercises if you have hip or knee troubles.):

    • standing walk ~20 steps (I have a small backyard) x4
    • crab walk x4
    • squats w/ band around knees 20 reps x2
    • leg raises 15 reps each leg x3

cool down:

  • shin taps
  • and of course, stretch!

Strength training isn’t so bad when you have a fun plan + good music. And there may or may not have been multiple dance breaks in between sets. <– highly recommended. :)

This workout focuses on more reps per set and lighter weights than a typical 10 reps x3 kind-a-gym workout. I think this kind of workout works for me because I prefer longer distance running. I use more slow twitch muscles on long runs, therefore I focus on doing more reps with less weight to activate those muscles. That being said, I have absolutely 0 professional/certified training experience so take this with a grain of salt. I’ve been a runner for 10+ years now, and I find this works for me, but it might not work for you. Feel free to take this or trash this. I won’t be offended.

One last thing. Google Drive has really fun new stock images that I used to create the visual. You should check it out. Just sayin’.

Now, where’s my Christmas cookie?



WW returns | creating a training plan

Bet you thought I forgot about these posts didn’t you? They’re back!!!

Today’s post is an interview with my good friend and fellow blogger, Brittany of Britt Fuel. Brittany shares my passion for athletics, food, and blogging. She currently coaches swimmers and triathletes, works at a triathlon shop in Camarillo, CA, and is en route to getting her M.S. in Nutrition at CSUN. You may see her out running in the trails, swimming in the ocean, or biking on some highway in socal–be sure to wave!

Lauren and Brittany at the start line

I asked Brittany how she writes training plans for her clients (as I was curious myself). Here are some highlights of the conversation:

L: What kind of training plans do you typically write?
B: Mostly swim and triathlon plans, occasionally with running/marathon plans inside of the larger triathlon plan.
L: What kind of sport do you feel most comfortable writing plans for?
B: Swim and triathlon
L: What are the steps you go through to write a plan?
B: a. Determine the end goal and small goals for the journey. b. Take into account the athlete’s background, current fitness level, and basic weekly availability (what we’ve got to work with). c. Come up with a general scheme (break training into phases). d. Start with the first phase and write 2-4 week specific plans/workouts at a time, leaving room to adjust as athlete provides feedback. e. Be flexible. Stuff happens.
L: Why do you go through these steps?
B: It is important to set goals, so that workouts can be planned with the focus in mind. Mini in-season goals are also good to assess progress and keep focused. Personally, I think it is good to have goals that are very attainable (e.g. finish the race), goals that are within reach but require hard work and great conditions (e.g. get a personal best time), and goals that are lofty (e.g. win the whole race or age group). Also, it is very important to know about an athlete’s background and current fitness and lifestyle. You don’t want to write a training plan that is far too difficult for the athlete–that may make them want to quit altogether. You definitely don’t want the athlete to get injured either. Finally, it is best not to write in specific workout details too far ahead of time, as expectations may need to be altered throughout a season due to the many variables of life.
L: You have a degree in Physiological Science. What did you learn from your studies that is applicable to how you write a training plan or how you suggest people train in general?
B: I think that personal experience is definitely most valuable here. But, I did learn a lot about how complex the body is. Sometimes we want to know exactly why things turn out the way they do; why did we have a “bad” workout, why was our stomach was upset, or why did we feel tired? Sometimes, we know what went wrong, or we need to go back and figure it out/experiment. Those are great learning experiences, even if they seem discouraging. Another big lesson from the human body: If you want to do something, train your body and mind to do that thing. Don’t do tons of unnecessary things that only make you more tired. Rest as much as possible to recover while doing the work that needs to be done. The mind is so amazing. I learned about a track athlete that was injured, but trained her mind repetitively by visualization techniques, and once recovered, her track performance was not hindered by her lack of physical training.
L: Let’s say you’re designing a training plan for a half marathon someone wants to run. What does that plan typically look like?
B: I would start from the race weekend and work backwards. I would have you do light running the week before the race, mostly short runs with some race pace mixed in. About 3 weeks to 2 weeks before the race would be your major workouts…these include maximum pre-race distance runs (maybe 14-16 milers) as well as some maximum intensity pace runs at race pace or faster (probably on a track) to include 400m-3200m repeats. Everything before these key workouts would be (working backwards) building up to the key workouts to adequately prepare you for them without burnout or injury. I like the basic structure of 2 weeks build in training followed by one week of lighter training (recovery). Also, in each week I like to assign at least one, and maybe up to 3, day(s) of complete recovery or very light activity.
L: Do you think we can all train the same way? How do you individualize plans?
B: No too people are the same, so no too people will respond the same way to the same plan. Therefore, while they could train by the same plan, they may not see the same results. For optimal training, I think individualization is best. I do this by getting to know the person and knowing what they want, what they value, what their day looks like, etc.
L: What is your favorite part(s) about writing training plans for yourself or others?
B: I like the challenge. It is like a puzzle, trying to consider so many variables. Basically it is a science experiment, but fun!

picture of Lauren and Brittany sharing some cake.

Thanks so much Brittany! Be sure to check out Brittany’s blog :)


ww | think like a pro

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been training for a couple of half marathons for early 2013. Since early July I’ve been running regularly (6-7 days/week), building my base, increasing mileage, adding workouts, and staying healthy. Under my current training regime I attempt to complete the following every week:

1. Long run (60 min, 8-12 miles) – easy-moderate pace
2. Hills (repeats/hilly run/or hill strides during a run)
3. Mile repeats (currently I’m at 5x mile at 6 min pace)
4. Progressive run (sometimes I turn a long run into a long progressive, other times I just get 3-4 miles of progressive in, I’m trying to work up to a 10-12 mile tempo at 6:30-sub-6 min pace)
5. Abs + Pushups (I started using this plan for push-ups and while I can’t ever make it past week 4, it at least gives me a schedule) – 3x/week
6. Strength work (usually in the form of circuits in my backyard with free weights) – 2x/week
7. Dynamic stretching – everyday
8. Swim/cross train – recovery, get off my feet day

I guess I spend some time working out. In all honesty I rarely complete all of this every week. Maybe once every 3-4 weeks do I get through every single thing. However, I like to set goals and having this plan pasted on my bedroom wall motivates me to get up and do as much as I can. I’ve been tracking my workouts and trying to actually train with a more pro-mindset. Reading bios/interviews of pro-athletes is some of the most inspirational content I’ve found. This morning I was reading an interview with former US 10k record holder Chris Solinsky on his comeback from injury and what it was like to sit through the Olympic trials this past year.

After tripping over his dog in last year, Solinsky injured his hamstring and had to take a whole year off from the sport to recover. Coming back, has been anything but easy. Re-adjusting to running and re-gaining his stride and endurance are just the beginning of the challenges.

You’re #2 on the all-time U.S. 5000-meter list and #2 on the 10,000 list. That may sound far away now, but you were very formidable not long ago. Obviously, you feel you can get back to that level.
CS: Definitely. There are days when I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how did I do that?” But like I say, the talent never goes away. And I know that I’ve been there. That’s one thing that’s always helped me out, throughout my career, when I’ve had good times, bad times. I know I’ve been there, so I know I can get back. I’m busting my butt every week. One of those weeks, something’s going to click. Obviously, I’m not going to be back to peak performance within a few weeks.

Knowing how good you have been, and realizing you’re no where close to that shape can be extremely discouraging. I often reflect on how I used to run in high school. Running 7 days a week, tempos every Monday, sub 5:30 in the mile, 18 min 3 mile. I haven’t yet convinced myself that I can get back to that shape, but like Solinsky states, the talent never goes away. It’s hard to watch yourself battle through workouts that were easy a year or two ago. And even more challenging is sitting at home watching the Olympic trials when you know you are good enough to be there yourself.

Was was it like for you to watch the Olympics this year?
CS: The Olympics were actually a lot easier than the Trials. The Trials, it was tough. I had family in town, because they’d planned on coming in and watching. Being there watching the Trials and feeling I should be out on that track racing, that was hard. The Olympics were a lot more finite: “Okay, I’m not on the team and I’m just watching.”

What amazes me about this interview is the perspective that Solinsky has. He pictures himself getting back in the game, being back in the shape he once was. He imagines himself competing at a high level again. He knows that he may be doing 75% of what his training partners are doing, but that he will get to 100% when the time is right. Yes short term goals are important, pushing yourself everyday is imperative, but when a set-back occurs it only means those goals have to be re-adjusted. Obviously an injury changes your outlook on your career, yet having the willpower to fight back after it is what truly makes an pro athlete.

Over the past week I developed some heel soreness that won’t seem to let up with shoe/terrain change and massage/heat/ice therapy. I’ve decided to take a week or so off from running and stick to swimming and cycling. It’s discouraging, especially since for the past two years I haven’t gone 3-months without suffering from some sort of injury. I haven’t quite figured out what the problem is, terrain, shoes, training, or something else. It’s nearly always a left foot issue. But training my brain to think more like a pro-athlete helps me overcome the disappointment. Today is not the first day I have had to take a day off, nor will it likely be my last. I may not be in the shape that I hope to be, but I will get there. For me, running is for life. My career is not over because of one minor setback. I work my butt off today, so that I will see results later. The miles add up, the training kicks in, and the talent never goes away.