When Running Feels Great – A Word on Strength Training

When running feels great, it makes for some very fuzzy warm feelings.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had such feelings on a run, especially on one that was challenging. But tonight was a good night, and the run came easily. This 5 mile hilly course was a great way to begin the month of July!

I was privileged to run with a few folks that I don’t get to run with very often, which makes the miles fly by faster than usual. I love running with people and being able to chat with them and learn about them.

But most of all I want to attribute my fuzzy feelings to strength and cross training.

I don’t know if I can say it enough – it’s important to do more than just run. I learned this the hard way. The last year and a half I’ve done nothing but, and have progressively gotten slower, and running just hasn’t felt as good as it used to. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been running many long distance races, but I think I could have been better with the addition of other activities.

I’ve added weight lifting through Group Power, as well as body weight work and more weight work through both Boot Camp and Total Conditioning. And there’s also the biking, which I’ve been adding throughout the week a couple of times a week.

I feel stronger, I feel like I look (a little) better, and running is beginning to come easier again.

I used to work in a factory, where for 8-12 hours straight, I was lifting metal parts that were at least 15 pounds a piece at the lightest (some were even taller than I was, and probably weighed about half as much as I do). I was pushing bins full of parts that were 150 pounds (they were on wheels, mostly, but still heavy), or lifting totes that were 25 pounds or more. I was also sweating constantly (and thus drinking more water) – it was a weld shop, and in the summer was around 90 degrees. Each day I came home covered in grease and grime from head to toe, it was hot and smelled and I wouldn’t go back for anything in the world – but I was strong when I worked there. It was hours of strength training daily.

I got away from that. I started an office job and then my current job (where at least I walk around and frequently go up and down stairs). But I lost my strength. I lost any muscle and definition I was starting to get because I stopped lifting.

I am glad to be back. I’m glad that the strength and cross is starting to make things feel smooth and wonderful once again. I’ve seen a difference in pace, and felt the difference in my legs and body.

I will continue forward, I will continue to learn, and I hope that you can learn from my mistakes. Just doing one thing doesn’t always work. Adding extras to your routine aids in better running and injury prevention. Plus it breaks up the monotony a bit. There’s so much science behind this already, and so much out there that has already been published on this topic, but now I am living it.

I love running, but I’m learning to love other activities and methods of working out as well – the feeling I get from completing a tough class or workout is phenomenal, and I am finally able to mostly stick to a schedule, or at least find things that I can work in to my schedule. I’m learning how to train, and what to do with the help of the instructors and classes that I am able to take through the gym that I attend. I hope that I can continue to grow.

What do you do to cross train or strength train? Is there anything you’ve found that works particularly well for you?

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