Why Strength Training Is A Must For Long Distance Runners
by Detric Smith, CSCS, USAW, ACSM-HFI
1 – “New Year / New You” isn’t tied to a day on the calendar. It starts whenever you’re ready* (more on that later). Making resolutions in January is great but that’s not the only time of year change can happen.
2 – *You’re ready to change when it’s time to change, and only you will know when that is. I don’t think hearing it from other people is enough – ultimately, you have to be invested enough and believe that you can in order to make yourself get up and try. For me, that was when I walked out of my doctor’s office at the age of 33, having just been placed on medication for high blood pressure and told I needed to keep an eye out for signs of pre-diabetes. Nope, not ok. I knew I was overweight. I knew I had become sedentary. I had gotten really good at rationalizing both. But I didn’t know it was to the point where it was putting me in danger – couldn’t rationalize that. I joined WW the next day, which leads me to….
3 – It really IS about diet AND exercise – TOGETHER. Eating healthy is great – but you can’t rely on that alone. And you can’t rationalize not working out because you’re making better food choices. Working out is great – but you can’t rely on that alone. And you REALLY can’t rationalize making crappy food choices because you’ll just burn them off in your work out. I had lost a little on WW but nothing really came together until I added in the bootcamp classes. That Groupon for RPT was a serendipitous, very well timed gift.
4 – I was AMAZED at what I actually could do. I walked in to RPT, thinking no way I’ll be able to keep up, no way I can handle this, but I will TRY. Those first few sessions were so TOUGH. My heart was pounding so hard. I sweated like a….well, let’s just say it was gross. I was sore EVERYWHERE – in muscles I didn’t know I had. AND I had signed up for the early classes – knowing that I am as far from being a morning person as you can get. I thought so hard so many times about not getting up and going. But I found that even though I struggled, I could still at least do a few reps of everything being asked of me. And when I couldn’t, really good personal modifications were offered up, so I ALWAYS left feeling like progress had been made, which leads to…
5 – Don’t judge your experience by anyone else’s. We’re human – we will always compare ourselves to others. But your body and your health are about as personal as it gets. Just do you – it might be very motivating to try and keep up with the guy next to you BUT you can’t walk out of class feeling bad if you couldn’t do as many pushups as he could. Just. Do. You.
6 – There’s something to this having a dedicated space and time thing. I had tried working out in a gym before. It was ok but there was no structure to it and I was never really sure if I was doing anything well enough to really make a difference. I had tried working out at home but ran into the same issues. At home, I’d get bored with the workout DVDs or find 10 other things that I needed to do in the living room/bedroom – like vacuuming or snuggling with the dog. I think this could work for other people – but THIS is what worked for me. It helped so much to have a set time and place that I knew – THESE are the times I will work out this week, which leads to…
7 – Just. Keep. Going. You can do anything for 40 seconds (or 10 & 1/2 – LOL). Keep coming back. Each time it gets a little bit easier. Each time you get a little bit better. I still struggle with certain activities (Burpees are the devil) and I’m still sore when I leave but it’s because I’m able to push myself more and DO more than I ever thought possible.
8 – Success is contagious. The weight started to come off. I started to FEEL healthy. I was meeting this challenge and I wanted MORE. My fella is a lifelong runner and runs races almost every weekend. I’ve never been a runner – just not my thing. Well, about 2 &1/2 months into RPT training, he asked me if I wanted to try doing a 5K with him. I thought to myself I’m still not a runner but I will TRY. I showed up with 2 goals – Finish and Don’t Fall Down. I jogged a little, I walked a little, I kept going, I talked and laughed with people in the start corrals and along the course, I crossed the Finish Line WAY ahead of where I expected, I jumped into the arms of my guy who was so proud of me – I was hooked. I’m still not a runner – but I’ve done 3 more races since then and signed up for more.
9 – Goals are great but they aren’t the whole picture. Be proud of yourself for every little victory along the way – for getting up and going to class, for doing that first Burpee, for doing the next Burpee, for crossing that first Finish Line, for unearthing an ab, for every.little.victory. I never had a number in mind for weight loss – I just wanted to get healthy. After 2 months, I was off the blood pressure meds and my doctor said I was no longer “at risk” for pre-diabetes. I went in for a physical last week and my doc’s jaw dropped. Blood pressure and cholesterol are lower than they’ve been in a decade! But more than that – I FEEL amazing. I don’t get sick (colds, flu, etc.) as often. I don’t go to bed or wake up in weird, achy pain. I feel lighter – before, I just felt heavy and dense. I feel stronger. I feel proud of myself and what I can do. And that’s something that I’ll keep striving to maintain.
And ALL of this is a long, wordy way of saying THANK YOU.
Detric, you helped me change my life.
You helped me get healthy. You helped me like ME again. I am so truly grateful to you and to all of Team RPT for showing me what I am capable of and helping me to get there. I still can’t quite believe I made it here – but I know now exactly what I can do and I know I will be able to take this with me when I make my big move. You, sir are exceptional. Thank you for your patience and guidance. Thank you for your optimism – always with an encouraging word or message. Thank you for that brilliant smile and great laugh – it made coming in at 5:45am a little easier. Thank you for doing what you do and being who you are – you help people reach their potential and you have no idea how much I respect and admire that gift. I am so thankful to have met you and been a part of RPT.
Thank you Detric, for everything,
– See more at: http://fatlossandexercise.com/boot-camp/how-to-lose-60-pounds-kacie-mclean/#sthash.JpSjoV7a.dpuf