Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pump You Up

I don't expect a gray sweatsuit in my future. And I probably won't develop a German accent. And it's unlikely that I'll be posing and flexing my muscles any time soon.

But I have recently ventured in to the world of strength training.

Maybe "ventured" isn't quite the right word. Maybe saying I've been led into the world of strength training is a little more accurate.

Coach Lauren, who has developed a training plan for my Boston Marathon adventure, is big on strength training - like a lot of top-notch runners and coaches I know.

Although I've heard about the benefits of strength training - perhaps most importantly, injury prevention - I've never really known how to get started. Plus, I almost hate to admit this, I fell into the trap of thinking that running miles was training; everything else was not.

The gym can be a scary, intimidating place - especially the weight area. No matter how much my gym touts that no one will "judge" me, I can't help but feel the eyes upon me as a fumble through my workout.

The weight area is dominated by guys - usually younger ones looking to bulk up or, I've always suspected, just look cool while moving from machine to machine flexing their muscles and watching themselves in the mirror. Definitely not my scene.

I didn't want to be like them or look like them. Bulging biceps? Not for me.

Maybe I just didn't know what I needed? Sure, I recall some basics from the complimentary gym overview I had when I first joined and a pseudo personal trainer my friend and I had in college. (We were actually more like a class project for students looking for a future in personal training.)

But none of my previous experiences seemed personal or specific to my training.

Things have changed.

Coach Lauren's training plan called for two days of strength training a week. When she emailed me the first six weeks of training, I could easily decipher the mileage charts and cross-training days.

The strength training list was another story. SL bench bridge. ISO hold. FFE reverse lunges. It looked like a foreign language.

I confessed my ignorance to Coach Lauren, who was supportive and not surprised that I couldn't follow the on-paper plan. We agreed to meet at the gym to demo the exercises and answer my questions.

We had to make some adjustments to adapt to the equipment available at my gym, but we eventually came up with a set of exercises - from lunges and squats to stretching to core work.

I felt uncoordinated and weak - two feelings that I'm pretty sure will subside as I become more comfortable with the exercises. At least I hope so.

What was notably different about this training was that it was personal. It didn't follow what other people in the gym were doing. In fact, I dont' recall seeing anyone in the gym doing the exercises on my list.

Surprisingly, it didn't bother me. I know I've been given a routine that's best for me and my training goals. I don't care what workouts other people were working on. If anything, I feel a little bit of pride knowing that I had been shown the "right" way to do my exercises.

I love that my strength training is runner-specific - and that Lauren took the time to explain why each of these moves will help my running, balance and strength. It all makes sense.

Yesterday was my first day flying solo on strength training. (Well, not entirely solo, as I brought TC along with me for his first-ever trip to a gym. Yes, ever.)

We completed the designated exercises and stretches - referring to the folded piece of paper, complete with hand-written notes and reminders, throughout our workout.

I didn't feel awkward or self-conscious. I felt great. For once, I didn't care that I hadn't added any miles to my training. I know that this will be just as important.

**REMEMBER, I'm running the Boston Marathon to help save lives!
Please visit my fundraising page to support a good cause and learn more about a very special little boy. Thank you for your support!

1 comment:

  1. why and i just finding your bloggy now??
    I am looking forward to following this and seeing how the st impacts your running :D
    best wishes


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