One of the challenges many runners face is the struggle to lose weight and avoid injuries. The best way to combat both of those issues is to add strength training into your weekly regimen.
Sometimes runners are guilty of obsessing over logging mileage and forget a crucial element that can not only improve their running, but also help them tone up!
1. CHANGE YOUR PACE
The truth is: Your body works to adapt when there is a change in environment. If it’s cold, your body shivers in order to produce heat; if it’s hot you sweat; when you start exercising your body will start looking for ways to adapt. Hence why you see people training for marathons. You can’t possibly run 26.2 miles unless you train your body to adapt for that. Initially, when you begin training, going 2-3 miles may be a challenge, but over time your body gets used to the pounding, change of heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. The problem with that when it comes to weight loss your body also adapts in burning fuel (calories). Think back to the time you restarted training after a long time off. A few minutes of running and you may have found yourself breathless and your body working really hard to get going. That’s because it lost its adaptability to running—but it’s burning far more calories to get it going again.
A simple thing you can add to your regimen is training at different paces. Rather than just going out for every run at the same pace, try to change it up a bit. Throw a 1 minute pickup (speed up the pace) at every 5 minute mark.
Here are some other running workouts you should have on your schedule to help with your weight loss:
Striders after runs
Buildup Long Runs
2. LIMIT JUNK NEARBY
Notice I wrote ‘Limit’ and not ‘Remove.’ I think one of the benefits of runners is that we are burning far more calories than the average person and there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite treat every once in a while. Try to do it on your long run days if possible.
The best way to start eating healthier is to get rid of junk inside your house. You’re not doing your family and yourself any favors by “hiding” them within reach. If you crave something sweet, make yourself get out of the house to fetch some. 8 out of 10 times you’ll choose to stay home…and there you have an automatic 80% improvement in your eating habits.
Begin making small daily nutrition goals and stay committed everyday!
3. BE YOUR OWN EXPERT
Take notice on how YOUR body works. Just because a certain diet or way of eating works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Take notes on the days you feel more bloated. Could it have been the extra refined carbs you had the day before? Also take notes on the days you feel and look great. Always remember, there is a big fluctuation in water weight, especially for women during certain times of the menstrual cycle.
4. MOVE IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
The body has 3 major planar of motion; Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse planes. Running only happens along the Frontal Plane…and remember, the body adapts! You don’t want that if you’re trying to lose weight. Another bonus is that by doing activities in different planars, you’re able to keep joints such as hips, knees and ankles strong, in order to run even more efficiently. Add cross training that requires you to move along different planar: rollerblading, swimming, volleyball, and of course, weight training. (Squats, lunges, step ups, push ups, lateral squats)
Speaking of weights…
5. ADD WEIGHTS
Last, but certainly not least—and in my opinion the most important —is strength training for runners. It strengthens major and minor muscles that support the big running joints (hips, knees and ankles). Strength training is the number one way to prevent injuries for runners and guess what? It also is the most effective thing when it comes to losing weight as a runner.
When I train, I prefer to train in a circuit type setting. I combine a blend of strength, core and plyometric exercises. All 3 help activate different energy systems. Also, constant movement from station to station prevents the body from hitting a plateau and adapting during the workout. All exercises also include moving in various planes of motion. In addition, every pound of lean muscle you have helps to burn 5x more calories than 1 pound of fat….and that’s simply at rest! If you don’t have access to a gym, try some body weight routines; they work fantastic when done right!
Here’s a sample of a body weight workout:
Try to do 3 sets of the following body weight exercises lowering the amount of reps each round: 12, 10, 8 reps
Toe touches (lying down with both feet up)
Oblique dips on ground (both sides)
If you’re looking for guidance in strength training and losing weight, check out the K-Fit 6 Program. It’s an Online 6-week weight loss and strength training program for runners complete with a nutrition guide, running workouts, strength workouts, daily and weekly goals and tons of accountability.
I’m excited to be serving as one of the coaches, along with Kendrick and his team starting January 11! Join me!
Here’s a special code to save 16% before 2016. Valid until December 31, 2015.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!!