Do you want to be a faster runner? Here’s the Secret…

There are lots of ways to become a faster runner.

Hill repeat…

Track workouts…

Speed work…

But the one thing that most runners neglect is their upper bodies. It is a strong upper body and core that will significantly improve a runner’s speed.

Why?

Upper body strength helps improve your posture and running form. Your legs are not the only thing that moves you. You use your arms, core, back, shoulders for guidance and balance. 

“Upper-body strength is essential for boosting your speed?”¬†– Jeff Horowitz author of Quick Strength for Runners.

My experience:¬†Last year, I hit the weight room, and found a new passion for lifting. I knew a stronger body would help prevent running injury, but I didn’t know it would improve my pace significantly.

During my April (2013) 10 milers, and half marathon, I began setting new PRs. It was an amazing feeling to be running an 8:30 min/mile. Nothing in my running training plan had changed. In order to fit my weight lifting sessions in, I was actually running less.  The only thing  I was doing different was focusing on getting stronger and lifting weights. Turns out it made a huge difference.

I loved the way my body looked. I loved the way I felt. I didn’t just look stronger, I felt stronger. And the cherry on the cake, I was running stronger, faster, and with better form.

This last marathon season, because my milage increased significantly, I lost some of my muscle. It was hard to fit in both weight lifting and running. During marathon training my main focus was getting those long runs in, so my weight lifting sessions decreased to once a week.

But now I am back at it.

I did 4 weeks of lifting heavy and super sets. Then I did 3 weeks of active rest periods and super sets.  Now I am doing 2 weeks of circuit training. I am also running 25-30 miles a week. Sometimes on rainy days, I will do some HIIT on the t-mill.

I’m finally getting some of my muscle back!

Articles you may like…

  1. Nike Women Half Marathon DC
  2. Running Form Clinic
  3. Back in the Gym and running 18 miles

What’s your favorite thing to do in the gym?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Transformation Tuesday! Lets talk about progress and balance.

It is running season…

Which means, most runners are training for some sort of fall race, from 5K to 26.2, whichever distance it may be, us runners are out there running.

And although, running is our main priority right now, our focus… some of us runners start to worry…

I want to weight lift, but I need to run…

I want to do yoga, but I should run…

I want to ride my bike, but I gotta get out there and run…

Recently, I have been receiving tons of e-mails regarding how to balance a disciplined running plan and fit in weight lifting, yoga, etc.

Well let me tell you this…

Cross training is important.

Strength training is important.

Yoga/ stretching is important. 

I started running 6 years ago. I became so passionate about running that all I did was run. During the colder winter months after my fall marathon I picked up Bikram yoga. I loved it and became a regular, but still I ran.

When I trained for my first marathon, I followed my training plan religiously – I never missed a run. When I trained for my 2nd marathon, I did exactly the same thing, sometimes I even ran on the day that called for cross training.

However, after spending 9 months in 2012, running in a natural running shoe (newton), focussing on running form, in February 2013, I started weight lifting. I wanted to get stronger to improve my running, and I did. I got stronger, I improved my running. It was shocking I was running a little less, but I was running better than ever.

I am now running faster and further. The combination of being stronger and running with a more efficient stride/form, allows me to run faster, further, with less effort.

My point is you do not have to run every day to be a great runner. Running everyday, could actually make your running suffer, from burn out or injury. It is so important to incorporate strength training, cross training, and stretching in the mix. The stronger you are the less injury prone you will be, and the more your running will improve.

So to answer the question … How do you balance a disciplined running plan and strength training, cross training, stretching. How do you do it all?

It depends on your fitness level, comfort level.

Rookie: If this is your first race (first full marathon, first half marathon, etc.) follow your running training plan. Focus on your running. Stretch after your runs. Rest on your rest days. Cross train once a week. Strength train once a week.

Veteran: If this is your second, third, tenth, time racing this distance, then it is okay to use your training plan as a guideline. At this point, you can tweak and customize you plan. This marathon training season, I have been lifting weights on days when I run short and easy. I always do leg day early in the week after my long run has already been completed.

I also advise taking tons of photos to record your journey as an athlete. This way you can keep track of your progress visually.  Take advantage of photography. We have cameras on our phones, and we are lucky we have technology at our fingertips.

With that being said…

Because it is tuesday, I thought it would be the perfect time to honor Transformation Tuesday. So I am posting some progress pics, in hopes to inspire and motivate.

image-1The above photo was taken in March 2013. The bottom photo was taken in August 2013.

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Arms are seeing some major gains! This photo was taken in August 2013.

Anyway I hope these photos inspire and prove to you that you can balance both training plans. And that in the end being stronger is just going to enhance your overall fitness level.

Questions for You…

  1. How do you balance your training plans?
  2. Do you sometimes do two-a-days?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Transformation Tuesday

There are a lot of different themes on Instagram. To name a few, there is Throwback Thursday aka TBT, or on Friday, Flex Friday. All of the themes on Instagram are really fun to participate in.  However, out of all of them Transformation Tuesday is my favorite.

I love Transformation Tuesday because this theme is the most inspiring. It is extremely motivating seeing people’s transformations. How far they have come. How much weight they have lost. How much muscle they have gained. It is the ultimate proof, that if you make a lifestyle change of eating clean organic food and dedicate time to training hard, you will see results.

Because you are seeing yourself every day, sometimes it is hard to notice the positive change. I find it helpful to take progress pics and I label them with the date they were taken, that way I can really compare, and appreciate my hard work.

So here it is my progress pic, my Transformation Tuesday. transformation tuesday

I am hoping my progress pics will inspire you, as much as other people’s have inspired me.

I also came across this amazing blog post,

This Trendy ‚ÄúStrong is the New Skinny‚ÄĚ Thing (and what it could mean for the next generation of¬†girls).

This is a must read so click here and read it now. It basically talks about the American tragedy of how and why a large majority of young girls spend their time obsessing over their weight.  Devoting endless hours, energy, emotions, and effort into being skinny.

This is my favorite pic from the blog.

This is my favorite pic from the blog.

The author claims that her new goal has changed from ‚Äúbe a size zero to¬†do a motherfucking pull up.”

 

254cc5b92387a31c8da38770cacaa81dIn the blog post she reveals how painfully awful it was to be 104 pounds- all skin and bones, and how amazing she feels now strong and fit.  Wishing someone would have told her sooner that Strong is the new Skinny, she is now trying to encourage girls to be strong, fit, healthy.

I love everything about this post and honestly couldn’t agree more – Strong is the new Skinny! And as you can tell from my progress pic, I was never fat, trying to loose weight, but rather I was just skinny,¬†scrawny, (even though I was running everyday)¬†Now, after adding weight lifting to the mix, I not only look stronger, but I actually am…

oh and p.s. I can do a motherfucking pull up. 

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© 2013 sweatdaily

Heart Broken over Boston

F#*$ing with the Boston Marathon is not cool. I can hardly watch the news because it makes me tear up.

The Boston Marathon is the queen of all marathons. It brings runners from all over the world to Boston. These runners are the strongest and fastest. Like all runners they have dedication and passion. It is suppose to be a fun, happy time, in which runners push themselves to their ultimate limit emotionally, physically, and mentally. Why does terror and violence have to ruin this for the innocent, for the running community.

I pray for all those hurt. I pray for Boston.

Although, it may be hard- lets find strength and lets do what we do best, come together as a community and continue to run- strong and fast.

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Livefit trainer, Progress pic…

Hey!! I have some EXCITING NEWS to tell you guys, but I am going to hold off until tomorrow… So stay tuned…

Today, I am going to talk about how I am doing on my livefit trainer…

I have completed day 53 of the Livefit trainer. Two more training days and I will be finished with week 8 and totally done with Phase 2. I am now not only feeling stronger, but starting to see some serious change in my upper body and in my core. (My legs have always been pretty strong because of running.)

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Anyway, this morning, I woke up and headed to the Gold’s gym that I regularly go to, and the power was out, so they were closing until the problem was fixed. My time is precious so I didn’t wait around. One of the perks of living in the Washington, DC area is that there is a Starbucks and Gold’s gym on every block. So I headed down to the next closest Gold’s.

What a different vibe…

This Gold’s was so much darker, and over packed with gym equipment. The benches were old, and so were the weights.

look at these Old School weights…

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Although, everything was older, my work out was still good. That is one of the positive things about lifting free weights. You don’t need to be picky. If the weight ¬†weighs 15 lbs, then the weight weighs 15 lbs, regardless if it is old or new.

Another thing that I loved about this Gold’s was because it was over crowded with equipment, the lifting area was more private, which was really nice. Even though, there were plenty of other people around, I felt like I was the only one in there. This privacy made me very focussed and it seemed peaceful – which is funny, because I was lifting heavy. Never thought weight lifting would be peaceful in anyway, but it was today.

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Along with this new found peace, I am also finding that I am really starting to love weigh lifting. ¬†It isn’t up there with running or yoga yet, but it is close behind them. I have come to the conclusion that I like sports that are simple. For example in running, all you really need is a good pair of shoes, and some runners will argue that you don’t even need that. Weight lifting is similar, in the way, that it is simple and you don’t need a bunch of stuff to see results.

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Anyway, in the end, I am happy I got the opportunity to try the other Golds. They are both by running trails too. This is a plus since I hate the treadmill, and love running outside right after I lift. They are also both near organic grocery stores and Starbucks. So I think I may alternate Gyms depending on my mood. Its good to keep things interesting and switch things up.

Tomorrow, is day 54, in which I am going to hit Legs hard. However, it is also my day off, so I might also squeeze in day 55, if I have time, and then go for a run. We shall see… but I know I am a total fitness junkie, because I am already getting excited about my tomorrow work outs. Hopefully, the weather man is right, and it will get warm this weekend, I really want to run in shorts.

I’m going to leave you with a progress pic…

Livefit trainer, Week 8, day 53

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Questions for You?

  1. What is your favorite body part to work out?
  2. Do you switch up your gyms, or gym routines?
  3. What work outs did you do today?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Livefit. Phase 1. Day 3 & 4.

Day 3– Sunday, 1/27/13

TRAINING –¬†Yesterday was Day 3 of Phase 1 of the Livefit trainer. I had to work 10-6 at the salon, but I couldn’t wait to hit the gym right after. Why? Because Day 3 was all about targeting muscles in the Legs and Calves. Working out my lower body is my favorite area to train. I just love it – don’t ask me why- I just do.252220_494752083893099_271126486_n

Squat like your ass depends on it…¬†

and I did…

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Before we started we ate a small clean snack and took our supplements. Then we hit the gym. The work out went really well. J and I did 3 sets of 12 for each exercise, with resting for one minute between each set. I used the app gym boss in order to keep track of my timing. I highly recommend this app. It took J and I about 1 hour to accomplish the whole work out. We ended the work out with our protein shake, BCAA, and glutamine. I juiced organic kale, celery, and pineapple. I add this juice along with a blended banana to my protein shake. This tasted amazing.  A little organic pineapple can really sweeten a drink.

NUTRITION –¬†I started my day with a clean breakfast, consisting of two hard boil eggs and greek yogurt. I am beginning to love hard boil eggs! They are a wonderful source of clean protein and they are super convenient. I pay a little more for my eggs, but paying the extra $2 is worth is because I am supporting a local farm and they are organic. I packed clean meals for the day, and I tried to eat on regular 3 hour intervals. The only thing I need to work on is drinking more water.¬†livefitwaterDay 4 – Monday, 1/28/13

TRAINING –¬†Today’s workout was focused on Shoulders and Abs. J and I did 3 sets of 12, with a minute of rest in between each set. Again it took about 1 hour to complete the full work out. We took supplements before the work out.

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NUTRITION РWith in 1 hour of waking J and I ate a clean breakfast. Today we had organic local eggs on top of ezekiel bread and organic tomatoes.

livefit meals

 

After we were finished with our work out, we left the gym and hit up Sweet Green. I will write a post giving you more info on Sweet Green, but if¬†you haven’t been to Sweet Green, you must go asap – it is amazing. Anyway, I had a salad from there that had spinach, kale, beets, carrots, sprouts, broccoli, etc… It was a pretty good size, so I saved some for my next meal. J and I also mixed up¬†our protein shake with another green juice.

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We are now done with our work outs for week 1. The next three days are rest days. So we are going to focus on…

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But we need the rest more than ever. I haven’t been this sore in a while.

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I’m really sore, but it feels really good… You have to be training to understand…

Can’t wait for Phase 1, Week 2, of Livefit!

© 2013 sweatdaily