If you asked me during my swimming career if I would run, I would have laughed in your face. Running was not on the table. It was not up for debate as it simply did not happen. Yet now, I run half marathons. Do I love half marathons? It’s a difficult question to answer, but running marathons has completely changed my mindset when it comes to training and athletics.
Let’s clear the air: Professional Running
Running is a sport that is done professionally. A former co-worker of mine went off to become a professional runner and is currently gearing up to run the Olympic Trials tomorrow. Her entire life centers around tying her shoes up to hit the pavement at impressive speeds. She, through and through, is an athletic professional runner. Running isn’t something she pays to do, it’s something she is paid to do. This is the big defining difference between her athletics and mine.
Versus, Hobby Running:
I am not paid to run. I have no coach telling me what to do or how to run better, faster, or train for any of the running I want to do. I could have a coach if I wanted one. Due to budgeting and finances being allocated elsewhere, that’s just not in the cards and it’s up to my prior experience as an athlete to tap into how I want to train.
Anyone can wake up one day and decide, “Today I want to run.” They can put on running shoes, shorts and sports bra, and run around the block. Or they can do a mile. They don’t have to have the best technique in the world to put shoe to pavement and make something happen. Other sports, like volleyball, take time to learn and perfect until you are playing the game at a base level of skill. Yes, you can start as a beginner in running, but overall everyone is pretty much a beginner until you decide to learn technique, invest in gear, and pursuing running as your sport and not your hobby. As a hobby sport, running draws in a large crowd. It’s a great cardio workout, it pushes your leg muscles, your core muscles, and your sheer will to push yourself faster and further every run.
So what does training look like for a weight lifter?
My training for my upcoming half marathons have been different this time around, yet I feel more ready to accomplish the task of running to back to back half marathons. Different than last time, I’ve incorporated lifting into my training routine and focused more on faster running than distance. (Sound crazy? It definitely is.)
My thought process is two fold: I don’t want to give up lifting during a training period; I need to make sure I’m in cardio shape to be able to run two back to back half marathons.
After doing research on incorporating weight lifting into my training plan, this was the best mixed training I could come up with that didn’t hinder my weight lifting goals for this year or my ability to run 26.2 miles in two days. The continued work on my strength training has improved the stamina of my knees and subsided my knee pain immensely. Overall my legs are stronger due to the heavy lifting, but able to endure long endurance due to the higher rep days.
My schedule runs about 4 lifting sessions a week- one heavy lifting day for legs, two for upper body, and one for lightweight but lots of reps leg day. Beyond this, I strive for 3 runs a week averaging between 3-4 miles, putting me at about 12 miles every week.
For example, a week would look like this:
Monday: Heavy legs
Tuesday: Back, biceps, abs
3 mile run
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Shoulders, triceps, abs
Thursday: 3 mile run
Rep Leg Day (high volume, lighter weight)
Saturday: Fun cardio- cycling, swimming, etc
Sunday: Rest. Refocus for the next week.
Every schedule can look different and each week can vary. Ultimately, it’s best to use Sundays to rest and focus on when to plan the training sessions as this is normally the day I’ll sit down and plan out my week. Due to my crazy schedule working in a retail store, I don’t normally have a consistent schedule so I’ll constantly change days. Additionally, listening to your body is important, for example, some days I’m too sore from a prior workout and either need to shift rest days or shift muscle groups or change mileage.
My goal is to run both half marathons in under 2 hours. It’s a lofty goal for myself and has required me to really watch time while I’m training, but hopefully my hard work over the past couple months (almost 3 now!) will show up race day.
Stay tuned- first half is July 9th in Morro Bay, CA!