Basic Strength Training For Running

Including strength training in your running program will improve your running. How much improvement depends on what you do and how you do it. In this post I work through the basic strength training for running I currently do.

There is so much information available on strength training. Unfortunately most of it is low quality.

Good quality research on strength training for running is limited. There is still some out there.

Requirements of my strength training:

  • Time efficient
  • Increase fitness for life and work
  • Improve running

 

Time Efficient

 

One thing that gets in the way of strength training is if it encroaches on other aspects. The structure of the plan has to fit in well with my life, plus give me a good rate of return. Good news is you don’t need a huge time commitment to get the gains you are after.

 

 

 

Increase Fitness For Life And Work

 

I love my life and I want to get the most out of it. To achieve this it helps to be fit and capable of doing the things I want and need to. Back pain, injuries and fatigue at work and life are thing I don’t want to have to endure. Therefore the training plan needs to assist with this.

 

My job provides a mixture of sitting, manual handling and the occasional moment of high demand physical efforts. There are different injury risks in each category. Having a functional and strong body mitigates some of that risk.

 

It’s important to have the energy to participate fully in the rest of family and life. Approach training as a means to enhance life.

 

 

Improve Running

 

This is why we’re here. Enough said. Let’s get into the details.

 

Basic Strength Training For Running Plan

 

Keep it simple.

Basic Strength Training For Running•Time efficient

One main, full body workout every 3rd or 4th day. For those living more normal hours than me, that means 2 main workouts every week. These workouts ideally will be after a harder run. Either straight away, or later in the day. It is best not to do them the day before a key run. The carry over fatigue tends to reduce the quality of the run.

 

In between the main workouts, short 10-15 minute core training sessions are performed. Ideally it would be best to include one on every day without a main workout, but I will accept a minimum of 1 core training session between every main workout.

 

 

 

Main Full Body Workout

 

The exercise list

  1. Standing Single Leg Calf Raise 6-15 reps
  2. Seated Calf Raise 6-15 reps
  3. Single Leg Hamstring Raise 6-15 reps
  4. Lunge 4-10 reps
  5. Squat 4-10 reps
  6. Pull Up 4-10 reps
  7. Shoulder Press 4-10 reps
  8. Ab Wheel Rollout 6-15 reps
  9. Back Extension 6-15 reps

 

First week starts with 2 sets of each exercise. Second week 3 sets. Third week 4 sets of each exercise and this is maintained from then on.

 

Rest between each set will be approximately 2 minutes. Give or take 30 seconds either way. For the single leg exercises, I consider one side rested while working the other side.

 

The time commitment for a session is 30 minutes when it’s at 2 sets and extending up to 50-60 minutes at 4 sets per exercise.

 

 

Core Training

 

For the 10-15 minute core training sessions there is less structure. Instead the aim is steadily work almost continuously for 10-15 minutes. That time is filled moving through a series of core stability and strengthening exercises.

 

Most work will involve a swiss ball and focus on rotation and anti-rotation exercises. Basically this means keeping the core in a neutral position while moving a load around in different positions. This concept is best demonstrated in video over words. Lebron James shows off this concept to a high level in the article LeBron’s Secret To Being Better Than Ever In Season 15? Superhuman Core Strength.

 

Intensity

 

Intensity and form are important. Poor form leads to injury risk. Therefore the load must be within a range to it keep it together. However, the load must also be hard enough to get results.

 

Science suggests we get more benefits in improved connective tissue strength, limb stiffness and muscle power from higher loads performed for 2-4 sets of 4-15 repetitions compared to circuit style training or lower loads performed for more repetitions.

 

Exercise Selection

 

This is individual. Injury history, current imbalances, strength profile and equipment available all influence which exercises you choose. Different exercises can achieve the same goal. So I’ll go through the overriding principles of my selection.

 

Calves are targeted with 2 exercises. These have become a relative weak point for me over the last couple of years. Weakening of the calf muscles as we age has been shown to be a major cause of reduced stride length. Leading to the shuffling running pattern I am trying to avoid. I aim to turn that around.

 

The hamstrings play an increasing role as the speed of running increases. I want to run faster. Therefore I will strengthen the hamstrings.

 

Squats are included as a big lift. Dead lifts could be used in their place. There are potential benefits from squats and dead lifts beyond the direct strength gains. Research has shown there is a greater hormone response elicited compared to machine or exercises using lighter loads. Does this lead to further other improvements? Maybe. The science is far from conclusive. Including squats in my strength work usually has me feeling stronger overall.

Remaining exercises are chosen to cover the major movement patterns of the upper body, push, pull, extension and flexion. Rotation is covered is covered in the core training on days without the main full body workout.

 

Your Turn

 

What strength training do you include?

Would you like to know more about anything in this article?

Let me know in the comments below.

Thinking About Goals: Training Log

The week after the Surf Coast Century Relay was about recovery and thinking about goals.

 

I was unsuccessful in my 2018 Running Goals. More on that after we look at the last week of running.

The running was kept easy. Looking to feel more than comfortable on each run, but concentrating on keeping good form. The work was in staying away from the lazy running style that tries to sneak in after a race. For the most part I seemed to get this right.

  • Regeneration 4km
  • Regeneration 6km
  • Regeneration 10km
  • Day off
  • Easy, no watch, no goal, no GPS, possibly 8km
  • Easy 10km
  • Easy 10km

Total 50km / week

 

Thinking About Goals

 

I had 2 big goals for 2018:

  1. Wings For Life World Run (cover more than marathon distance)
  2. Hard Core 100 Mile (sub 24 hours, with back up of finish)

In the Wings For Life World Run I only managed 28.4km. A long way off the 42.195km. For the Hard Core 100 Mile I didn’t finish the race, having to pull out at 110km (50km short).

Naturally there is some disappointment. Surprisingly I still feel good about those races and my running for the year. You learn a lot from your mistakes and I learnt a lot this year.

 

Different Types Of Goals

 

At the moment I haven’t decided on any future goal races. Sorting out the family calendar comes first. Around that is where my running fits.

 

Race goals will come later. Now I’m working on training goals. At the moment I will be working on 2 goals:

  1. Improving the feel of running (remove the heavy feeling ultra distance running has created)
  2. Improve my fitness set point to what I term as Marathon ready

These goals deserve full posts on their own. Pursuing them will require some changes in training. As a bonus I think those changes will be a little more time friendly. Based on the last year that’s something that’s need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surf Coast Century 2018 Relay: Race Report

There is something extra special about the Surf Coast Century 2018. This race has become an annual trip. It is more than just a run. If you want to experience some of the best the running community has to offer, then try out the Surf Coast Century.

Now an annual trip with some mates from work. This year we had two teams in the relay. We hardly even talked about work. That’s a good thing.

Friday was a beautiful sunny Spring day.

 

Mother Nature

 

 

Race day was Saturday.

Cold, wet…. let me correct that…. very wet. Windy, hail with a little sunshine and blue sky mixed in.

 

Start time is dictated by the tides. Unless it’s low tide, some sections on the first leg are impassible. Good news was the race started after the sun had gotten out of bed. A relative sleep in. Bad news for those running the first leg, they didn’t get to experience the amazing sunrise that has made this leg phenomenal in previous years.

 

 

Leg 1

 

 

Running along the iconic beaches of the surf coast is amazing. Rory got to enjoy this leg. He showed his fitness and running pedigree by smashing through the first 10km nice and quick. The slippery and sharp rock beds in the remaining 11km presented him a new challenge. I was impressed he stayed upright. Rory closed down the first leg at Point Danger looking like he pushed it hard.

 

Leg 2

 

 

The changeover was fast. Paul took on the 28km of Leg 2. Returning back to the start across the cliff tops. Straight into the wind. He took off at speed. I wondered if he would hold it or crash and burn.

 

The weather went from unpleasant to disgusting. At the half way mark I waited for Paul to arrive. A short warm up didn’t warm me up. I hid amongst the people hiding under the shelter. It helped me go from freezing to cold.

 

Paul came running in. He was saturated. A fist bump and it was my turn.

 

 

Leg 3

 

 

Wearing only a light spray jacket I wondered if it was a mistake. As the rain fell harder and harder I was wet through. For the first time we didn’t have to crawl under The Great Ocean Road. The river was too high. Finding gaps between the cars instead. After crossing the rain turned to hail. It was at this moment I wished I had worn a cap.

 

In these conditions there was only one way to stay warm…

 

Surf Coast Century Moggs Creek end of leg 3 start of leg 4

 

 

 

… run hard

 

That First Bit

 

On starting the first main climb the rain eased. Still cold, but I was happy little bits of ice were no longer bouncing off my face. Soon enough I was feeling a bit warm. I walked a few steps while I took off the jacket up the steep climb. Then it was on.

 

Mud, clay, water and more mud. The trail so slippery. Up and down, over and over. Staying upright was harder than usual. The clay slid and slipped like crazy. Confidence and technique kept my speed high on the descent. Leaning forward what felt way too far kept my feet from skidding out in front of me. In some sections you could ski on the mud for a few metres.

 

The more I ran the better I felt. My legs were responding well. First time in a while I felt good going uphill. An extra boost came from passing many of the 50km runners who had start about 25 minutes before me. Surprisingly social while racing so hard.

 

After the hills and clay it was time for some flowing single track through The Otways. Some protection was given from the icy winds by the trees and hills here. A mild downhill brings you to the start of a steady 6km climb. It is runnable, especially if you are only doing one leg of race. What got me over this climb was the anticipation of the 3km descent over the other side.

 

Definitely my favourite part of the course. The terrain isn’t super steep or crazy technical, but it requires concentration and confidence. Lean forward, open up, pick your line and fast feet. Down and down in a controlled fall. Weaving through the bush with the twists and turns. I found my flow. This is why I love trail running.

 

That Next Bit

 

Check point time. 21km covered of leaving only 7km for me. It wasn’t so much of a check point for me, more of a boost from the amazingly enthusiastic volunteers and supporters who had made their way out. Extra spring in my legs and into the last section.

 

Each year I forget just how hard this section is. Why don’t remember how steep and long the hills are?

 

Over the climbs I was sucking air. Heading down my legs threated to cramp. Despite this I was able to hold my speed into the check point to hand over to Mick. The hardest part of this was trying to coordinate my fingers to pass over the mandatory first aid kit. They were frozen.

 

Next challenge was trying not to bring up my breakfast.

 

I was successful…. just.

 

Leg 4

 

 

Mick smashed out the final leg. After an almost sunny start to his run the weather came back with a vengeance and threw hail down at him. He returned with stories of runners missing turns and a high tide forcing everyone into the softest of sand. Another solid run.

 

There is something extra to running when it is a team event. It brings out something extra in everyone.

 

 

Thank You

 

The Surf Coast Century is probably the most social of trail ultra marathons out there. Way too many people to mention everyone I met, chatted too, cheered, was cheered by or otherwise had some positive vibes. Still some shout outs are needed. To our other team, Jane, Jerome who were the solid rock of the team. Thank you to Jason who filled in at the last moment. Kudos to Rory from Leg 1 who jumped across and ran Leg 4 for so the others could record a finish due to an extra late withdraw. Extra thanks to my understanding family who tolerate and support me in this running thing.

 

Well done to all those who braved the conditions at Surf Coast Century 2018.

 

 

Improve Your Patience: Improve Your Running

Patience is the ability to wait calmly in the face of adversity and frustration. Running rewards consistent and progressive training over extended time. If you improve your patience, you will improve your running.

 

Lately I’ve found myself thinking, “if everything would just hurry up, I’d have better patience.”

 

I love working towards goals, but lately I haven’t been so good at it. I want my running to be at a higher level. Stuff around the house I want finished. I wish our next holiday was now. So many things I want now. Just chasing the end product has gotten in the way of doing the work needed to achieve the goals. Instead I’ve managed to develop  habits in procrastination.

 

Chasing small tasks may give a quick outcome but don’t add much to my bigger goals.

 

This needed to change.

 

It is time to develop positive habits. Getting in the way of this lately has been a lack of patience. Which led me to look at how to improve my patience. There is some good science on this. In this post I summarise what I have found and what I aim to put into place. Continue on to improve your patience. It will likely improve your running too.

 

 

Why Improve Patience?

 

Improving patience has been shown to improve sense of well-being, positive coping virtues and thriving. In simpler language this is:

  1. Feel better
  2. Cope better
  3. Achieve more

 

 

Is Patience Trainable?

 

Yes.

 

Like your body, you can also train your mind.

 

 

How To Improve Patience

 

Turns out it comes back to some regular practice. Just like in training the physical aspects of any skills. Research is suggesting 2 key ways:

  1. Willpower
  2. Framing

 

1. Willpower

 

You can increase your willpower with practice.

 

By repeatedly putting yourself in situations where you are required to have patience you can extend out your threshold of frustration. Those who are used to waiting are better at it.

 

Start small. Take multiple opportunities to practice patience. Put yourself in situations where you have to wait a little longer. Choose the longer queue at the shops. Wait for someone to catch up to you. Arrive early for an appointment. Use a slow internet connection. While waiting make a concerted effort to relax. Breath slowly. Keep a good posture.

 

Repeating these small moment of calmly exerting some willpower can become a habit. You become accustomed to remaining calm and controlling your impulses. You can improve your willpower.

 

 

2. Framing

 

Reduce your reliance on willpower. Reframe your thinking with your imagination. Make it easier to have patience. Imagination can change the impulse to take on the immediate reward by changing how we view the reward. As a result won’t need to rely as much on willpower.

 

Vividly imagining the end outcome makes it easier to maintain patience. The clearer and more realistic you can picture the end result the better. Add in detail. The more the better. Picture why it is worth waiting for the end result. Why is it better than taking on the immediate. Create a positive feeling around the ultimate result you want. Imagination the negative feeling and negative result of not maintaining your patience. The stronger the difference between a positive and clear view of what you want versus an giving in to an easier alternative, the more likely you are to stick with it.

 

The further away your goal the harder this is to clearly visualise. Longer time frames limit your imagination and reduce the strength of your vision.

 

There is a way around this.

 

Don’t limit your imagination to the end result. Bring it forward and visualise positive steps along the way. Create a sequence leading to your end goal. Take the same approach as above. Add detail. Work on creating a positive feeling around each step. This will make your vision more powerful and more likely to alter your impulses. Making it easier to choose patience and reducing your reliance on willpower alone.

 

 

Good Things

 

Good things come to those who work for it and have patience. So hurry up and improve your patience.

 

Find That Running Feeling: Training Log

Improvement in running isn’t linear. Over the last few weeks I’ve had to remind myself running rewards consistent work over long periods of time. I’ve been frustrated my running hasn’t felt great. In the last few days I’ve finally manage to find that running feeling I chase.

 

 

Patience Grasshopper

 

 

Recovery from the Hard Core 100 Mile race has taken longer than I’ve wanted. In reality it has only been 8 weeks. When you go past your limits it should be expected recovery will take a long time.

 

But I’ve been impatient.

 

Impatience can set you back. Pushing too hard and too much before the body is able to absorb the workload can do more damage than good. Luckily I took some extra down time in the previous week. The result has been better running this week.

 

Find That Running Feeling

 

 

Speed and volume isn’t what has made this week better. Instead the feeling of running has improved. I’ve shaken off the heavy, flat feeling most of my runs have had. There is now a snap in my stride. Running is starting to feel natural and relaxed.

 

It is hard to describe. That running feeling where it just feels right. You know your body is absorbing the training. Your body is ready to take on the next challenges you throw at it.

 

Listening to your body is usually referenced when you take some recovery. If you listen carefully you will also here when it ready to run harder.

 

 

Training Log

 

The training log looked a little something like this:

 

  • Easy 60min
  • Regeneration 40min
  • Sleep – extra night shift
  • Easy 60min
  • Long 2.5 hours 24km + Easy with 30min with girls
  • Easy 60min
  • off

Total 64km

 

 

Why Do You Run?: Training Log

During the week I was asked why I run. It was good timing for the question. We can all benefit from being asked this. Take a moment and ask yourself why do you run?

 

Training Week

 

Before I share my answer, let’s take a look at the training week.

 

  • 40min form work
  • off
  • off
  • off
  • Long Run 2:15 (21km)
  • Regeneration 40min
  • Easy 70min

Total 45km

 

Last week was a flat week of running. I really wasn’t feeling it. My body didn’t feel right. There was a lack of power in my legs. My heart rates were way out compared to usual. Often shooting excessively high for a low workload. Something was up.

 

I took a few days off running to let my body balance back out. This seemed to help a lot. I have my suspicions as to the problem. The answer is worth a post all it’s own. There’s a few things to work on before I do write that up.

 

Why Do You Run?

 

Thank you to Matt from Fractel Performance Caps for asking me why I run at the right time.

 

View this post on Instagram

[WhyWeRunWednesday] with Jason Montfort ( @jason_monty ). 🏃🏽‍♂️🏃🏽‍♂️🏃🏽‍♂️ Jason is a man full of running wisdom and a chaser of moments. With the @rapidascent Surf Coast Century event coming up, he is stringing together some solid training weeks and documenting his journey through his online blog runningalive.com. ✖️ Here is what Jason had to say when we asked him ‘why’ you run… 👉 “How I started: I wasn’t fast when I was a kid. But I enjoyed running. Gradually I discovered I could just keep going and cover distances others didn’t try. Out of high school in 1996 I started entering fun runs. That led to the Melbourne Marathon in 1997. From there it has been years of running and triathlons and more running. Why I run: There is a feeling I chase. I could be satisfied with everything I get out of the rest of my life. I could be. Knowing there is more, means I’m not. So I chase moments. Those moments where all the noise is stripped away. Those moments where it feels impossible. Those moments where time is distorted. Those moments where I am broken down to my core. This is when I feel absolutely alive. These moments push everything out of my head and I am left with being present only in the moment. It is in this interplay between failure and achievement that something happens. Everything is enhanced. I usually discover I can get more out of myself than I believed. In short, I feel alive.”🙏🏼 It’s great to be reminded how raw the simplicity of running is, and the moments it creates whether you are out there solo or with a group. Thanks again for sharing Jason and all the best with what’s to come! #whywerun #fractelrunning

A post shared by FRACTEL™ (@fractelrunning) on

 

It was clear I wasn’t fast when I was a kid. In primary school races were short and I was a tail ender. I wanted to be quick, but it didn’t take too much enjoyment away. I still loved sport, even if I thought I wasn’t very good at it. I enjoyed running. Gradually I discovered I could just keep going and cover distances others didn’t try. This was the start of my running story.

 

Running added to my life. It provided a way to really feel alive.

 

There is a feeling I chase.

 

I chase moments.

 

Those moments where all the noise is stripped away.
Those moments where it feels impossible.
Those moments where time is distorted.
Those moments where I am broken down to my core.
This is when I feel absolutely alive.

 

These moments push everything out of my head and I am left with being present only in the moment. It is in this interplay between failure and achievement that something happens. Everything is enhanced. I usually discover I can get more out of myself than I believed. In short, I feel alive.

 

 

Your Turn

 

I’d love to hear why you run. Let me know in the comments.