When I was in high school I did minimal strength training. Our scrawny team of teenagers did body weights once a week that sometimes included holding dumbbells and performing lunges. It was not until I went to college that I really started lifting – you know, in a weight room with barbells and plates. At first it was a little intimidating but with the help of some great strength coaches and experienced teammates, I began to look forward to going to the weight room – it became one of my favorite days of training. I learned several different lifts through the course of my four years in college. When I graduated and began training on my own, I incorporated lifting into my workout schedule two to three times a week. The first year of marathon training was a breeze. I did all the lifts that I learned in college, with more weight. The second year, I was starting to get bored. This was the year that I was training for the Boston Marathon. I knew that strength training was detrimental of my improvement as a runner and to my efforts in injury prevention but I went to the gym with a grudge because I was so bored with the lifts that I was doing. I began to incorporate new machines and techniques into my sessions but it was not enough.
I got through the Boston Marathon, took 6 weeks off of training and began to formulate my plan for fall racing, leading up to another spring marathon (hopefully). I like to start my training back up with a 5k, building up to the 10k distance, a ten miler, a half, and then the marathon. While I adore distance running, there is apart of me that absolutely loves the rush of a 5k. I was excited to do some speed work. The first thing that I knew I needed to adjust was my strength training regime. I began doing some research on different strength options which is when I started playing with the thought of hiring a strength coach. That is when I came across an old classmates website: Training With a Why. Bill Marnich started his business of virtually strength training clients with the motto that each lift should have a purpose. I loved what he was doing and decided that this was a great option for someone like me who was balancing a heavy work load and was training at random times during the day.
Bill worked with me to identify my goals and create a monthly plan for my strength training. Bill introduced me to lifts that I had never done before and added variance into the training that I was already doing but so bored of. When I was uncertain on how to do a lift, Bill would direct me to videos that I could watch or instructions that I could read about the lift. Once a week, I would send him film of myself performing a certain lift and he would reply back with critique and tips to improve my form, add weight, etc.
Why is it so important to switch up your strength training and do lifts that are specific to your goals? Because your body will only adapt to the changes that you place on it. Imagine doing the same thing, over and over and over again, for years? You would not get anywhere.
Investing in a personalized strength training program was one of the best things advanced training decisions that I made for myself as a self-coached athlete. Stay tuned for a review of Bill’s strength training program and more on how it helped me!
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
– Albert Einstein
Happy running & lifting,