It seems that many of us started running not for the runner’s high, but for the option to eat another cookie guilt free. Today coach Patty Rivas is going to help answer the question “why isn’t it working any more” (besides that cookie)?
You want to lose weight, so you start running.
You lose weight, then hit a plateau.
So you run some more.
But for some reason the weight isn’t budging. Why??
It’s normal to hit a plateau when you start running more, or are training for a half marathon or marathon. Your body gets used to running long distances, and therefore becomes more efficient at doing so. That means you end up burning less calories.
Also, you run more which means you are hungry more which may lead to eating more! This also leads to a stall in weightloss or even weight gain. Come on, aren’t we all guilty of, “I ran 10 miles today I can eat whatever I want!”
It is totally okay to continue running or training for a long distance event, but if you want to lose bodyfat then you’re going to have to add in strength training to your routine. It may be a challenge to fit in two different types of workouts during the week, but it’s well worth it.
Strength training builds muscle, which in turn burns more calories and fat.
So how do you make the time to lift? Here are a few tips:
Strength train on your hard running days.
Do you know you have track workouts on Tuesdays? Plan to hit the weight room afterwards. Lifting on your hard days gives your body the rest it needs on recovery days. If you did a track workout Tuesday, lifted Wednesday, then had a tempo run Thursday, your body would never fully recover. Keep easy days easy.
Something is better than nothing.
Only have 10 minutes? Then do my 10 minute leg workout.Don’t skimp on strength training because you don’t have a full hour to dedicate to it. If you get home from a run and really don’t feel like lifting, then just do 3 sets of bodyweight squats and 3 sets of lunges. Add in some core exercises if you have the extra time. Everything counts.
Strength train at least 2 times a week.
While you’re training for a distance event, try to dedicate two days a week to lifting. Have at least one quality session per week (that’s not just 10 minutes). My favorite exercises include: barbell back squats, barbell deadlifts, step-ups, lunges, and pull-ups.
Hit every major muscle group.
Do an exercise for every main muscle group: quads/glutes, hamstrings, back, chest, core. This makes for a great total body workout. Don’t worry too much about small muscles like biceps and triceps. By doing exercises like pull-ups and bench presses you will certainly be working those small muscle groups.
Start with 3 sets of 10.
If you can, try to use weights in your strength training. Bodyweight exercises are great, but using weights will help you build muscle and burn more calories. Start by doing exercises for 3 sets of 10, then when you feel that’s not as challenging, increase the amount of weight you use and do 3 sets of 8. The last rep of every set should feel like you can barely complete it. If you breeze through it, increase your weight.
Running is awesome and a great way to increase your cardiovascular endurance, but strength training is what will help you get strong, stay injury free and avoid weightloss plateaus.
There are so many ways to switch things up with strength training in order to avoid plateaus. You can increase the number of sets you do, switch to body part split days (as opposed to total body), do less reps but increase weight, and more.
Challenge yourself and start adding strength training to your routine.
You’ll see, your running will improve too!
Patty blogs at Reach Your Peak, and regularly posts workouts, health tips, recipes, and her own training. She is currently training for the Philadelphia Half Marathon and plans on running her third marathon next fall. Connect with her on Twitter for updates!
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