Faster, Stronger …Skinnier?

Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Why? Well…mostly because people come in all shapes and sizes. There once was a time that if you were “big boned” or “large muscled”…that you were told you’d never be able to run. That running was for the thin. Fortunately those days are gone…mostly because I’m not the skinny kid I was in High School anymore…

More and more people are running later in life. And more and more runners are getting older. We’ve all seen the older runners; the ones that have done nothing other than run their whole lives. They look…well… old!   Why? As the Body ages we lose bone density and muscle mass. And while a Runners heart and lungs continue to be strong and healthy, their bodies start to fold in on themselves.

Fortunately there’s a way to prevent this and even reverse it from happening. It’s called… Strength Training! Yes, I know…you’re a Runner… you Run! But don’t you want to run when you’re 50, 60 even 70… and still look young? Sure you do, that’s one of the reasons we run! To stay fit and ‘young’! And Strength training will help you do it.

Here’s another fun tidbit… you know that physical rehab I was doing way back right after surgery? Yup…THAT my friend, was STRENGTH Training! Strength training not only helps you recover from injuries, but it also helps to prevent common running injuries!

Right about now you’re probably expecting me to launch into a long dissertation of work outs for you. Yes, I could probably do that, but not everyone has access to the same gyms, weights etc. So instead of telling you what to do, I’ll tell you what NOT to do!

Stay away from exercises that focus on isolation. Do you really need to do Quad extensions or Calf Raises? What about Bicep Curls or Triceps extensions? While you can, and yes they do help you get stronger, they’re actually counterproductive to running. I recently attended a running shoe convention for Inov-8 shoes. While it was good, the one thing I took back with me that changed my perspective on working out, was a CrossFit workout with Lisa Mikkelsen. Lisa is a Master Champion and competes at the National level in CrossFit as well as running.

Doing full body exercises will not only allow you to spend less time in the gym, they actually hit muscles you’ll use while running. CrossFit type workouts might be just the thing to get the runner into the gym. Cardio vascular Muscle Training!! If you’re spending more than 30-40 minutes in the Gym, you’re there too long! You want to get in, and treat your Strength Training like you would a track work out. Hit it hard and fast with minimal rest! Keep your heart rate up!

Oh and it’s well documented that Muscle burns more fat and calories at rest. So not only will you still be standing tall at the ripe old age of 70, but you’ll be burning more fat along the way… which for me means eating more pizza!


It might not be running, but strength training is just what the doctor order for…


The Recovering Runner