I’ve run 19 marathons and have trained differently for most. My first few marathons I only ran, no cross training or weight lifting. After these marathons, I was achy for days and my legs, back, and shoulders felt like they took a beating. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to add something different to my routine.
In 2009 I joined a gym that was near me and began lifting weights, lightly, eventually using a plan I found in Muscle and Fitness Hers (which is one of my favorite magazines, Oxygen is a favorite too). I felt a little stronger at this point and noticed a slight change in my very skinny (from running nearly 50 miles per week) frame, with more muscle. I would head to the gym right after I left work and get my weight training in and then go directly for my run. It sounds time consuming, and it was (still is), but I really enjoy doing both so it’s time well spent. I was feeling stronger during my marathons and felt as though recovery became easier.
2013 was when I found my current plan, Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer. I LOVE this plan. I started using this in the summer of 2013. I did it consistently and felt stronger and felt as though I looked healthier. I only did the first phase of the routine, but after the first few weeks, changed my weight range so that my muscles wouldn’t adapt too much. Because I was spending more time focused on these workouts, I decided to cut back on my mileage. I stuck to running five or six miles for my daily runs (as opposed to speed work, longer runs, etc.), and then did my long runs as usual. The highest mileage I ran was about 45 miles. In October 2013, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and not only qualified for the Boston Marathon, but I was even jumping around (from excitement of course) and able to run right after with almost no pain. I really believe this was because of the weight lifting. My legs were stronger than ever, as well as my back and shoulders (you’d be surprised as to what muscles you use when you’re running). I knew as I was running that the lifting had helped, because as I was climbing the hills in D.C., I felt so much stronger and as though it was a piece of cake. What I realized from this experience was that for me, mileage isn’t as important as strength.
For almost the past year and a half I have REALLY slowed down on my weight lifting and running, and I’ve definitely felt it in my runs and how my clothes have been fitting (but haven’t really cared either 🙂 ). In January of this year, after a tough marathon at the Chevron Houston Marathon, I got right back into the swing of things in my lifting routine. I have some big goals for my running this year, and I know that in order to achieve those goals, I need to have a strong body. I also want to feel confident in how I look. I’m currently in Phase 2 of the LiveFit trainer routine, and am doing it consistently. I’m doing this while I run, however, I’m not running long distances right now, sticking to about three to four miles daily. Part of this is because I want to focus a bit more on having a stronger body, as well as giving my body the opportunity to develop more muscle. I’m not using the meal plan on the LiveFit program, however, for the most part, I try to focus on what I am eating during the week. I’ve focused on my macronutrients more than anything, and am trying to hit a 30% protein, 40% carb, and 30% fats ratio with my food intake. I’ve never consumed so much protein (which is not easy to do!), but know I need this if I want the muscle development I’m looking for. I plan to finish the LiveFit trainer routine, and then I will probably begin it again, with new weight ranges. I have definitely seen a difference in my body already in the past month and a half. Hopefully, my runs will improve as well.
If you have a membership to a gym, you should definitely try out Jamie Eason’s workout. I use the BodySpace app which is one of my favorite apps and I track EVERY workout on it. What I really like about it is that if I have to do a workout that I’m confused about, there are guide videos to show me how to do them. Shoot me a message or email if you have any questions about how to use the app or online account.
I’ll report back once I am done with the first round of getting the LiveFit routine done. I am hoping to look healthier, feel stronger, and run faster.