Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cross-Training: The Fat Runner Goes to the Gym

So I have been thinking about this for a while now and finally have gotten around to it. For the last two weeks, I have been going to the gym. 

I have been wanting to do this for a while for several reasons: First, it's important to work the upper body and core and that is an area I have been doing pretty much nothing. During my last race, I was aiming for a PR and was running faster than usual. After sustaining that speed for a while I began to feel -let's call it stress- in the muscles in my lower abdomen. Lesson? If  I plan to run faster, I got to strengthen my core. Second, muscle development aids in fat loss in a big way.

I should have started earlier but I was holding back for several reasons. The first being fear. At the beginning, running was very hard on my body and it took a while for me to recover and  try again. I was afraid adding gym days would cut my running days, especially if I worked out my legs. Now that I can run on consecutive days without major problems I feel a bit more confident. The other reason was economics. Gyms cost money and I wasn't sure I could afford it. But that problem kind of solved itself. A Planet Fitness opened right next to where I work and at 10 bucks a month, you really can't ask for much else. Plus, their commercials are funny.

So now, I have adjusted my schedule to work out on some of my non-running days. Since my current training plan is winding down, I've had time to adjust and take things a bit easier which has worked out perfectly as my adjustment into gym life has been as sore and painful as I thought it would be.

That first visit was really special. Quite the rude awakening. There I was on the squat rack thinking "hey, I run regularly so this can't be so bad." Then I actually perform a squat and "discover" muscles I didn't know I had. My quads were fine but there was this whole set of muscles in my inner thighs I don't remember having that started to complain. Two days later I tried to run 3 miles. Made as far as 2 before I had enough. DOMS happens. 

Another little quirk I was not aware of: All this time I have been running, not a single mile has been on a treadmill. Not one. Now, to warm up and to keep up with some mileage while at the gym, I find myself running on the treadmill for the first time. Should I count those miles? I find myself feeling a bit guilty counting them mainly because they feel so much easier than when I'm running outside. I go in, run two miles and by the end I' not even breathing hard. Then I work out and do one more at the end.

It has been a bit of a rocky start but I'm getting the hang of it. Starting to run was not easy either but I sure got over it. Not doing anything fancy either. Full body workout to get used to lifting. Just one more step towards becoming a lean, mean, marathon-running machine!


  1. Good luck! I love adding the strength workout to my routine. I know my gym workouts also help my endurance :)

  2. Great that you are adding strength to your training routine! You will be amazed how much it helps improve your running!

  3. Hell yeah, you should count your treadmill miles. You are still running aren't you? I just join a gym a couple of weeks ago also. We can only benefit from some gym time. Us slow runners gotta stick together. :)

  4. This is great news you shared with us! Though running is a great form of exercise in itself, there are muscles in our body that need to be worked out on. Sadly, running couldn't answer to all of them. And though it's true that one of the factors which stops people from going to the gym is the price, there are a lot of gyms out there that offers affordable prices without compromisng the quality of services. Which, by the way, I am happy to hear that you found. So, here's to a healthier and fitter you!
    Jessica @ She\'s Fit

  5. As the weather gets chillier and the holidays get closer, it becomes harder and harder to find the energy and time to go to the gym to work out. deadlift exercise technique