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!