Sue is one of the fittest, most goal oriented, hard working clients I have. She is 60 years old and training like she is in her twenties. She has been coming to my group classes for the past six years where she has proven that strength and conditioning/cross training should be a part of every runners training schedule. Working shift work she still manages to get a workout in almost everyday. An inspiration to all!
Tell me a little about what you did before you started training with me?
Prior to starting training with Tricia I had gotten into long distance running half – full marathons. I did yoga pretty consistently and occasionally did some ‘fitness classes’ such as Jeri Love’s ‘Get Ripped’ or just worked out on the weight machines in the gym on my own. Running, hiking and playing soccer up until 2006.
Why did you decide to add Strength training?
Because Tricia told me too! She explained the value it would have to my overall fitness and running and identified areas of my body I was weak (glutes…) that were important to preventing injuries in my running. I also wanted a more focused and regular strength training program – and one where I would get good feedback about my form, advice on what weights to use and focus on actually improving – something I realized that you don’t get in ‘large’ group classes where it’s more about the prestige of ‘how many are in the class’ than how much benefit each person is getting. I wanted to improve my running times as well as stay injury free and felt that strength training was the way to do both.
How has it affected your overall fitness & Running
I measure my progress in a few ways:
I had been progressively improving with the strength training increasing my weights by over 50% since beginning 6 years ago and made significant improvements in the beep test. We had been doing the beep test frequently since Nov. 2014. My score in Nov. was 7.2; January around 8.2; and by the end of February I reached a level 9. I was thrilled! ----- This is an amazing accomplishment and huge improvement (say's Tricia)
During this time I felt much stronger and more efficient in my running training when I was doing hills, tempo or speed workouts. I was running the hills at a faster pace and able to maintain my tempo pace longer and with less effort. I had completed a ½ marathon the middle of February with a personal best time.
I was feeling confident and hopeful that ‘This was My Year’ to take a few of those time goals off my bucket list. And then, whaa, whaa, whaa…… a crash on my bike, a broken left collarbone and everything changed.
For the first few weeks I was not able to run or to do any weight/strength training so I was just trying to maintain some of my cardio by riding the stationary bike and after a couple weeks Tricia gave me some workouts for the spin bike. After 8 weeks I could resume a full running program but not strength training as the fracture did not heal properly. Long story short, Tricia had to modify all my exercises to accommodate my injury for over 6 months.
How did this impact my overall fitness and running?
With my running, I just didn’t feel as strong. I felt like I was struggling with maintaining my tempo paces and I noted I was a bit slower on the hills. I did one 5 km race and had a decent time that I was pleased with but from a strength perspective I was considerably weaker. I went from 25 regular push up to 10 and dropped my weight by 25% because I physically couldn’t do it or because we were modifying to prevent any further injury.
Although my running training didn’t feel as strong as the beginning of the year I thought I had regained much of my fitness, and I thought a good way to test that was to re-do the beep test. I thought I could pull off around an 8 but much to my disappointment, it was a struggle to get to 7.2. Back to where I was in Nov. 2014! - - - - Goes to show you what Strength and Conditioning does for you. Running is not enough!! (Say’s Tricia)
I won’t even go into what a disappointment my marathon was – and evaluating it after, I realize that it was not only because of change in my physical fitness but also the mental strength and confidence I had lost along with it. When I feel strong I feel more confident.
What do I see as the greatest benefits of cross training
It’s true that variety is the spice of life. Mentally the benefits are that it keeps me motivated in my running as well as improving my strength. Physically, it has helped me strengthen areas of my body that were weak and left me susceptible to injury with my running. I’ve lost some of that strength over the past year but am working to get it back. And as I mentioned before, when I feel strong I feel more confident – in myself and in my running.
Do you have any specific goals for 2016
Injury free would be the first one. But yes, - I would like to get back to the same level of strength fitness I had prior to my injury and perhaps even beat some of those (I had another setback when I had to have surgery in Sept. 2015 as the collarbone didn’t heal). But I have been able to get back to full workouts without modifications since the beginning of 2016.
I have some time goals in mind for half and full marathon(s) – a sub 2 hour half and a New York/Boston qualifying times.
I plan to get back on that bike and do a couple of triathlons this year – more for fun and variety than to be competitive.