It’s the dark days of February in New England which means lots of people are bundled up and running outside to train for the marathon. God bless, them. Training locally for Boston is probably the toughest and sometimes most dangerous part.
It’s a fact, runners don’t like the strength train. We’d rather be running, of course. I struggled for years with trying to stick to a workout routine. I’d be relatively consistent in the winter/off-season, but as soon as it started warming up, I’d drop the gym for the roads. With the knee diagnosis, I’m now likely paying the price for all those lopsided years of running and riding without proper strength training. Ironically, it’s only in the last year that I’ve found a strength routine that works for me. Maybe it will work for you. Trust me, it’s better than arthritis.
Just one of those days this morning that no route that popped into my head had me excited to run. Even with the recent days off due to the this (slowly) improving cold, nothing felt right. I was also struggling to come up with a purpose for the workout beyond just the miles. I didn’t want to really push it with progressions, intervals or hills and risk backsliding on this cold. Nature eventually provided the answer: trails.
During the training for my first marathon, I really dedicated to doing all the right things to finish the race, hit my goal and stay injury-free. I managed to do all three. Not an easy feat if you’ve ever put in the time and effort to train for a long endurance race.
I attribute most of that success to the ability to train consistently over time. And I attribute that success to really dedicating to the little strength exercises pre and post run and to almost daily foam rolling sessions.
Twenty years ago I could lace up my shoes and get out for a run without any serious repercussions. There was no thought of nutrition, no warm up. There wasn’t much thought beyond, “Let’s go for run.”
Those days are long over. Today, I rarely roll out of bed without some ache or pain nagging at me to notice it. Some of those aches are just age, but when the chorus gets too loud, I know I’ve probably been neglecting my pre- and post-run routines.
Triathlon training is about balance. You need to prepare and train for 3 very different disciplines and there are only so many hours in the day. But it gets worse because to really succeed and give your best effort and avoid injuries there is a fourth discipline you need to consider: strength training.
Strength training is where I struggle most whether it’s in a training block for a triathlon or a marathon or something else. It just seems like it’s the first thing to fall off the plan when things get squeezed. This is doubly true during the season. I’ve found some success using HIIT sessions that combine cardio and weights during the off-season, but I still struggle to maintain a regular strength session within a training block.