This blog post could alternatively have been titled: How Jen Plans To Ensure She Continues Strength Training. But let’s back up. Ever since my last marathon in March, I’ve been trying to commit to strength training more often. For the most part, time spent on other supplemental training (core work, cross-training, and strength training) doesn’t provide the same “bang for your buck” in terms of running fitness as RUNNING does. So in other words, if you have free time to go to the gym and lift weights, that time would be better spent running more miles. BUT (and this is a big BUT), that “supplemental” stuff has the potential to make you a better runner in a way that piling on more miles fails to do. The core work and strength training help strengthen all of your supporting muscles – making you less prone to injury. And the cross-training can help you add “miles” to your schedule when your body can’t physically handle any more of the pounding miles on the road that week.
I also have a family history of bone density issues. While I have no reason to believe my own bone density is poor (a factor I examined in my stress fracture root cause analysis), I know that strength training helps to enhance bone density and decrease the probability of osteoporosis. So given that as well as the injury-prevention benefits to my running, I wanted to make sure I made strength training more of a priority moving forward.
Enter….Les Mills Body Pump! If you aren’t familiar with BodyPump, it’s a choreographed weight training class that our local YMCA offers. It’s actually a world-wide program and instructors are certified by a company called Les Mills. (You can see what BodyPump is all about HERE) I started taking the class back in March and really grew to love it. I try to go three times a week and over the course of the past 9 months I’ve been able to slowly increase the amount of weight I’m lifting. The instructors were recently giving me a hard time because I love the songs and know the choreography so well – “you should teach it!” they said. I laughed it off initially, but the more I thought about it, the more it started to sound like something I wanted to do.
Since having left the corporate world when my first daughter was 9 months old, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try and help others while doing something I was passionate about. I’m definitely passionate about running and physical fitness and the idea of helping others to improve their fitness sounded like it would be right up my alley. I mentioned back in this post that I was working on getting my group exercise certification in addition to my Body Pump certification, and I’m happy to report that after many weeks of studying, I took and passed my ACE Group Exercise Instructor Certification!
So since I’d gotten that part taken care of, it was on to Body Pump Training!! I headed up to Harrisonburg to stay with my sister and take the training that was being offered near her. It’s a two day event – 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. If I did well at the training and received a passing score, I would head back to Richmond and have 60 days to tape a video of myself teaching the full BodyPump class. I was nervous, but excited as well! I’ll stop here since this is getting long, but Part 2 will be coming soon!
As for running (which will always be my first love!), I’m slowly, slowly getting back at it. The leg is feeling pretty good, which is encouraging after a rough week or two of various “twinges” that made me super nervous. This past week I was finally back up to enough mileage where I felt like I could give a quick recap. Still no speed or real intensity yet – just super easy (and slow) mileage.
Monday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 6.5 miles in the a.m. with friends, 5 miles later with my Dad
Saturday: OFF (BodyPump training day 1)
Sunday: 3.5 miles (early before BodyPump day 2)
Total: 33 miles
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