Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Re-evaluating training

I think I've come to accept that this spring and summer will have to be a rebuilding my body phrase, taking strength classes has made me realise how weak I've let all the major non-running related muscles become. Funnily enough that's not good for improving at running. I used to be freakishly strong now I'm weak like a baby!!

Weight lifting is definitely making running a bit more of a chore (due to soreness) and maybe even putting running specific training on the back-burner a bit more than it should be. I don't lift heavy weights at all and the fact that I'm continuing to be very sore afterwards has made me realise I need to focus on strength. The thing is I'm enjoying the change and the challenge.

Running in some ways is still very challenging, for example upping the intensity in training or racing is hard physically and mentally, because I'm lazy like that, but in other ways its so familiar to my body that its easy enough when not injured to just run the miles and not challenge myself. 
Don't get me wrong I still very much enjoy running, especially on the days that it just flows. I'll continue to keep a good base mileage so I can run halfs, 10ks and 5ks as often as I'd like but for the next while I think PR efforts at the half marathon will be off the cards. At least until I have rebuilt some strength and flexibility. Is my love affair with the half marathon over? I'm not saying that if the right day strikes and I feel amazing that I won't go with it but I think for now I need to take a bit of pressure off and focus on having an all around healthier body. 
Maybe I'll do a few more 5ks and 10ks so I get used to harder efforts over a shorter distance. I'll have to work harder and earn some AG awards if I want some bling!!

It sounds funny to be thinking of old age when I'm 31 but from watching my grandparents last years I know that I want to be as independent and mobile as possible until the day I drop dead. Lifelong fitness and strength are the best things you can do for muscle strength (aka remaining mobile) in old age. 
The next decade for me really is the time to focus on building muscle mass and flexibility because once you hit 45 yrs old you lose 10% of your muscle mass per decade....unless you work really hard at maintaining but you have to have it to start with. Man, my Ph.D on muscle ageing scared me slightly, ha ha!!

I'm already seeing improvements. My muscle tone is improving, even though I'm carrying a few extra pounds, I've had no ITB related pain and my weaker shoulder is slowly improving (I only feel the difference in strength when I'm really tired now).  

I'm a total convert to weight lifting just don't be looking out for me on any bodybuilding magazines any time soon!


  1. Well, you know what I think - everyone should focus on strength training, especially because you start losing muscle mass much earlier than 45! We are, now! But the good news is, the more you work your muscles (and bones!) the stronger they get, unless you have some other underlying issue :) Do you think you will keep doing the classes, or do some stuff in the gym, too?

    1. I know its said to think at this age we are past our best days physically :( I think I'll keep up with the classes, twice a week for now and then maybe add in a third day, by myself in the gym, when the DOMs aren't too bad!!

  2. I didn't realize that you start losing muscle mass at age 45!!! Yikes. I need to get my butt into a weight room ASAP! Like you, I have focused on running for so long, that the strength component has been put on the back burner. I am realizing more and more how important it is to balance endurance, cardio and strength! Good eye opener.