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How to Pretend to Balance Lifting & Running.

I get asked often about how I balance running and lifting.  I wanted to share with you guys how I do it.

The truth is, I don’t. And I definitely don’t do it well, I don’t always balance it, and I don’t know exactly what the right prescription is yet. With each marathon I’ve been experimenting.

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Living an athletic, disciplined lifestyle is not always glamorous. The PR’s, the smiling Instagram photos and the details of workouts can be deceptive. It’s a beautifully brutal and torturous lifestyle. It’s finding your pain threshold over and over again and then again the next day. It’s constant muscle soreness and fatigue on the way up to heavier weights and faster paces. It’s tapping into emotions of feeling on top of the world and complete utter weakness.

With that being said, I wouldn’t change the way I throw myself into training. I love hard workouts, I love two-a-days, eating better, sleeping more. I know this won’t be sustainable through different periods of my life, but for now, getting stronger, faster and fitter is keeping me, above all, happy.

I will try and answer your questions about pairing lifting and running, but feel free to ask anything else in the comments below!

Q: How many days per week do you lift and run? 
A: Right now I lift 2-4 days per week, one heavy lower and one upper body lift. The other days are usually supplemental/auxilary or a Crossfit day. I run 6-7 days per week averaging about 55 miles per week.

Q: What does your typical two-a-day look like? 
A: I’ve experimented a lot with this, my ideal double workout starts with speed work or a tempo run, the 2nd workout being a heavy lift. It doesn’t always work in my schedule that way, sometimes it’s reversed or on opposite days. I find when I separate my hard running (speed days) and heavy lifting I don’t get an “easy” day inbetween. Ideal Example: Monday/Wednesday/Fri easy running. Tues/Thurs speed & lift.

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my barbell

Q: How do you recover?
A: Eat, Sleep, Repeat. I try my best to eat real food and drink tons of water (about 80-100oz daily). I wear compression socks and full compression tights often since I stand all day at work. I try and get 7-9 hours of sleep. That’s it. No fancy story there. Oh, and sometimes I foam roll… sometimes.

Q: Aren’t you sore all the time?
A: You betcha! All. The. Time. But that’s half the fun right? Waking up each morning with a different muscle group screaming.

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Q: Should I train like you?
A: Probably not/maybe/depends on where your fitness level is. It might seem like I just started running a ton of miles and lifting heavy recently or all at once, but it’s been a real slow build over years and years of consistent training and running. And I’m in a constant lifting or running cycle and take down weeks or deload weeks, so I can continue to get stronger without getting hurt or burnt out. If you’re looking to improve your performance, work on being consistent first, and then start sprinkling in intensity.

Q: What would you recommend if I wanted to lift on top of running?
A: I would start with two days of strength training on a base of easy running. After 4-8 weeks deload or pull back on your strength a bit and start adding speed work slowly into your running. Then mix it up and find what days you can do workouts that don’t completely annihilate your legs. Once you’re about 10-14 days out from your race, pull the reins on the strength (lighten the load, up the reps!) and really allow yourself to have fresh legs on race day.

Just remember it will take time for you to get used to the cumulative fatigue and embrace running on tired quads and calves. If you’re training to race faster, this is the way I do it. Running on tired legs will simulate the end miles of a race. Hansons marathon method said it best, “You’re not running the first 16 miles of a marathon, you’re running the last 16. We’re duplicating that final-miles feeling.”

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Q: This seems hard, what if I can’t do it?
A: The most important thing to remember is that all of us runners go through the same emotions. At some point we will have a string of crappy runs or a period of time where every step feels impossible. Keep a journal of how you feel during both strength and cardio sessions and be flexible with yourself. Sometimes your paces may not reflect your effort because of muscle soreness from the strength, and that’s okay! Adjust, experiment, and repeat!

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Do you experiment with different training styles or plans for races? 

What race is next on your schedule?


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Onward!

As I said before, a lot of life changes have happened over the last year. There’s a reason I haven’t posted many blogs in 2017 and a reason my Instagram turned into a million selfies. My life changed and I got divorced. Out of respect for my ex and his family, I’m not going to talk about any specifics, just understand that we weren’t happy and ultimately parting ways was the best choice.

It was difficult to try to put together a blog this year. I had to edit and water down posts to the bare minimum while going through the divorce process.  Which, in turn made the blogs boring and inorganic. I like sharing and being transparent with you guys. I like getting my thoughts out and re-reading old posts to see where my mind was during certain moments and training cycles. This blog has turned into a pseudo scrapbook and a fun way to share with friends and family what’s going on.

As sad as the above might sound, I’ve actually had the best year of my life. Most often when I’m away from my blog or social media, real life is happening, some good, some bad. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: I’ve been happier, healthier and more loved than ever. I’ve been around good people, new friends, new family and I hope you’re ready to take on the next steps with me because A LOT of good shit has happened and the future is so bright. Speaking of, have you watched Netflix’s “Bright”…it’s outstanding!

So quickly, I want to recap some highlights of 2017, since i’m late to the New Year’s post. I have some awesome race recaps coming soon and currently i’m training for a trail 1/2 marathon, a trail 50K (both in February), Boston in April, and a few 10 milers shortly after. Hang tight, the blog is about to get wild.

2017 (1711 total miles)

Jan 1st, 2017- Setting the tone of the year on day one: I PR’d the 5k at a local race and won 1st overall female shaving 50 seconds off my last 5k with the time of 20:09!

New Year's Day 5K 2017 - Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC

New Year’s Day 5K 2017 – Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC

March 11th- Rock n’ Roll DC 1/2.  PR’d on a cold day by almost 2 minutes. 1:33:37. I broke into the top 100 females that day, 67th.  A bigger accomplishment than the PR. I was super proud of that race.

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I ran a lot of trails this year.

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Including a Ragnar Trail

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I PR’d just about every lift this year.
Deadlift Conventional 2 @ 255#
Back Squat 1 @ 195#
Front Squat 5 @ 155#
Bench 1 @ #105
Power Clean 3 @ 115#
Jerk 1 @ 115#
Snatch 1 @ 80#

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His and Hers ❤

I learned how to eat Maryland crab this year.

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I ran my first 7K and won it!

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I went to a lot of weddings, wore a lot of dresses this year…

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Marie my best friend, and most beautiful bride

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I ran Marine Corps Marathon on little running (ok, 50 mile weeks, but no legitimate speed/training plan). Not a PR, but a huge Boston Qualifier and the first time I broke into the top 100 female at a marathon (81st official female) and made it in the Washington PostFullSizeRender (1)

I ran another Ragnar DC with a good group of people.
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I pit crewed for the love of my life at World’s Toughest Mudder. And it was the most fulfilling race I’ve ever not ran.

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Clint and me in the Pit.

Have I introduced you to the dude in all my pictures? His name is Stephen. You can call him Steve. He’s a badass. He lifts heavy weights, completed 10 Tough Mudder events, runs incredible distances (he did 40 miles during World’s Toughest) and he’s an amazing, incredible, spectacularly inspiring father to an almost 4 year old girl. He has yet to run an official marathon (don’t worry we’ll get him there), but is jumping straight to the 50K trail with me in February… Let’s just say we get along real well.

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That kinda sums up my year. Lots of change, but a lot of the same. Still striving to be a better person, develop relationships with people that matter, lift heavier, run farther, run faster, travel more. You know the drill.. and i’ll be around much more this year. Enjoy life kids. Be happy.

Now tell me your 2018 plans, goals, races, life changes…