I started going to boot camp classes 3-4 times a week last November. I had several reasons for jumping out of my comfort zone, and I ended up getting SO much more out of it than I planned.
As a runner, I was in a rut. I wasn’t getting faster, I kept getting hurt, I was getting bored, and still had not lost all my baby weight despite running 4 times a week/approximately 20-25 miles a week. Sound familiar to anyone? I’m guessing it does.
(Me last March at the LA marathon expo. I was too embarrassed to show this photo after it was taken. I had been MARATHON TRAINING but was still not dropping my post baby weight. This was 5 months post partum.)
I had “lifted weights” in the past (you know, the little 5 pound dumbbells) and worked out on the weight machines occasionally at the gym before calling it a day, but that was the extent of my “strength training”.
I had QUITE the rude awakening when I went to my first week of class. Clearly I had not been pushing myself hard enough, and while it was very tough, it felt SO GOOD to work hard, lift heavy things, and get stronger and leaner.
We do everything from box jumps, to sled pushes, to sprints, to squats with the bar and weight, to TRX, to the rowers. It’s DIFFERENT every time, and I’m constantly sore which is not a bad thing. Part of the price you pay for boot camp includes getting tested on their super high tech body fat machine periodically. Not only was I losing weight, but I was GAINING muscle mass. I eventually stopped losing weight but have still been gaining muscle, and that is fine by me. This next session ends next Friday, and I can’t wait to do the test again to see where I am now (I haven’t done it since January).
The most surprising but yet welcomed change has been in my running. Yes, we do some running in boot camp but never over a mile, or we may do some sprints, but nothing long distance. However, with me only running one day a week on my own, maybe every other week I will run twice, I am GETTING FASTER.
Let that sink in. I went from running 3-4 times a week to 1-2, but yet I AM GETTING FASTER. I have more endurance, my body is overall stronger so it can withstand longer distances at a faster pace, and I just FEEL better when I am running, like I can hold myself up better. I don’t get winded as quickly, and since I have cut back on the frequency, when I am running I actually ENJOY it now. I’m very close to my PR’s in every race distance from pre-baby, and I know if I keep at it and get healthy (I’m talking to you, right hip!) I will shatter them all soon.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I don’t want you to wait as long as I did to get strong to benefit my running, and my health in general. I used to get so frustrated with my lack of motivation, lack of progress, and general “softness” of my body, but now I am proud and strong, and it’s such a great feeling. It’s great to be a runner, but my advice to you is don’t JUST be a runner. Try really really hard to add in at least 1-2 days of REAL, HARD, kick your butt strength work, and I promise you will see improvements all across the board. If you have any specific questions about things I have been doing let me know!
QOTD: Do you strength train? Have you noticed a difference in your body or your running?