Friday, March 2, 2012

March Madness? Maybe…

Since the beginning of the year I have been concentrating on my half marathon training.  I have been very focussed on my running, and the progress I am making in speed gains and longer distances.  All good, and I am really happy about it.  I am ecstatic about it actually!

But my strength training has really taken a back seat.  I have been doing a couple of workouts each week, but only half-heartedly at best. I have done some upper and lower body work with my 5 lb dumbells, and I have done some DVD workouts, and I do think that is better than having done nothing at all… but not by much.

Yesterday I thought about whether I could build some muscle on my upper body, while doing all this running.  And last night, I did quite a bit of research on the internet, reading opinons by several different trainers.  The general consensus seems to be that muscle building and long distance runnning do not go hand in hand.  That runners don’t want or need bulky muscles.

I certainly agree with that.   I don’t want to look like a body builder or a fitness model. At this point in my life I doubt that I could... or maybe  I am selling myself short after reading about this gal.

Image Detail
Ernestine Shepherd who started body building at 56

I do, however, want some more definition in my arms, my shoulders and my back.  And I want a strong core and legs to support my running. 

I think if I step up my strength training somewhat… train smarter… and keep eating properly (lots of fresh freggies, lean protein, whole grains, fat free dairy) that I can get the results I want by the time my half marathon rolls around on May 13th. And that would put me in good stead for the summer clothes I want to wear... yes, I am that vain. Who isn't?

The timing is good for me too, as I have just been given some GNC Canada whey isolate protein drink powder and a month's worth of women’s vitamin packs.  Both of these things should support my efforts nicely.

I had The Captain take a picture of me this morning that I am not really anxious to share, but for my own records, shows my arms and shoulders as they are now… a starting point.

I am going to have The Captain join in my workouts to help keep me accountable and on track and I will be posting about them regularly.

Here is what I did today:

5 minute warmup

2 sets of 10 reps (first set w/ 8 lb dumbbells, second set w/ 5 lb dumbbells) each:
  • pushups
  • bicep curls
  • tricep kickbacks
  • lateral raises
  • overhead presses
  • reverse flyes
  • pec decks
  • delt raises
  • frontal raises
1 set of 20 reps (w/ 5 lb dumbbells) each:
  • squats
  • rear alternating lunges
5 minute cool/stretch

It all took close to half an hour and left me with my arms feeling like jelly!  I hope that means it is working!

We plan to do a nice long walk after lunch, to take care of some errands.


  1. Great workout and good goals. It is hard to build muscle and be a runner at the same time. The protein should help a lot. I just bought some protein powder yesterday and am anxious to see if it helps. Have a great weekend!

  2. I like your plan. I would also take measurements of the areas so you can compare start to finish. When I run I generally tend to let strength training fall aside, but my physio is really encouraging me to work on a few areas like my legs and my butt and my back.

  3. Nice workout! That Ernestine is an amazing woman, I love that she started bodybuilding at 58..amazing!

    You should have been flexing your pipes in that picture :)

  4. Awesome workout! Taking a picture is a great way to track your progress. (Even if you aren't anxious to post it.)

    I look forward to reading about your muscle gaining experience while running!

  5. Nice workout Elle. So excited for you doing your first half. I know what I have been doing this winter has help me get more defined line in my arm. I have been doing the Jillian dvd. They literally kick my butt, but I am seeing result and I am loving that. Good Luck.

  6. Good job putting it out there. Yep, strength training tends to fall to the wayside when running miles increase. I am guilty of that one too. If only each day had more time....

  7. great job getting your strength training on! it is very hard to find balance with it running, cross training, etc. my biggest obstacle is when leg day falls the day before long run day. fail!

  8. Jelly arms is almost always the sign of a great arm workout!

  9. Nice workout Elle (shhhh but maybe I can see if I can send you the strong stride DVD online) shhh

    and also - I am in the same boat as you. I got so into running I forgot to do strength for almost 8 months!!!!!!!! no wonder I have OA and hip issues! so now I'm going to be really focused on building muscle. Apparently we don't need to worry about bulking up. Women don't put muscle on the same way and also - runner benefit more from lots of reps less weight (or so I've read) - see at least I can research.....I just slack at the doing. lol

  10. I think more definition by the half is definitely attainable-- and jelly arms is a good sign. :) I tend to put s/t on the back burner when in training mode too, but I'm trying to keep 2-3 sessions a week. I think it's made me a stronger runner... good luck!

  11. I am actually going to be really testing the whole "bodybuilding and distance running cannot go together" thing here soon.

    I've fallen in love with weight lifting... the strength gains, the muscle gains... all of it. But I still love running and the thought of doing ultras and other crazy things excites me beyond belief.

    So I'm not willing to give either up, nor do I want one to suffer because of the other.

    I have no idea what kind of results I'll see, but I'm hoping to find some sort of system that works for me and my own body chemistry so that I can get the physique I want without having to give up running further than 5 miles at a time. lol

  12. Great workout! I can't wait to see your next photo. And, just for the record, I think you are pretty! ;)


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