Now's the time to set yourself up for success for the upcoming training year. What are some things you can do to help elevate your training?

Stephanieruns Fitness

January 6, 2019 Newsletter

Setting Yourself Up for Success

January is the time when most athletes and runners sit down and set goals or resolutions. You might of picked out some races you plan to run or even signed up for some races. Last week my newsletter was all about setting SMART goals. If you haven't had a chance to set smart goals it's still something I'd encourage you to do. However today I want to shift gears from goal setting and talk about how you can set yourself up for success with your training this year. 

So how can you set yourself up for success? You're only as strong as your weakest part. When you're looking to improve your training starting with your weaknesses will give you huge opportunity to improve. We usually know what are weaknesses are. They are the muscles that are used in our least favourite workouts. We tend to avoid working on our weaknesses because it's difficult, hard and we just don't like it. However if we keep working on our weaknesses not only will you notice a big improvement in your training but the workout you used to dread could become one of your favourites.

How do you know what your weaknesses are?

  • The muscles/workouts you dread working on
  • The muscles you notice are failing during your runs
  • You can get an assessment from a physiotherapist or personal trainer to assess your weaknesses
  • You can do a mini fitness test to determine weaknesses

After looking at your weaknesses I would consider what opportunities you have with your training. Here are some opportunities that every runner should consider.

  • Adding in strength training. If you're a runner and you're not doing strength training you're missing a huge opportunity to improve your training.
  • Adding in flexibility training. If you aren't adding in flexibility training I would encourage you to do so. I love essentrics because it focuses on helping you gain and keep your range of motion and flexibility.
  • Working on your core. Runners know that the core is important, but sometimes we forget to actually exercise it. You can easily add a couple core exercises at the end of a run.
  • Working on rest. Sometimes we think more is better and that we shouldn't rest.  Make sure you have one full day of complete rest. Rest is a part of your training program not an afterthought. 
  • Work on progress not perfection. Keep pushing forward with your training but remember your training plan is yours. You don't need to be perfect to make progress.

The last several newsletters I've talked about doing a SWOT analysis on your training, about setting SMART goals, and today about setting yourself up for success. January is a time where we can set the stage for a new year of training and help make sure we are making progress with our training. Taking time to sit down and plan, assess and review your training is part of setting yourself up for success. They say if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Make 2019 the year you set yourself up for success. Send me a tweet @srunsfitness and tell me how you're setting yourself up for success this year.

Trying Something New

Several years ago after accomplishing several of my running goals I wasn't sure what to tackle next. I had a really hard time thinking of a goal to work towards. I still loved running but I needed something else. I decided to make my goal to try a new fitness activity or class once a month for a year. When we are trying new fitness classes or activities we can see what we really like and then work it into our future training plans. I had the opportunity to try several new things. A few of the options I tried were:

  • aerial yoga: which was great stretching the day after a long run
  • surfboard yoga: which required quite a bit of core strength and was a great challenge
  • trail running: I had never run a trail race before and it was a game changer
  • aqua cycling: this is where they put the spinning bikes in the pool. It takes the pressure off your joints and is a fantastic workout.
  • Restorative yoga: this was great for helping to relax
  • Essentrics: I had an opportunity to take a class with the creator of essentrics. It was a fantastic opportunity
  • Bosu ball: I love utilizing the bosu ball and was able to take a class with a master trainer and learned a lot
  • TRX: I've had my TRX for almost ten years but I love refreshing and taking new classes and learning new ways to use it.

When I took time to run, but not specifically train it allowed me to try new classes and find things I liked and could and did add into my training when I started training again. It helped me become a more balanced runner. Sometimes we need a break from structure and that's okay. I'm a big believer in goals and training but sometimes we need a break to discover what we want our goals to be. We have years to run and train, sometimes you need a break from structure. 

Why Strength Train

As a personal trainer and coach I sometimes feel like a broken record when I'm talking about how strength training can help improve your running. If you've been following me a while you know I believe that strength training makes you a stronger, faster, more efficient runner.

Strength training gives you the muscular endurance to get you to the finish line of your next race in good form. Your muscles support your running form. Your arms swing as many times as your feet turn over. When's the last time you strength trained your arms? Your feet are your foundation. When's the last time you exercised your feet without socks or shoes on? I could go on.

Strength training is something I recommend for every runner. Time and time again I see runners who haven't done any strength training add it in and see gains in their running. Runners noticing they feel different on their runs and faster finishing times. It's a great way to help become a faster runner.

Make 2019 the year you add in strength training to your training program. If you aren't doing any strength training start small. Add in exercises at the end of of a run until it becomes routine. Once it becomes routine you can add a full strength training workout to your training plan.

One thing that's very important for strength training is form. If you've never done any strength training before consider seeing a personal trainer who can help you with no only form but also the weight you should use. If you're not able to see a trainer make sure you clearly understand the exercise and form required and consider doing your exercises in front of a mirror so you can ensure you're doing the exercises correctly.

If you have questions about strength training send them my way. I'll answer them in future newsletters.

I will be doing an upcoming issue just on answering your questions. Send me any questions you have and they could be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

If you're looking for a strength training plan geared for runners check out my Training Peak's store. I have several plans up for sale and am always adding more.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.