Guest Post: Strength Training for a Runner

Today’s Guest Posters are twins Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams. I had the great opportunity to meet Alexandra during our Fitfluential dinner when I was in San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon. Their guest post today is strength training for the marathoner. However, whether you are running a marathon, a 5k, or a few miles for fun, I can’t stress how important it is to strength train. Read their post for ideas and tips on how to incorporate strength into your training, and of course leave these lovely ladies some love.

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Twins and fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams-Evans, MA have been tagged as the witty Dear Abby and Ann Landers of the exercise advice world. WIth nearly 60 years’ combined fitness professional experience on land, sea, and airwaves they offer accurate, accessible, and entertaining advice with a twist. Alexandra is an editor and writer for IDEA: The Association for Health and Fitness Professionals; Kymberly is former faculty for the Dept of Exercise and Sports Studies at UCSB. You can catch them in person, on the radio, at events and on their website funanfit.org

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When strength training for a marathon (and you should), have you considered either kettlebell or medicine ball workouts? Kettlebells offer both cardio AND strength benefits, while the medicine balls address strength. We suggest trying out the medicine ball first unless you have access to a certified kettlebell instructor to teach you. Kettlebells are deceptively difficult to do right. You have to hold and swing them properly to avoid getting hurt. Our post “Kettlebell Workouts: Yes or No” will give you something to think about.

For either of the two types of equipment, you want to start light: 5 – 7 pounds for the kettlebells, and 8 – 12 pounds for the medicine ball.

Before you try and figure out how to use either of these all by yourself, we actually suggest you attend a group fitness strength training classes instead. Most runners eschew group fitness because they love the time alone and the outdoors, but whether you use free weights, resistance bands or resistance tubing, barbells, body weight, actual kettlebells or medicine balls, you will have a lower chance of injury in a class taught by a fitness pro. You’ll increase your fundamental strength, which will allow you to progress further with your marathon training. And you will get guidance, a range of options, and feedback within a class, all of which minimize injury risk. Tackle kettlebells only with a qualified, well-trained leader (trainer or group instructor) as risk with the kettlebells is higher than with other resistance equipment. You can then take what you learn in the strength training class out onto the floor and apply it to your solo resistance training program.

And of course, after that you can take your show on the road! Or more like the hills and dales of your next marathon, where your powerful legs and core will have you leaping tall buildings…or something!

What is your favorite way to strength train?

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Strength Training for a Runner

  1. I want to be able to leap tall buildings.

    2013 definitely will include strength training. I've never used kettlebells, I'm more of a dumbell kinda guy. (no jokes on being a "dumb guy").

    Thanks for the share. Next year I'll be all big and buff like AHNOLD for the photo. :)

  2. I truly enjoy my brother-in-law's company, but I am not also married to him. So I'm just Williams!!! And thank you for letting us post on your blog. I love the pic of us in SF. What a great reminder of a fun weekend.

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