Running, Strength Training, and Life

I’ve been pretty busy since my last blog post. I have only ran once this year so far, and that was a quick 1 mile run on the treadmill at the gym a couple days after 2018 started. After that run, I remembered I had made the decision to hold off from running for two weeks post reaching my 2017 running goals. The idea was to give my toe a break, and to focus more on strength training as a bigger part of my workout routine. So I have not gone running since. I know that I have mentioned in previous posts that I have found that strength training has helped me become a better runner, and I still feel this way. However, I have not been as consistent as I would like with making time for strength training since having my 3rd child.

I had a friend tell me one time that if you want to do better at a specific thing, you have to consistently do that thing. Of course, we were discussing running itself. Essentially, if you want to be a better, faster runner, and hit PRs (personal records), then you need to actually run, right? This is correct, for the most part. However, there is definitely a limit to how fast your body can go, if you don’t strength train. I read an article recently that touched on that point. My takeaway from it was that if you do squats (for example), you are preparing your legs to withstand the very real pressure of pushing off during a run, and if you do, say 100 squats in an exercise, you are training those muscles to be able to respond quickly when you wish to go faster. There is less effort needed (if you do these squats on a regular basis, of course), and your entire body can respond to those stresses without stressing out, essentially.

That is my very unscientific way of explaining the importance of strengthening your legs for speed. Now, this can also go for distance. Stronger muscles equal a body more able to endure the continuous movement for longer periods of time. But I have done the running only thing, and it has led to injury. So if you need to be further convinced that strength training is important, just see one of my previous posts on the stress fracture I started to have a few years back, that I attribute from my lack of strength training.

There is definitely a balance to this. Strength train and only run once or twice a week, you aren’t really preparing for any races adequately. Run and only strength train once a week, you aren’t really preparing your body to handle the stress on your skeletal system that comes with running long races, and with short races, good luck with getting much faster at them. But I’m only speaking from a little bit of knowledge and a lot of experience. Plus, there are plenty of published articles on that point, and I do a lot of reading (when I find time).

So, this week I’ve only been focusing on strength training and I take a body pump class at my local gym which targets several muscle groups, but especially helps my legs. Monday, January 15th, I will get back to running in addition to my strength training. My goals for this year are to strength train three times a week, and run at least 5 days a week. I do not intend to run any half marathons this year, as I’m hoping to focus on my speed in the shorter runs (5k and 10k). We will see how it goes.

As I continue to contemplate my goals for 2018, I have been thinking of those loved ones that have had a rough 2017 and hope that their 2018 is a happier one.

One friend had a parent die of a disease that was extremely rare (like, one in a million). Kinda like winning the lottery-except not! This friend I have known since the summer before high school, and she is like a sister to me (but one I got to choose-yay)! I’ve known her parents for over 20 years. I hadn’t seen them a lot in recent years for obvious reasons-growing up, going to different colleges, she actually moved out of state, etc etc, but I had maintained contact with her, and, as a result, them. So her dad was diagnosed with this rare disease in September and essentially told he had a year to live, at the most. Thus resulted in a progression of this disease and his passing at the end of December. He was 65.

The one good thing that came out of this, from my point of view, is that I was able to spend some additional, rare time, with a very dear friend as she traveled back several times from where she now lives to spend time with her dad and help with his care. I appreciate our friendship even more now than I did a few months back as a result. I appreciate just what a strong, faith filled woman she is, and I aspire to have such strength when I have to inevitably endure the passing of someone so close to me some day.

Then there is my grandpa. He just turned 95 at the beginning of January-on the 9th anniversary of my uncle’s untimely death.

Yes, this is life. People die young, people live to be very old.

But it strikes me as such a stark contrast when people really close to you lose someone at what I believe a young age, then you celebrate within days, a birthday of another loved one that has been around for so long.

One thing is for sure, my grandpa had plenty of family there, but a very small amount of friends-and nobody there was even close to his age. This, to me, is bittersweet.

My grandpa taught me how to roller skate, which I in turn recently taught my oldest daughter how to do (after over 20 years not roller skating, by the way). It was like riding a bike! I even remembered how to backwards roller skate! Now grandpa needs a walker to assist with walking, but he still has a sharp mind!

Regardless of my time on this earth, I am going to try to make it a great one! Whether it be interactions with my children or other family, having a successful workout or an epic run, having meaningful time with friends, helping those in need, or simply being kind to a stranger that passes by, I plan to try to make it the best day possible, because it could be my last. Or, I could live to be 95 years old with plenty of fun stories to tell my great grandchildren, or great great nieces/nephews, or whomever happens to still be around to hang out with me. Hopefully that will include one or two of my very dear, and sometimes silly, friends (yes, this includes my husband).

Time is precious-even the simple time with family or friends can create lasting memories (probably a reason I take so many photos all the time). I spent a long overdue evening with some of my cousins on my mom’s side of the family last night, and it was awesome (yes, photos were taken with my iphone)! It was a good day. 🙂

Today was a snow day, and I was able to spend it with all three of my children (by myself, as hubby was out of town for work). Despite the chaos of my 1 year old son trying to get into things constantly, and the back and forth bickering inevitable between my two daughters, ages 8 and 5, it was wonderful spending a random work day with them. Another good day!

Hoping for another good day tomorrow!


As a side note, the photo pictured here is my grandpa at his 95th birthday party, with my son! ❤️

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