My relationship with exercise has been a long, winding path. I have always like to move my body, enjoyed the way I felt after a good workout, appreciated how strong and in control exercise can make me feel.
In high school, I was on the cheerleading squad, and also danced and participated in gymanstics. In college, I would go to the gym fairly regularly to lift weights far lighter than my ability or attend group classes. After I had my son (and weighed 60 lbs more than I had pre-baby), I focused on body weight exercises and light weights.
If you've been keeping track up to this point, you'll notice that I have not mentioned much cardio. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I "went for a run" from the time I graduated high school until my late 20s. I did't like the way it made me feel: uncoordinated, unathletic, unhappy. I would basically run all out around the block, and wonder why I couldn't catch my breath. I did not understand the people I saw "running for fun".
In my late 20s, I was dating a super awesome man who would go for an "easy 3 miles" a few times a week. One day, I asked him I could join him on a run, and my tumultuous relationship with running began. Together, we ran 5ks and 10ks, After we got married (and I became the luckiest lass in the world), we increased our mileage, running a handful of half marathons and marathons.
As is the problem with most runners, the more I ran, the strength training I did. I knew that I should, and I would often incorporate some body weight movements a couple times a week, but that was about it. All I did was run (sometimes every day), but I noticed that I didn't seem to be getting any faster. I started lifting heavy weights halfway through training for my second marathon. I loved the way lifting heavy barbells made me feel, and the excitement of lifting more than I had the day before was a feeling that I had never felt before. I felt like a strong, badass woman. I also noticed more definition in my legs and arms, and running the same paces seemed easier than before. I ran a 20 minute PR in my second marathon, and although many factors went into this, strength was definitely one of them.
So that's the end of the story, right? Unfortunately, no. Life got in the way, and lifting went by the wayside. Strength training for my third marathon was basically nonexistent. And it showed not only in my finishing time, but also in the overall marathon experience. It was clear that I needed make strength training a priority.
And that takes us to today. I am running a marathon this October, and I am hoping to use this blog as a form of accountability for my training. I am currently in the middle of a pretty intense workout program called Tighter Together from Madeline Moves, which involves a healthy mix of heavy weights, plyo, and cardio. It is the perfect program to get me ready for actual marathon training, which starts the end of June.
Do you have trouble balancing cardio and weight training? Which do you prefer? Comment below!