Day 12: Magic Legs

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Everyone knows runners have the best legs! But we still have to work for them…

How do we build “magic legs” that will take us the distance? Strength work!

Let’s chat about some myths that maybe you’ve heard before…


MYTH: Runners don’t need to lift weights. To get stronger, run more.

TRUTH: Running–and the optimal balance of volume, intensity and pace-specific work–will always be the primary focus of a distance runner’s training program. And rightly so. Strength training, however, presents a different physiological stimulus, one that includes a host of distinct benefits that running doesn’t provide, but which are crucial to health and optimal performance.

Takeaway: Runners need strength training in addition to running!


MYTH: The key area to work on is the core; running works all other areas.

TRUTH: Research indicates that upper-body, lower-body and midsection strength training all contribute to improved running performance. You should do exercises that involve all of the major muscle groups. Rather than specifically strengthening an area that you assume is weak, you are better off developing strength in all muscle groups, which will create balance and synergy.

Takeaway: Our core is important, but we need to strengthen our upper and lower body too.


MYTH: Lift with quick movements to work power and improve speed.

TRUTH: It’s more effective to lift and lower the weight slowly. Take two to three seconds to lift the weight and at least four seconds to lower the weight. A mantra for the distance runner is, “To become fast, lift slowly.”

Takeaway: Lift slowly!


MYTH: Use light weights and don’t exhaust yourself when lifting for distance running.

TRUTH: Many runners assume that lifting heavy weights can predispose to injury, when in fact, fast movements that create high external forces on joints predispose to injury. Lift a weight heavy enough to exhaust you. Train to the point of momentary muscle fatigue. Focus on continuing each set of exercises until it is utterly impossible to complete another perfect rep. This ensures optimal muscle fiber involvement.

Takeaway: Don’t skimp on the weights. When you are ready to add more weight, do it. You want to continue to get stronger so when it becomes easy, you need heavier weights!


MYTH: Lift on your off or easy days to balance your hard-run efforts.

TRUTH: It is optimal to piggyback strength-training workouts with quality runs. This work complements the training effect of the running, then you fully recover from both on easy days.

Takeaway: Strength work and running the same day is a good idea!


Continuing to strengthen our arms, back, core, hips, glutes, and legs is the best way to build those magic legs (and arms, shoulders, back, core, and glutes) that will carry us through our long runs and races, help us get faster, and keep us safe from injuries. Let’s get to work!

Day 10 exercises: 3 sets of 10

****Click here for how to videos****

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges (both sides)
  • Wall sits – :60 3X
  • Plank – :60 (your choice)

Bonus: 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Since our long runs and races are coming up fast (and I was super sore last weekend after last Thursday’s leg work) the only bonus today is to stretch those legs, glutes, and back. Take a few extra minutes to go through our 7 Key Stretches for runners and get ready to go long this weekend!

Want more leg work? Don’t worry….there’s more squats to do. 😉

Challenges:

  • Burpees – 30
  • Push Ups Beginner – 10
  • Push Ups Advances – 50
  • Squats – 40

Water Challenge: The no junk food challenge seemed to go well yesterday so let’s do another challenge today. It’s one that some people struggle with…drinking enough water.

This is another great way to get ready for our long runs because a lot of people don’t start hydrating in advance for long runs. Let’s start now by drinking LOTS of water today! How much should you drink? Check out the charts below and get that water bottle ready for the day.

For me, a 38 year old female weighing around 135 pounds, I should be drinking 9 – 8 oz cups of water or 72 oz each day. How much should you be drinking?

If you find yourself hungry, bored, stressed, or thirsty, grab your water bottle and start guzzling. Have a great day Crew!

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