strength training

Strength exercises we all need

If you are a client or follow our blog, you know we love our cross training - yoga, strength classes, spin, and any other fun class that is out that. I've been reminded of how important it is to running this past month. After coming off an injury and doing a ton of physical therapy work, I started running in mid February. I started off slowly - no more than 30 minutes, every other day. I was doing my therapy exercises and feeling good. Somewhere along the way, I started to slack off on the therapy exercises. I can't pinpoint it exactly but I think it was after I ran 6 miles pain free. I thought "I'm better!" And that equated to not having to continue my exercises - WRONG!

I'm still running pain free but after a few weeks of not really doing any strength (yikes - Jessica would scold me), I can feel it - little aches and pains, my legs are too sore after hills. So, I signed up for some strength classes and recommitted to doing my exercises. I do them 2x a week and go to a strength class 1x a week. For now, this is what works with my schedule and life. The results? I feel stronger on the hills and I'm now sore but in the right places!

If you need some ideas, here's what we recommend:

And, for those of you who need some extra motivation, a class is always a great idea. Find an instructor you like and a smaller class so you get the form correction.

Strength Move of the Week: Pyrolates at Firebrand Sports

Holy cow! Last night I took one of the harder strength classes I have ever been to. It's called Pyrolates at Firebrand Sports in Portland, OR. The name actually explains it all. It felt like my entire body was burning most of the time, but in a controlled, Pilates-like fashion that's safe, effective and insanely hard! Normally, I am not a fan of burn until you die workouts, but this class is an exception. 

Picture from Firebrand Sports' website of its Pyrolates class

Portlanders, if you're looking for a strength class that gets results, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Firebrand's Pyrolates class. Like most Pilates workouts, this class is especially great for runners because it targets hip stabilizers and abdominals in a way that will seriously benefit your running form and running strenght. Not to mention, a glute, hamstring and quad workout that crushed me the second half of class. Legs and core are happy, but very spent.

When you do show up for your first class, don't be shy about modifications - the instructor in my class was amazing at providing them on both ends of the spectrum.  Here's the machine that you use for this class. It reminds me of a reformer on steroids.

A word of caution for any runner: don't plan a hard running workout for the day after one of these classes. You're going to need a recovery run day.  


Base Training - Muscle Strength

You’ve spent the last few weeks or so stabilizing your muscles and now you are ready to strengthen them so that you are able to run longer without fatiguing.

Most people think “lean and lanky” when they think of the typical runner’s body. While that might be true, it doesn’t mean weak. The most effective runners are powerhouses because they know that being strong translates to faster, more efficient and more injury resistant. And remember, running is a full-body exercise so you have to be full-body strong – not just your legs.

Below are some of our favorite ways to strengthen and tone. Do each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 3x for 1-2 weeks.
Squat to Overhead Raise
Bridge with Tricep Dip
Renegade Row
Dumbell Woodchop

Base Training - Muscle Stability

A major part of staying injury free and hitting your target or goal race times is muscle stability. Your muscles need to work together, harmoniously, to properly turn over and keep you going for 20+ miles. Thus, you need strong, stable muscles and not just in your legs. We are talking core and upper body as well. A strong core will help you pick up your knees, which translates into faster times (think turnover, how many times your feet hit the ground) and a strong upper body will help keep you upright and keep those arms pumping.

Below we highlight a few exercises that we recommend to stabilize your muscles and prepare for more strength work and longer miles.  Do 30-60 seconds of each exercise, 2x. Click on each exercise to see a brief video and explanation.

  1. Bridge with Single Leg Raise
  2. Plank - Side Plank Series
  3. Opposite Arm/Leg Extension
  4. Single Leg Deadlift
  5. Single Leg Calf Raise
  6. Squat to Leg Extension
  7. Donkey Kicks
  8. Glute Press Up

Base Training 101 - Prepare for Race Season

Marathon Season is approaching fast! What are you doing now so you’re ready to hit the ground running (literally) once race training formally begins? The answer - invest in a solid base training program.

What is base training? Base training involves a healthy combination of strength workouts, longer distance runs, stamina building tempo and interval runs and hill work during the weeks leading up to formal race training. During this time, you work on strengthening and balancing major running muscles, safely re-introducing intervals and hill workouts at medium intensity and improving your stamina with weekly runs at a harder, sustained effort.

Why do I need it? The goal of base training is to develop your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance to enter race training with a proper foundation. This way you can jump into higher intensity workouts without risk of injury, and effectively execute each workout to reap the most benefits.

When to implement? Six to nine weeks before race specific training begins. We recommend a solid nine weeks for maximum strength and endurance adaptations.

Who is it for? Anyone who can comfortably run at least three times per week for a total of 10-15 miles a week and is beginning a formal race training program in the upcoming months.

The month of May at Hot Bird Running is all about base training. Whether you’re coming off a spring half marathon and ready to get back into running or you’re in the final count down before your marathon training starts this summer, base training is for you. Maintain a year round, balanced approach to running with a proper base training plan. Stay tuned all month for our base training tips - get the base before the race.

Best Workouts for the Bride

If you are embarking on a fitness and diet routine to tone up and look good on your big day, add running into your plan. Running burns the most calories AND it's a great way to releive stress (we know there's a bit of that leading up to a wedding!)

If you want an easy and effective way to tone up and slim down, run with us. Our private training sessions pack in both cardio and strength training. All of our sessions are catered to your goals - think skinny, toned arms, stamina for the dance floor and awesome looking legs! Think of our sessions as a wedding bootcamp.

New York Magazine named us one of the best workouts for brides. Check us out!