Day 19: Choose to be Strong


For many of us, poor performance or lack of increasing better results in our favorite sport, leads to a whole lot of self-deprecating thoughts like “I suck,” “Why do I even do this?” and, “Why aren’t I better?” It can become a real inner battle and a catalyst to depression and quitting. But there is hope!

There are two types of runners: those who just run and those who are well-balanced athletes.

Well balanced athletes cross-train and perform strength training. They’re usually stronger, healthier, and more successful athletes who are able to keep reaching new levels of performance.

On the other hand, the runners who just run tend to get injured often and wonder why they aren’t able to make much progress over the long term.

Does this look familiar? Yep…we’ve been down this road before. Well-balanced athletes don’t need to spend all day in a gym building muscle; they don’t focus on “bulking up”. But adding strength training to your routine allows a runner’s body to become more resilient to the demands of running.

According to, strength training is one of the best forms of cross training runners can do…consider it the “ideal cross training.”


A strong body will counteract the effects of repetitive pounding our boys takes when we’re running and any preexisting conditions will be less likely to get worse.

Strength training helps to improve structural weaknesses in your body, whether in the muscles, joints, or connective tissues. Often, this will eliminate the source of many common running injuries. For example, runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, can be caused by hip dysfunction – tight or weak hips cause compensations elsewhere that result in knee injuries.

Strength training builds core strength, which is particularly important for distance runners. A strong core will not only look great, it also contributes to better posture throughout the day and while running. This means you’ll be a more efficient runner.

Strength training even will help you run faster. By improving your efficiency, allowing you to impart more force into the ground, and train healthy for longer periods of time, you’ll finish races faster than ever before.

Run pain-free, shave some time off your favorite distance, and improve structural weaknesses in the your body….strength training is the key. On top of these benefits, runners will also gain valuable higher energy levels, increased bone density, a stronger metabolism, and less body fat.

Which athlete do you want to be? Be more than a runner…be a well-balanced athlete who can’t be beat because you never give up.

Day 19 exercises:

  • Donkey Kick Workout – Butt, Hips, Thighs and Glutes
  • Bonus: Ab Pyramid
  • Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-8
  • One :60 Plank of your choice

Donkey Kick Workout: Last week you followed along with me so I thought I’d give you a break and let you follow along with this cool chick today.

Bonus: Core Work! – Ab Pyramid 

We did this one a lot in the past and we’re bringing it back today. 1 round all the way through for today’s bonus workout.


Extra Credit: Sarah’s 12 Days of Christmas – Days 1-8

  1. 1 minute skaters
  2. 20 Squats
  3. 15 Push Ups
  4. 10 Superman
  5. 1 minute Jumping Jacks
  6. 20 Lunges
  7. 15 Tricep Dips
  8. 10 Mountain Climbers

Speed Work: Remember me talking about the RRCA strategy IIP?

Introduce, Improve, Perfect

This strategy allows us to introduce a workout (maybe not doing it very well), then improve on that workout (getting better) and finally perfecting that workout (doesn’t mean you don’t still have room to improve, but you will know how to do it).

We’ve been changing it up each week lately but I want to bring this strategy back…you got it…same speed work as last week…more 1/4 mile repeats. Since we are revisiting the same speed workout, I also want to remind you of some tips you can use to get better at it. Adding a couple of these to your workouts each week will help you improve.


Speed workout: 6x – 8X 1/4 mile repeats

Warm-Up  5:00 jog followed by your choice of Dynamic Movements (high knees, butt kicks, leg swings, sideways shuffles, skipping, etc)

Work-Out – 6-8 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.

*2:00 standing or walking rest in between each one.

1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track.  Here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time.

  • If you run a 13:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:45
  • If you run a 12:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:30.
  • If you run a 11:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:15.
  • If you run a 10:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:00.
  • If you run a 9:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 1:45.
  • If you run a 8:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 1:30.
  • If you run a 7:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 1:15.

Cool-Down  5:00-10:00 easy jog (you’ve earned it!)

We can all be more well-balanced and stronger athletes. Getting stronger doesn’t mean we won’t have some disappointing races or training runs, but it will help you feel better, lose weight, run faster easier, and prevent injuries.

So let me ask you again….what type of athlete do you want to be?


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