November – Week 4: Plan & Commit

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Consistency is the secret sauce to being successful but in order to be consistent we must commit fully to strength as part of our everyday training.

Commit to thinking differently about strength training.

Commit to investing in yourself and your running.

Commit to doing the work.

Commit to a growth mindset.

Are you committed to growing into a healthier and stronger runner? This week we are switching up the routine just a tad. The workouts are the same but in order to complete the challenge…you must plan ahead and commit!

Week 4 Challenge:

I was taught that doing strength after a run could be detrimental because we are tired and depleted from our workout and that attempting strength when we are tired can result in bad from and possible injury. But through continued education and personal experience, I’m leaning the other way. It is always important to have good form but if we add a little strength after our run we will benefit from more calories burned AND strengthening those muscles while we’re tired forces them to work harder! Last week after our speed work, a few of the girls and I completed the Standard Core routine and I could certainly tell a difference. So…this week’s challenge…

3 strength routines AFTER 3 separate runs

These 3 routines can be any of the routines listed below in our week 4 strength outline. You can choose a different routine after each run or you can stick with one that you feel you need the most. Choose from hips/glutes, core and arms. The way to make this happen is to plan in advance. You will need a little time post run to get your strength done so planning and commitment is key this week! Our Strength routines are anywhere from 4 to about 17-20 minutes. You may have to cut your run a little short to get in your strength and that is ok! Let’s commit to consistent in our strength training AFTER our runs this week and see how different we feel!

How to Run Faster Based on Your Runner Archetype

Got an email from Jason Fitzgerald talking about the different types of runners and how our “type” affects how we train and the results we get.

The training strategy should be different for each type of runner. It makes sense that our needs are different so we should be training. Trying to put ourselves into a specific category, one that is wrong for us and who we are as a runner, could mean we aren’t seeing the results we want. Frustrating because we think we are doing everything right…then BAM injury, setbacks, or a crappy race happens and makes us wonder…what am I doing wrong?

Maybe you’re doing everything right…for someone else…

Let’s talk about these different runner “types” and see if we can find out what is best for us.

Which type of runner are you? 

The Often Injured Runner

Every few days, Jason gets a variation of this question:

“I can get to about 2 miles and then my knee starts to hurt. Should I keep trying to train for the half marathon?”

With any substantial injury, you can’t focus on injury treatment while trying to train for a race. To train well we must be healthy! The goals and approach for a healthy runner and an injured runner are very different so it’s much more effective to focus on one thing at a time.

This is why…

  • Runners focus on weight loss before we focus on training
  • We should always focus on treatment before training

This thought was explained well by performance coach Brad Stulberg:

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If you find yourself chronically injured, injury prevention must be a priority if you hope to get off the never ending injury merry-go-round.

Three of the most effective strategies for staying healthy include:

  • A 10-minute series of dynamic warm up exercises before you start running
  • Slowing down your easy runs (easy should feel easy: controlled, comfortable, and conversational)
  • A 10-20 minute sequence of runner-specific strength exercises after each run

Building athleticism, increasing strength, and reducing some stress before you start a specific training plan for a goal you want to achieve are the most effective ways to stay healthy!

The High-Achieving Runner

This is the runner that we ALL aspire to be. Healthy, running strong with no niggles or pains, and well informed about how to train effectively.

For the high-achieving runner, despite everything going well, are not entirely sure what to do next. How can you keep progressing? What more can this runner do to improve?

If you want your race times to improve, the first step is to improve your training.

You’re probably in this category if you find yourself:

  • Running well but without many Personal Bests
  • Race times have stagnated
  • You think you’re doing everything “right” but your results aren’t budging

These runners need to take the next step. Two of the most effective strategies include running higher mileage and adding some weight to your strength training.

Higher mileage is arguably the best way to improve. The benefits of high mileage are undeniable:

  • Denser mitochondria, the “energy factories” of muscle cells
  • Stronger muscles and more resilience to injuries
  • Higher capacity for work (the ultimate runner’s dream)

When you can run a lot, running faster gets a lot easier. But before you go out and increase your mileage, remember that you MUST increase slowly and safely and you MUST keep your easy runs EASY! If you increase too quickly and run too fast you WILL fall into the injured runner category very quickly. Everything takes time…don’t rush this step!

Adding weight to your strength routine is another great option for high-achieving runners who want to figure out how to run faster. The benefits include:

  • More strength, power, and global athleticism
  • Improved running economy (so you can go faster at the same effort)
  • Better ability to sprint and kick hard at the end of a race
  • Injury prevention

Since most runners don’t lift heavier weights there’s a lot of potential for improvement. If you want to start lifting heavier, start and build slowly. You can start by adding additional weight to the bodyweight exercises you already do. Do not let added weight cause your form to suffer. If you feel like you are sacrificing form, back off the weight or the repetitions and make sure you are doing it right first!

The Lost Runner

No, this doesn’t mean you go out for a run and get lost…the lost runner is the runner that struggles with consistency. They sit down on Sunday night wondering what they’re going to run this upcoming week.

Many runners are in this position. They’re just not sure if they’re doing the right thing. They ask questions like:

  • “I just want to be more consistent. How do I keep improving?”
  • “I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing… I hate wondering what to do!”
  • “I’ve been at 2:10 in the half marathon forever. I don’t think I’ll ever go sub-2:00.”

If you’re finding tons of conflicting information, there is hope! You may need a coach, you may need a plan written down so you know in advance what you are doing each week. You can find a plan online that suits you or you can contact me and let’s talk!

Jason recommend a three-step approach for the “lost runner”:

  1. Read a running book. It doesn’t matter too much which book it is, but choose one that explains the training process.
  2. Be patient! Learning something new and developing competence takes time (often years).
  3. Find support: a coach, running partner, training group, or online community of other runners like you.

Immersing yourself in our sport is one of the most fun ways of learning more about running. You’ll also improve faster!

Strategies to Increase Your Speed 

Just like there is a hierarchy of injury prevention (see our injury prevention and treatment programs page to find out more about the most common running injuries), there’s also a hierarchy of speed development:

  • Develop fitness and strength to run consistently and build your ability to run even more
  • Learn more about running. Knowledge is a competitive advantage!
  • Focus on injury prevention to stay healthy and build momentum
  • Add weight to your strength training to improve strength and resiliency
  • Run higher overall weekly mileage
  • Run longer, faster or more frequent workouts once you have a solid distance base

Depending on where your running is at right now, you have ideas and strategies to keep progressing. Instead of implementing all of these suggestions at once, choose one and get comfortable with it first. After a few weeks, you’ll be ready to start incorporating more of these strategies.

Week 4 Strength

When it comes down to it…CONSISTENCY is still the most important aspect of our training regiment. If you haven’t mastered consistency with your strength training, please don’t try to add more milage or additional weight to your routine. Before you add miles or weight, you have to be consistent with the basics! This week’s basics are below! Have you written down your plan for the week? Do you know when you will get in each of the following workouts? If not, today is the day! Pull out your calendar, write down each of the workouts below and make a plan for when you will get them done!

Don’t forget this weeks challenge – commit to doing 3 strength routines from the list below AFTER 3 separate runs.

COMMIT. Commit to thinking differently about strength training. Commit to investing in yourself and your running. Commit to doing the work. Commit to a growth mindset.

Speed Work: Fartleks

Fartleks can be done is many different forms but the basic premise is speed play. Playing with different paces is a great way to ease into going a little faster and enjoying that rush of adrenaline that comes from increasing our heart rate and seeing the pavement fly by under our feet. This week’s workout changes depending on the distance you are training for. It also has different intervals and length depending on your current level of fitness.

If you are a beginner with speed work, training for a 5K and still working on building your mileage you don’t want to jump into an 8 mile run. I also don’t want to scare you away from speed work by giving you a big daunting workout. Instead, start with a mile warm up and go for 8 rounds of 1 minute hard effort and 1 minute easy effort. That’s 16 minutes total of going fast then going easy. Follow up with a mile cool down. This is a simple yet effective and hopefully less scary workout and one every runner can do!

If you are training for a longer distance, you really should be able to do longer speed work. The key is to go into it on the easier side and build up as you get through the workout. Finishing the workout should be the #1 goal. If you go out too fast, you won’t be able to finish…instead ease in with a pace that is a bit more comfortable, get faster as you go and finish the whole workout!

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Plan & Commit


  1. Plan out your week
  2. Commit to your strength routines with 3 immediately after a run
  3. Think about yourself as a runner. Are you the injured runner, the high-achieving yet stuck in one place runner or the lost runner? How you can use your weaknesses to overcome some of your setbacks or current lack of forward progress?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends but don’t let overindulgence steer you off course. Enjoy your big holiday meals keeping your portions in check and plan a workout for Friday to work it all off!

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