Runners Beware Part 2: Tips to Tweak your Fitness

After writing my last blog, “Runners Beware“, I hopped on a plane to New York with my FitFluential peeps, responding to everyone’s comments and feedback via phone and ipad on the go. With over 1,000 facebook likes and 20,000 views, it’s obviously a hot topic. As I sit in my hotel room this morning, with a great view of the new World Trade center buildings, I finally have a chance to squeeze in a follow-up post.

Luckily, most people who read the blog received the “bad news” pretty well. It’s never fun finding out you’ve been investing a lot of time and energy into something that may not give you the result you thought. I’m not implying that running is not beneficial (I RUN and LOVE it!), BUUUUT being fit (and looking fit) is more than going for a jog every day.

Why are more and more people running?
My answer: Because they can. As people get fit with the help of gyms, trainers, workout DVDs, etc they get fit enough to run – plain and simple. Before someone gets in shape, running is rarely an option or even appealing. However, as someone gets fit and discovers they are now ABLE to run, it becomes a natural response.  Unfortunately, people often drop their gym memberships, or programs, for running – but running is just one facet of being fit.

Our body is not one dimensional. Another words, I can’t just do shoulder presses everyday and call my whole body fit, so what makes us think we can run our little legs around and get a full body benefit? You just can’t expect ice cube abs and tone arms (unless you are genetically gifted) with running alone.

As I explained in another blog, Sprint Your Butt in to Shape, running (jogging), primarily trains slow twitch muscle fibers. Difference muscle fibers have different purposes, as well as a different appearance. This is why it’s so important to cross train. Running can help you burn calories and exercise your cardiovascular system, but to truly be fit on all levels, you should challenge the entire body – which is easier than you think.

Here are a few ways to tweak your fitness and physique:

2 Key Leg Exercises for Runners
If you have access to leg machines, you can offset leg muscles that may be over-developed from running, and maintain the integrity of the knee joint, with Leg Extensions and Leg Curls.

Do 3 – 4 sets of 15-18 repetitions twice a week.
Don’t forget to stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings!
(Related topic: A Simple Fix for Knee Pain)

Change Up Your Run
#1 Hit some hills
#2 Add short burst of sprints
#3 Run stairs

Keep Your Body Limber
Do Pilates or yoga to keep your muscles stretched out, relaxed and flexible.

Simple Full Body Workout for Home:
#1 Thrusters (squat & press)
Great full body exercise works your legs, butt, and shoulders while strengthening your core.
#2 Over Head Walking Lunges
Tone your shoulders while strengthening your quadriceps and glutes. (MY FAV BUTT EXERCISE!!)
#3 Push Ups
Fantastic exercise to strengthen your upper body, as well as your core (low back and abs).
#4 Planks
This exercise tones your arms and strengthens (and tightens) your mid-section, which can help prevent common back injuries.
#5 Pull Ups – Strengthens the upper back, biceps and triceps, and can can be modified for women (see my video tips)

Do the above exercises in circuit fashion (going from one exercise to the next, with little to no rest, repeating the entire circuit 3-5 times) for conditioning OR perform the exercises in a traditional weight training format of 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps to concentrate primarily on muscle development.

Have a Question? Have a request for a blog topic? Shoot your thoughts and questions below! I’d love your feedback! 🙂

PS: Don’t forget to subscribe to get more tips!  

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on December 18, 2011, in Exercise & Training, PFIT TIPS, Running and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. @RunningJoeInJax

    I do squats, leg extensions, straight-leg deadlifts, and standing leg curls using a cable machine. Those work great for my quads and hamstrings, but I feel my muscles that support my lateral movement are very weak. What would you recommend for those muscles?

  2. Abduction and adduction are the primary movements that would cause you to engage the muscles necessary for more lateral movement – however, frontal plain movements will also recruit abductors and adductors without adding width (which many people don’t want). 🙂

  1. Pingback: Are You an Awkward Runner? 3 Tips to Improve Form « pFIT blog

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