Hi friends! Throwing down another FITNESS post. You guys may remember when I ran my first half marathon, I posted my training schedule and well, this time around is no different. I wanted to keep you guys in the loop on what I'm doing and who knows, maybe you want to do it too.

After injuring my knee, I took more than year off from running. I started spending my workouts in the gym lifting weights. I was quickly impressed by my progress, my strength and how it transformed and toned my body. So when I signed up from my second half marathon, I knew that going into this training I wanted to lift as much as I could during the week. But every half marathon training plan I came across only had weight lifting once a week which was less than I was wanting.

Since I couldn't find any plan that fit into my goals, I decided to just create one that would. Here is what my week looks like training for my half all while weight lifting 3x a week. 

I have two rest days, two run days, and three lifting days. I also have two days where I can add in swimming since that's been a goal of mine. 

I realize that not everyone is looking to lift weights that often during the week, because training for a half can be plenty, but for me this is a good mix. If I was more concerned with my finishing time then I'd be more likely to sacrifice weight lifting but I'm happy to just beat my previous running time.

Why should I weight train as a runner?

  • Prevents injuries. Strengthening the muscles in your legs help prevent injuries. 
  • Increase speed. A strong core can improve posture. Why's that important? An upright stance will help you easily pick up speed. 
  • You can run longer. When distance runners added in squats to their strength workouts, they could run 21% longer, report Self magazine. Toned thighs are just a bonus.
  • You will gain strength without bulk.

Need more reasons?

  • Burns more fat & calories. You may burn a few hundred calories during a cardio workout on the treadmill or elliptical but it won't reshape how your body looks. Weight training is more effective for weight loss and burns more calories than cardio exercise.

    Studies show that you get better results from three 20-minute strength circuits a week than you can from 60 minutes of cardio five days a week, reports Self magazine.

    Not only do you increase your lean muscle by weight training but you increase your resting metabolism. This allows you to burn more calories all day long.
  • Fires up your self-esteem. No wonder guys who lift strut around showing off their muscles, says Women's Health magazine. The physical benefits of weight training appear within weeks of starting a program. You'll notice that your shape is toned and tighter, that fires up your confidence! Read their article 6 Reasons Women Should Strength Train.
  • Improves Mood and Fights Depression. Endorphin boost included! Yoga isn't the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise, says Women's Health magazine. Researchers found that people who weight lifted three times a week for six months significantly improved their anger and overall mood.

    A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of weight training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did.
  • Quality of sleep. Strength training greatly improves sleep quality. It aides in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up less often during the night. Read 8 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights.
  • Gives you a healthier heart. Weight training reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

    Lifting weights can improve your cardiovascular health in several ways. It can lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and increase HDL "good" cholesterol. It can also lower your blood pressure.

    In addition, weight training improves the body's way of processing sugar and reduces the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for men and women. Research, according to Sports Medicine, indicates that weight training improves glucose utilization in the body by 23% in only four months.
Will lifting weights make me look manly or "bulky"?

No. And let me say that again: no. Researchers found that women don't gain size from weight training the way men do. This is due to the different ratios of testosterone hormone each gender has. For women, strength training allows them to develop muscle tone and definition.

Read Jessie Hilgenberg's 6 Reasons Women Should Lift that includes her beginner full-body workout.

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