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Training Strategies For Runners

Ever seen a house built on sand?

I bet you can guess what happens! So whether we are speaking of life or running or anything for that matter, we all know it is wise to establish a strong, stable foundation. Yet, some pay the high price for skipping or skimming over this part, or half heartedly doing it.

That price typically results in injury. Sometimes a very serious one or those that accumulate over the years due to lack of maintenance. If we have a house for years, there will be some fixing up, attention, and care needed in order for it to remain sturdy.

So why do we passively ignore this?

One reason is we live in a society where we want what we want NOW!.. And however the easiest we can get it. I’d recommend RESPECTING THE DISTANCE…especially if you are doing anything 50 miles and up… it is a PROCESS… and this can also be applicable to those just starting out and going for a 5k. Before you start feeling too guilty, remember to give yourself grace and during this process focus on PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. Quality over Quantity!

I can give you a million reasons why one should incorporate strength training, drills, or physical therapy exercises into their programming… but here are just a few:

  • Lean muscle mass diminishes with age and YOU WILL INCREASE YOUR PERCENTAGE OF BODY FAT…if you don’t strength train. Therefore, strength training increases lean muscle mass. YUP, there you go, trying to lose weight? Consider a holistic approach that includes strength training too!!!

  • Increases bone density. Whether you are a runner or not, you will have stronger bones and longevity to whatever sport or walking you do!

  • Reduces the risk of chronic disease by improving insulin sensitivity

  • Reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (large waist circumference, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar) that raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

  • Reduces pms symptoms

  • Lowers inflammation. Especially heart disease and cancer prone peeps.

  • Improves cognitive function and reduces anxiety and depression. Plus you look damn good 😉

  • It can even increase your anaerobic and aerobic cardiovascular fitness. Try a circuit, higher intensity program to accomplish this.


  • Specific corrective exercises for your individual biomechanics can help you regain balance (we are talking both throughout the gait cycle as well as overall body imbalances)--> some of us that do strength work, can still find ourselves with some injuries, those are typically due to these personal imbalances you have (they can be from an accident, how you were born, etc)

  • Improve mobility where you didn’t even realize you were lacking it!

  • And because running can hurt enough as it is, it will help you eliminate pain!

Stability allows one to build up and grow off of right? You wouldn’t add an addition on top of the house that was built on the sand and wasn’t really stable yet… would you?! So why add extra miles on top of extra miles while training… UNLESS your body is completely injury free, you’ve been consistent with strength work ANDDDDDDDD your nutrition is also relatively harmonious. Then that house is safe to add on too.

There are various aspects to go into a solid foundation. So you have a house built on the sand. It has 5 pillars. 4 on the corners and one in the middle. In running/training, those 5 pillars represent:

  1. Quality Cardiovascular training- (Not just running! Consider cardio cross training too!)

  2. Quality Strength Training- (Not just heavy lifting, lighter/higher reps, plyos, intrinsic exercises)

  3. Quality Nutrition- ( Not just race day! Every day to get the most of your body, but ultimately feel good!)

  4. Quality Mobility-( Not just for race day! Every day, to increase toxin release, rebuild muscles/ligaments/tendons, and most importantly move without causing an injury!)

  5. Quality Mentality. ( Not just race day tough, everyday workout tough for consistency too!)

But Michele… this seems overwhelming which is why I tend to skim over somethings..

Notice I put Quality in front of everything… Again, if it’s a half hearted effort, it will be half of the benefit, so if you are taking the time to do it, then do it well!

(Did you know if you intentionally focus on the muscles you are actually trying to strengthen (instead of just going through the motions- like squats) it’s a 12% increase in benefits?!!)

That is where structure comes into play! Do you need the max amount of every aspect every day… NO!

But how do you know what you need on what days?

1. My recommendation is to do a personalized plan first (one like RR offers a gait analysis, corrective exercises, strength training, extensive nutrition planning, cardio, mobility, mentality ALL of your pillars to get you started off right!

2. Then go into a semi personalized - which caters to your needs but reduces the amount of communication because you’ve learned in the personalized program what is needed!

3. And finally if your schedule is pretty set, a Standard program works great for maintenance, execution for those knowledgeable, or a good taste of what could be)

  1. Personalized click

  2. Semi-Personalized click

  3. Standard click click

If investing in some type of coaching program is out of the question…

Example structure:

Beginner: Run/walk Intervals 2x a week, 1-2 days off, 1 day tempo, 2-3 days strength work, 1 day mobility, focus on consistency with training first, then after a few weeks tackle nutrition. Every day one can work on strengthening their confidence by journaling, and this is also super beneficial if you are trying to create your own structured plan or when working with a coach for the best feedback possible.

And yes! I would absolutely recommend making strength a priority and sometimes even have my clients just focus on that aspect for a month before ever even running a step!

Download 8 Beginner Tips for Runners!!!

  • 1. head out to the Rugged Running Home Page

  • 2. Scroll down to the bottom and click the pic "8 Beginner Tips.."

What about those who know all of this and are more advanced?

If you’ve nailed down your foundation and are ready to build up and grow, then my suggestions are to do so slowly! Give yourself some grace, remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION, and when your energy and time management start getting stretched too thin ( and remember, it may not be a time thing, it may be more of an energy thing!)... take an extra day off.

On that note, don’t get too lazy and try not to take more than 3 days off in a row! This is when good habits start breaking and we find ourselves back to square one.

Finally always remember:

It is much easier to maintain a certain level of health and fitness than to totally drop off. I’ve never regretted a workout before, but I’ve certainly regretted not doing one. I’ve regretted eating that whole pan of brownies, yet never a salad….

So if you are venturing into running as a beginner, or already there and wanting to build up,




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