My Virtual Gym

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Are you one of those runners that just run? So many runners really only love running. I want to be strong the rest of my life, though, and as you get older, it can be an uphill battle.

Strength training is so important. Sure, it helps your metabolism and it carves sexy muscle, but it’s so much more than skin deep. It can be the different between staying independent as we age — or not. Like anything — strength, balance, mental sharpness — use it or lose it!

Although I have been a gym member and loved that, most of my life has been spent exercising at home. It’s convenient. Today it’s also so easy!

Pahla B Fitness
I’ve mentioned Pahla (click here for her Website) time and time again. Because she’s a runner. Because she’s fun. Because even though she’s younger than me, she is aimed at older women. How we work out as we get older, like so many things in life, needs to change. Pahla explains why.

The Peloton App
Even though I’m not super in love with the strength training via the Peloton App (I tell you why in my review here), I enjoy the bootcamps. There are lots of bloggers in our linkups that do love the strength training in the Peloton App, too!

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Barre Inspired Workouts can lengthen & tone you | Photo by Ea Ehn on Pexels.com

The Movement
The movement is not your typical strength training — and that’s part of why I love it. Erin is super uplifting and encouraging, and the creator of my beloved Soul Strolls. Her strength workouts tend to be more Barre-inspired (think lighter weights, more reps) so it may not be your thing. There is so much more to the Movement than ST and I highly recommend this app too! Find it here (and you can start with a free 1 day trial).

Marcia’s Healthy & Coach Debbie Runs
We have our own secret weapons in the linkup! Marcia’s YouTube workouts (find them here) are mostly short but they ain’t easy. Coach Debbie Runs has lots of workouts for runners on her blog, too. Find them here.

Of course there’s also my YouTube Channel. Not so much strength training — although some Yoga, done right, will absolutely strengthen your muscles. I know that bodyweight exercises can be super effective, but I also feel that there is just so many benefits to adding in some weights. Guess what? I’m working on a Yoga with Weights video. So keep your eye out for that on my YouTube channel here within the next few weeks.

What are your online resources for strength training? 

Have you found something new you love due to the Pandemic?

What’s your favorite fitness activity after running? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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5 Ways I keep My IT Band Happy

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ITBS: Illiotibial Band Syndrome. Stress fracture might be one of the most feared runner injuries, but ITBS is right up there with stress fractures. It can linger a long, long time and opinions on how to treat and/or cure it vary widely.

I have struggled with it, and the truth is, while it’s been rather quiet recently, you never quite know when it will raise its ugly head.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share five ways I keep my IT Band happy. I think there might actually be a part II post at some point.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, a physical therapist, or a coach of any sort. Use your best judgement when trying my suggestions.

Strength Training
While knee pain is never fun, when it attacks, you really have to look at the big picture: is running your only form of exercise? Do you work on strength training? How about mobility, balance, and flexibility?

Many common runner injuries are due to imbalances in the body and/or overtraining. So it’s really easy to fall into the trap of only working on your problem areas — because they hurt and it’s kind of hard to ignore them!

But the body is all connected: muscles to tendons to ligaments to bones, or the proverbial the thighbone is connected to the . . . you get the idea. Working on strength training will not only help you be functional in your life, it can help make you a better runner, too.

And you already know that I’m working out with Killer Bs right now (read about it in this post).

Prehab/Dynamic Stretching
I totally get it: we’re all busy and seriously, who has time to stretch or warmup? Especially when it’s hot as Hades outside?

Wouldn’t you rather prehab than rehab, though? Rehab often means no or limited running.

One way I try to keep my IT happy is by throwing in exercises geared towards it as part of my dynamic warmup. A few of my favorites:

  • Hip Hikes
  • Step Ups
  • Iron Cross
  • One Leg Squats
  • Lunges (front, back, side)

Many of the above are covered in Strength Running’s ITB Rehab routine here.

Also read Kim @ Kookyrunner’s blog post “My Physical Therapy Routine” here for more exercises I include frequently.

Usually I pick a couple of exercises and include them in my warmup, using different ones each time.

Foam Rolling
People will tell you that foam rolling hurts. And it may — initially. Eventually, though, it should feel like a form of self massage. It doesn’t have to be done immediately following a run, although I find if I wait it’s less likely to happen.

I have read varying opinions about whether or not foam rolling is good for the IT Band. I’m going with it feels good and it doesn’t seem to be hurting me.

Taping
I will never forget the first half I ran with taped knees: Heartbreak Hill Half. Other than the cramps at the end (a sudden heatwave), I had never felt so good after a half. I was sold.

I started out using KT Tape Pro, but eventually switched to Rocktape (Amazon affiliate link), as I found it adhered better — although even Rocktape can come off during a hot, humid run (hello, Best Damn Race New Orleans!).

I would love to get to the place where I don’t have to tape my knees. I don’t tape for every run or every race. But if you’ve ever dealt with IT Band issues, you know how scary it can be. Taping gives me peace of mind.

Protein Post Run
Not being a scientist or a medical professional, and knowing that the IT Band is not really muscle, I’m not so sure that getting in protein post run really makes a difference here. But . . . I very much doubt it could hurt and we all know it’s important to get in some protein post run, right?

Actually, I did come across several posts saying that staying well hydrate — before, during, and after a run, could help with recovery — posts specifically aimed at dealing with ITBS.

And if you have been living under a rock somewhere, according to this post from Runner’s World, getting in protein post run has these benefits:

Protein repairs exercise-induced muscle damage, reduces the response from the stress hormone cortisol and even helps speed glycogen replacement

On a slight tangent, what about your beloved chocolate milk (not for me — chocolate shake, sure, chocolate milk doesn’t do it for me). I happened to find an interesting post on Runner’s Connect (read it here) that shows that a protein shake will do your body more good than chocolate milk — chocolate milk tends to have a lot more sugar than protein shakes (although that can vary widely) and is missing some of the amino acids that are important to recovery.

You are your own best doctor. I am not a doctor. And you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I am just sharing some of the things that have helped me.

So let me know in the comments:

Have you ever had IT Issues?

What helped you overcome it?

What are your thoughts on post run protein (and its role with ITBS prevention?

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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5 Reasons Runners Need Gyms

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Runners gonna run. Runners like to run. Runners often won’t do the things that will keep them running. You know: strength training, cross training, balance work, foam rolling, etc. And sometimes runners pay the consequences.

If you belong to a gym, it’s far easier to make sure you’re not a one trick pony — the payoff might even be better running. This post is a do as I say, not as I do post — I don’t presently belong to a gym. But I have, in the past, multiple times — and who knows? Maybe I will again in the future.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share reasons why it’s a good thing to get into the gym.

Variety
Yoga. Weights. Machines. Pools. Pilates. Zumba. You name it, and a lot of gyms have it. You can certainly get variety at home, but a good gym will offer you way more than you will ever be able to squeeze into your basement gym.

Access to Personal Trainers
All gyms have personal trainers, although all personal trainers are not created alike. Maybe some day I’ll do a post on what to look for in a personal trainer, but for now you can read this post from the Huffington Post here.

I have, in fact, worked out with a personal trainer, and I highly recommend it. It’s much like working with a running coach (and lucky you if they’re also your personal trainer) — they will push you harder than you push yourself, you won’t have to think about your workouts, and they will encourage and motivate you every step of the way.

Fitness Testing
Are you skinny fat? Are you flexible? Are you recovering well from cardio workouts? Many gyms offer body fat and wellness testing. It’s nice to see your progress as your bodyfat drops or your heart rate recovers quicker from workouts.

For Fun
Don’t roll your eyes at me! Gym classes can be addictive. You get to know the people and it gets to be a social outing. Classes like Zumba, even if you have two left feet, are a ton of fun and great cross training.

Anything is more fun when you do it with other people, so I suggest if you do join a gym, check out those classes. Yes, you’ll probably be anxious at first. Give it a few tries and try a few classes — everyone enjoys different things.

One day you’ll find yourself the old pro welcoming the newbies.

Stay on the Cutting Edge
A good gym (and a good instructor or personal trainer) is on top of the trends, the newest equipment, the newest workouts,  and is periodically introducing them to you, the gym members.

So let me know in the comments:

Do you belong to a gym?

What’s your favorite gym class?

What surprised you most about joining a gym?