Sheila from Sass and Sweat asked: " I want to do my half in April and am trying to figure out which training program to use. I also want to do strength training but am completely clueless about it. Can you help?"
Of course I can help! I outlined my running training plan here, but for strength training, it can be a little trickier. Gyms are intimidating, especially that weight section where all the sweaty guys are. I know your instinct is to steer clear, but you HAVE to break into that to get what you want. Don't worry- they are all to busy looking at themselves to pay attention to you.
Where to begin: Selecting the right amount of weight.
This can be tricky, because if you aren't lifting heavy enough, you are sorta wasting your time. But you don't want to hurt yourself either. My trainer taught me a great way to figure out what your magic number is.
1. Pick your exercise. I use different weights to work different muscles. My biceps are stronger than my shoulders, so I lift heavier on my biceps, and back it down a little on my shoulders. For biceps, I always test with Bicep Curls. They are easy to do and are a good barometer for this test.
2. Do 15 curls. If it starts to get hard at around 8, that is a good weight for you. If you can make it to 15 with no problem, go up. It's a good idea to do this test every month or so to make sure you are not lifting too light.
Like I said for arms, I use different weights for biceps, triceps and shoulders. Good beginner exercises to google are bicep curls, hammer curls, shoulder presses, swimmer's presses, tricep extensions and tricep dips. I also do push ups because they matter. :D
For legs, I would start with squats and lunges without weight. But if you are looking to add a little more, I recommend picking hand weights and holding them at your side while squatting and lunging. Or holding a medicine ball or kettle bell in front of you, between your legs or out, while you squat/lunge. For these, do the same test. 15 reps, if it's too easy, go up.
Another easy move to start with for your core and legs is wall sits. Yes, they suck. But they are amazing. You lean against a wall, like you are sitting in a chair, thighs parallel to the ground. Go a minute. If it gets too easy, put a weight on your lap. Wanna add in arms? Hold a weight out parallel with your legs. One minute. You will sure as heck feel that burn.
This is a good place to start when lifting weights. The internet is amazing and has tons of videos of how to do certain exercises, as well as workouts put together for you. Try new things. If you think you are doing something wrong, ASK someone. Yes, one of those sweaty guys will do. My experience is they are perfectly nice and will be more than happy to help you.
Do you have any questions you want answered? Email me (by clicking on the envelope in the top left hand side of the page) or comment here with your question and I will give you an answer! This would be a fun little segmenty thing I think :D