This season I knew I really needed to commit to strength training in order to reach my goals for the fall. I decided to sign up for a HIIT class specifically designed for runners. I thought it would be a good way to get the right strength training in and with it being HIIT it was sure to not be boring. After over 2 months of class, I wanted to share some of the things I love about it.
We’re all working hard together, regardless of fitness
Naturally my running group has to be broken into pace groups, but in my HIIT class we’re all at different ability levels. There are faster runners and slower runners, runners that do a lot of strength training and those of us that are just beginning to really work at it. What I love is that our style of class allows us all to use the weight we need or do moderations to achieve the same thing. Regardless of strength level or fitness, we’re all pushing ourselves at whatever level we’re at and kicking our butts. No one in the class is having an easier time than the other so no one feels inferior to one another.
I’m getting to strengthen the right muscles
I run a lot so my mover muscles are strong. My stabilizers? Not so much. Those are harder to work and general classes I’ve been to tend to focus on the larger mover muscles that I already have plenty of strength in. I can feel such a difference in my glute activation while running and my stability has greatly improved.
I don’t have to plan anything
I have no problem coming up with my own training schedule, but when it comes to strength training there are so many different moves and combinations that can be done. Trying to balance out which moves to do when is more than I want to think about when I’m focusing on a race. I show up to class and am told/shown what to do.
It keeps me consistent
For most of my half marathon training schedule I did strength work at home. That was fine, but when things get busy and when the later weeks of harder training show up it’s so easy to sleep in and skip strength training. The class I’m doing is a series class which means I paid upfront for all of the classes. It’s hard for me to justify skipping something for which I’ve already paid and because it’s fun in a torturous way, I don’t want to miss out! We are able to make up missed classes during other class times. Unfortunately those times don’t work with my work schedule, but it makes me feel less guilty when I miss out for races or travel (my class is on Sunday).
Though it’s a group class, our instructor is great about walking around and giving one-on-one attention. One of my biggest hang ups about strength training is that if I’m not doing it correctly than I’m not getting the true benefits of the exercise and may even be risking injury. Our instructor is always willing to make sure it’s being done correctly or give moderations.
I’ve mentioned this twice now, but when it comes to strength training everyone has areas in which they struggle. For me, it’s with my shoulders. Shoulders fatigue easily, but mine seem to fatigue even faster. Our instructor is able to give us different ways to do the exercises to still work the muscle if we need it. This is something that I can’t get at home or at the gym (unless I’m working with a personal training).
It basically breaks down to be $10 a class which I think is a steal.
I’ve been seeing progress week after week. We don’t do the same moves every week, but we may do a variation or bring the move back after a few weeks. I’ve been using heavier weights on some moves or actually being able to do moves I couldn’t do weeks ago. Being able to see this progress in my strength really boosts my confidence and helps me understand how this weekly work is positively impacting my running
A way to get my heart rate up without running
The push-and-recover style of HIIT is a nice way to get in some strong cardio work to compliment my harder workouts without having to run. It’s giving me the cardio benefits of intervals without the injury risk of doing a second day of speed work. While I do it on a running day, when I drop my mileage down a bit for half marathon training in the spring it can simply be a cross-training day.
When it comes down to it, all of us runners need some strength training. Strength training can be simple and doesn’t have to take hours. I would encourage any runner to try out some different methods of strength training and find the one they enjoy the most and feel they could stick to through an entire training cycle. I would love to do this class 2x a week if it worked with my schedule, but I know 1x a week is still better than nothing!