UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Grand Opening class for Barre Focus Fitness University City has been moved to Thursday, November 1 at 6:00PM.
Before January of this year, I hardly ever strength trained. I just wanted to run and not be bothered with anything else. But as I started to build my mileage up and run more marathons, I knew strength training was important but still couldn’t bring myself to consistently do it.
The more miles we run, the more we need to strengthen our bodies to support the added mileage. You can only avoid strength training for so long. Sooner or later, those twinges can turn into injuries.
Fearful that my many years of back-to-back training cycles and added mileage would sideline me, strength training was a must. My #1 criteria? It MUST accompany marathon training and not take anything away from it. I didn’t want my marathon training to suffer because of strength training. Running will always come first.
This immediately took CrossFit off the list. I’m highly skeptical that anyone can consistently do CrossFit and effectively train for a marathon. CrossFit is too intense and marathon training is too intense. You’re asking for burnout and injury.
I tried barre because it seemed to be a perfect fit. Highly effective yet low impact. No squatting, lunging, or weights (except for 2-3 lb hand weights). I was sore enough the next day to know it was effective but not too sore to get a training run in.
I equate barre to a ridiculously hard yoga class. It doesn’t send your heart rate through the roof but your muscles are definitely working. There are many times in class I need to rest for a few seconds so my legs can stop shaking.
I was lucky enough to find a great studio – Barre Focus Fitness – with amazing instructors. I only plug the things I’m truly passionate about on my blog and Barre Focus Fitness is one of them.
While I frequent their Haverford location, I’m excited that Barre Focus Fitness is branching out into Philly! If you live in the Philly area and want to try barre or are looking for something new join them for a free grand opening class on Halloween!
Do you strength train? Like barre? How about CrossFit (am I opening a can of worms with this one…I’m personally sick of hearing about it)?!
I try to incorporate strength training 2-3 days a week but whenever I’m busy it’s the first thing to go. I’m not much of a class person so I usually just do my own thing. Glad to hear you’ve found something that works with running and not against it.
Oh my gosh, it’s in University City too?! I’m at Penn – I would LOVE to try out barre!! Unfortunately I have a chemistry midterm on Halloween… I’ll have to check them out some other time!
Barre Focus Fitness University City has free classes the first week so if you can’t check it out on Halloween, come by the studio another day! http://www.barreuniversitycity.com!
SO SO sick of hearing about Crossfit!
BodyPump and some circuit training for me 🙂
I completely agree, you HAVE to strength train to get to the next level. Free weights for me, ~2x per week for one hour. I’ve never run a marathon, but I did 17 miles in just under 2 hours last week (with hills) and I attribute that major lunge, squats & core training with weights.
Crossfit talk just makes my eyes glaze over. I don’t strength train, but I do lift a toddler pretty often? That’s a workout in some world.
I’ll admit. I’m a newly addicted CrossFit addict. And I’ve lost 2 lbs in 6 weeks without changing my diet. And my post-pregnant abs are now back to their pre-pregnant state (maybe better?!). As I get older I’ve realized how important doing stuff other than JUST running is for my body. And I think Barre is another good one, too.
For those CrossFit diss-ers… Do it for two weeks. You’ll get it. ; )
I like that reasoning about Crossfit — I’ve wanted to try it out, but haven’t had time with running and when I was injured, I didn’t want to try it and potentially aggravate my injury. I’d still be interested in trying it as I think I’d like it with much of it similar to gymnastics conditioning. However, I do really like your reasoning about barre + running being good compliments of one another. I’ve done a few barre classes and liked them!
gm @ gmruns says
I definitely suggest at least trying CrossFit. It’s addicting and an awesome workout but when you have goals that include high mileage, all of it coupled together can be a bit much. I am in the middle of training for my 2nd marathon (in 8 weeks) and I have a goal time I want. Because of that I chose to put crossfit on the back burner the time being. But I am also a CrossFit coach so I am still a big advocate for it!
Man I need to get back to strength training, I used to be so good with it, but 50 miler training took over my life. I do feel that last year after ultra training switching to triathlon training was a good break for my running muscles and wakeup call for some other muscles, if that makes sense. I haven’t tried Barre but I want to, mainly bc you recommend it so highly! Crossfit = mark all as read, or laughing my ass off like a 7th grade boy at someone “lifting a heavy snatch at their box” or whatever.
Cait the Arty Runnerchick says
omg, can i do a CHEER for ur stance on Cross-fit!! haha…i’ve done my own little rant on it and yea, i got some hate comments, but i stand by my thoughts! 🙂 and if u get any flack i’ve got ur back, girl….hehe.
i’m so glad u’re doing the strength training now, i don’t look forward to it, but i kno it’s super important. 🙂
I go to Gold’s gym and they offer Les Mills classes. I have done Body Pump in the past and have really enjoyed it and truly think it made a huge difference for the better. I do find it difficult, however, to keep up with my cross training once the mid-week runs get longer. I have just started taking a core conditioning class called CX WORX and a yoga type class called Body Flow. I am really enjoying those too, but I am not training for a race now. Your Barre class looks interesting. I can’t wait to hear more about it. Oh, and, Cross Fit completely intimidates me.
gm @ gmruns says
you’re completely right about CrossFit and marathon training. I am in love with CrossFit but I love running more. When I first started training for my marathon (back in July) I thought I could do it all and quickly realized if I had a goal time for my marathon I needed to drop CrossFit. The intensity coupled with the high mileage is just wayyyy too much!
Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen says
I agree – I think it’s really important to do some form of strength training to strengthen your muscles and prevent injury….but I really don’t enjoy it either 🙂 And I’m totally skeptical of CrossFit for a lot of reasons too. WIsh I could make the free class, haven’t tried barre classes yet, but I think I’d like it!
I’ve done one barre class and it was pretty good – definitely made me aware of how weak certain parts of my body are! I just wish the classes weren’t so expensive or else I’d consider doing more of them! For now, I strength train via hand weights, core stuff and yoga. it works!
I hate cross fit with a burning passion.
Crossfit? *rolls eyes*
I totally need to do some strength training!! Barre sounds like a great one!!! I do absolutely nothing outside of running which is über bad!!