Pumping Some Iron

Or, as we like to say in The Burgh, “pumping some ‘arn’ ”  .

I know that strength training is an important part of any training plan, but it’s something that I have seriously neglected…ok, ok, completely ignored during all of my training cycles. Then, whenever I’m trying to chug up a hill or shuffling through the last few miles of a long run I always say “I am seriously going to start strength training. Tomorrow”. Then tomorrow comes and goes…and the next day, and the next, and….well, I think you get the idea.


I wish this was an exaggeration

I wish this was an exaggeration

This time, I really am going to make an effort to stick to a routine. Not only do I want to become stronger and a little faster, but I wouldn’t mind losing the “chicken wing” arms, and my pants fitting again would be nice.

I don’t belong to a gym, and have no desire to join one. Of the two that are a reasonable distance from my house, one is dirty and sketchy and not somewhere I’d like to spend extended periods of time; the second one I used to belong to, but I really didn’t like it. There were maybe 4 or 5 treadmills, a few weight machines and a teeny tiny free weight section that was always full. I’ll be honest, I was always really intimidated to go to the free weight section, especially if it was crowded; I had no idea what to do and was certain that all of the people there would be judging me (I know it’s stupid, but that’s what goes through a self conscious, not-so-lean person’s mind). To avoid all of the previously mentioned “issues”, I’ve been slowly but surely turning our basement into my own home gym – adding dumbbells, weight plates, and medicine balls to compliment the items we already have.

Having said all of that (if anyone is still reading), I’ve devised a plan that will help me ease into the world of pumping iron – something that will help me increase my strength without leaving me unable to walk for a week and that I can complete in my “home gym”.  Whew…no problem, right??  For now, in theory, my plan will be a total body workout 3-4 times per week. I’ll switch things up every few weeks to keep from getting bored.

Here’s what this week looks like:

3×12 of

  • Squats
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Overhead Walking Lunges (w/10lb weight plate)
  • Toe Touches
  • Arm Pullover*
  • Plank (30 sec.)
  • High Pulls*
  • Pushups (on my knees, because I’m a wimp)

*I do these moves on my Total Gym (yes, the Chuck Norris endorsed one. Don’t judge ’till you’ve tried it)


I’m pretty clueless about incorporating weightlifting into my marathon training, and tried to do as much research as I could but I know there is still a lot of room for improvement, and would love some input.  Is this enough? Too much?  What am I missing?

If you have any suggestions, recommendations, etc. I’m all ears!

What kind of strength training do you do? 



2 thoughts on “Pumping Some Iron

  1. Yeah, I don’t care for the gym either. I’m a 6’4″ man, and I use 5 or 10 lb dumbbells, which is considered big time wimp by the “real” men in the gym who eyeball me up and down as they bench press a gazillion pounds. So I do my routines at home, happily building lean muscle with my light weights. During marathon training, I did one full body workout per week, and one or sometimes two brief core workouts per week. I have no idea how that compares to other runners, but that’s what I did.

    Your routine looks good. Having just finished my first marathon, I would say you can never have too much core strength. Donkey kicks are good for the glutes and lower back. Side planks in addition to the regular ones help stabilize your body during the late/fatigued miles. Clam shells are good for hip mobility, and deceptively challenging for what appears to be such a simple move. This may vary from one runner to the next, but my hamstrings and quads are imbalanced, so I’m trying to learn how to target the hamstrings with extra love, not really making progress yet but its on my mind.

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