Runner’s withdrawal, concurrent strength & endurance training
Since I started back up into a gym habit, I’ve been working out a lot. But I haven’t been running.
When I lived in the US, about 6 months before I moved to Italy, I ran a half-marathon. I grew up playing soccer and field hockey, so running around wasn’t something new, but running continuously, somewhere, was. I never thought I would run a half-marathon, and after the death of my grandmother in 2001, who was confined to a wheelchair after breaking her hip, I felt the need to reinforce and express my own health. Through running. I started running often and then I set a goal.
I picked the (1st ever!) San Francisco US Half Marathon in 2002. It was the first one that would cross the Golden Gate bridge, and I trained by myself with a schedule I had found on the internet. I loved my long runs, most of which I did at Sawyer Camp Trail in Hillsborough, CA and even the (Bay to Golden Gate) Bridge to Bridge, and shorter runs I would just step outside my door, and go. The San Francisco Bay Area is a beautiful place to run.
I didn’t know anyone else running that day. My mom and stepfather came up to cheer me on and carb-loaded with me the night before. I wore bib #45. And I finished in 2:06. Almost ten years later, I thought I made up that time, because it’s almost 30 seconds faster/mile than I was training at. But thanks to the Internet, I found proof:
This is me when it was all said and done – I couldn’t wait to eat Thai food after!
Now that I’m more in shape, I still haven’t started running as much as I used to. Partly because there’s not much running culture or year-round running weather in Italy (I even keep a list of running events in Italy updated), and I don’t want to be the freak on the street (people already stare a lot when I walk 200m to the gym in workout clothes), and partly because strength training can often put you at odds with running. One builds muscle fibers for endurance (marathons) and the other for short bursts of energy (weight lifting).
I’m not really convinced you can do both, well, so I would have to pick one or the other, and mix, but have a primary focus. (This study at Curtin University in Australia does a good job of summarizing the controversy of Concurrent Strength and Endurance Training)
But I miss the goal-oriented part of running, working towards something, and even picking out and traveling to races. And every healthy food blogger I read is running.
I don’t think the story ends here.
Do you strength train? Do you run? Do you do both? How do you prefer to exercise those muscle fibers? 🙂