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January 10, 2012

Remember how I set a New Year’s goal to start and stick to a strength training plan?

Yeah. We’re almost two weeks into the New Year, and I realized today that hadn’t happened. Like, at all.

In fact, it occurred to me today that I hadn’t legitimately lifted weights in well over a week.

I find that I’m running up against the same problem I had the last time I was training for a race: once you hit a certain point in a half marathon training plan, you have very little time to do anything other than run (unless you want to be working out for over an hour and a half a day. Which I don’t, thankyouverymuch).

Fitting in a solid strength session (more than fifteen minutes at least!) is harder than it sounds, or at least it seems harder. But today, after reading Gina’s reminder to get my ass in gear and start strength training again (and then re-reading her Weights 101 post), I took a minute to write down a plan and finally got back into the swing of things.

Let me break it down for you:

  • I’m making a new goal to fit in two 30-minute strength sessions each week until my race in March.
  • When I’m not training, I usually do antagonistic strength workouts (working opposing muscle groups) at least three times a week. Since I don’t have the time to fit these workouts in during my training, I’m going to switch my strength routines from antagonistic to full body circuit workouts. They’re quicker, efficient, and I seem to enjoy them more (less room for boredom, I guess?)
  • After the race, I’m planning on starting a legit strength program. Right now I’m leaning towards The New Rules of Lifting for Women; I’ve heard great things about it, I love that it’s a no-brainer plan to follow, and I think I can stick with it and see results. I also want to start lifting heavier weights and really push myself. Tina wrote a great, informative post about being a woman and seeing results from lifting heavy; I want to see what I’m capable of, and I’m excited to see real results!

So, going with this new plan, I headed into the gym with the following workout written on a post-it. I keep it classy:

Full Body Circuit (Arms, Legs, Abs, and Back)

Adapted from Gina’s plan

Choose 1-2 exercises per body part. Do three sets of 12-15 reps per exercise (or to fatigue).


  • incline bicep curls*
  • tricep pull downs*
  • tricep dips*


  • plie squats (holding weighted medicine ball)*
  • donkey kicks*
  • Bosu ball squats (holding weighted medicine ball)*
  • static lunges with dumbbells*
  • stability ball curl*


  • ultimate toe touches*
  • reverse crunch*
  • weighted crunch (on incline bench)
  • planks and side planks*


  • bent over fly
  • upright cable row*
  • chest press*

(The exercises with the * are ones I completed today. From here on out, I’ll probably only choose 2-3 exercises per body part, but I was feeling good today and wanted to see how far I can push it).

The routine took me about 35 minutes to complete (I also did 15 minutes on the stair climber before the workout and 20 minutes on the elliptical after), and I felt challenged and fatigued by the end (just how I like it!) I’ll throw in another strength session after my run on Thursday and try to maintain this pattern from now until March. I’ll track my progress on here, hoping that it keeps me on point and honest with myself!

Do you guys have any tips for sticking with a strength routine?

It’s something that I know I should do: it’s great for staying lean, it burns a ton of calories, and it actually prevents injuries if you do it correctly, but I always, always slack in this area. Shoot me some ideas!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 7:55 pm

    sounds like a great new plan!

  2. January 10, 2012 9:59 pm

    Think about it like this…if you don’t have muscles, what will hold up your skin when you’re old?

    That’s what got me into weights.

    My biceps still hurt from Monday’s class…oh wait…it’s only Tuesday. Oh well, they hurt. Sticking with a strength routine? Does your gym offer strength training classes? I’ve found that they are very helpful and it’s nice to be with other women (and men) who are grunting right along with you. You can do this! You don’t want skin hanging off your bones! It’s gross!

    • January 11, 2012 5:45 pm

      And you just provided me with the best motivation ever. Well done.

      My gym is one of those $10/month deals, so no classes. I’m thinking maybe a weights DVD? Or definitely that NRLFW plan!

  3. January 13, 2012 5:11 pm

    Strengthening your muscles will make you a better runner! I’ve had a strength training program for some time now, but I’ve always neglected legs and glutes in the past, focusing on my upper body. Last year I committed to lifting legs and I’ve def noticed a difference in my running and even my skiing!

  4. January 14, 2012 11:51 pm

    I like this plan! I’m not training for a specific race right now, but have found that I’m always more motivated to go home and run with my dog instead of heading to the gym for a weights workout. I like a two day a week plan…it’s a good ease into the new routine. PS: I have a giveaway going on that I think you’ll be in to!

    • January 15, 2012 8:25 am

      What’s really funny is that, after a weights workout, I’m glad I did it! It’s just getting myself started that seems to be tricky.

      Thanks for the heads up about the giveaway, Sarah! I’ll check it out right now!


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