You’ve probably (maybe?) noticed that I haven’t posted a strength training update for the last few months. Let me explain what has happened on the fitness front for the past few months.
The first week of March, during a particularly long and strenuous workout session, I hurt my knee. I had run 3 miles, done a lower body strength workout, and then gone to yoga. Normally, the yoga class is more relaxing than strenuous (although it’s not easy!), but there was a sub there who had an extremely challenging class planned for us.
Basically, all of this activity was just too much on my knees. I also think the catalyst was probably that even with all the work I’ve done to help correct my squat form, my mobility/flexibility issues prevent me from executing perfect squats, which increases the pressure on my knees, especially my left one, as I also tend to squat slightly to my left instead of center.
Squats are just not my friend. So for the next two weeks or so, I did minimal lower body strength training. A week before I had also signed up for a 5k to keep me motivated running on the treadmill during the brutal winter. Luckily, after taking several days off to rest and ice my knee, I found that I could run with no pain.
Although getting injured sucks, it also caused me to take a step back and realize that I was simply doing too much. Even with at least one rest day a week, I would often feel pretty exhausted and sore by the end of the week, and to be honest, I just wasn’t enjoying strength training four times a week. I generally prefer dance, running (albeit outside, not on a treadmill), yoga, and group fitness classes to solo strength training, and was finding that my workouts felt more like a chore than something I wanted to do.
Over the next few weeks, I started running outside more and loving it. The combination of running, listening to music, and being in the fresh air is just magical. After spending a few more weeks trying to increase my strength training back to four times a week, I realized that I would be much happier only doing it twice a week. Yes, I believe that strength training is EXTREMELY important, perhaps the most important activity women can do for their long-term health and fitness, so I will never cut it out of my routine. I also like to maintain a certain level of strength to keep my body healthy and to maintain (if not build) my muscle mass. I’ve even started to enjoy my strength workouts again now that they happen less often.
That being said, I’m now running 3-4 times a week with the goal of increasing my mileage each week in preparation for race training over the summer (If I only run 3, I take Body Attack as well), strength training twice a week, dancing once a week, and taking one yoga class a week (although I would like to increase to two if possible, because yoga is the BEST compliment to running).
This new schedule has been making me much happier, and really, if working out doesn’t make you happier in some way, it’s not worth it. I’ve always struggled with finding the balance between what I feel I should be doing for some reason (i.e. lots of strength training, or working out for at least an hour each day) and what I want to be doing (i.e. running however much I feel like it).
Basically, find what you LIKE to do and do it! It’s always a good idea to do try new activities and to try to incorporate some strength, cardio, and flexibility training into your routine, but there are so many ways to do this. Find what works for you, what makes you feel good, and what you’ll stick with and don’t feel guilty about that!