We know that building and maintaining strong muscles is important, especially when it comes to supporting a running lifestyle. However, I have struggled in the past to incorporate strength building exercises into my routine. I would do some strength training one day and then I would forget which exercises I had done. Sometimes I would neglect certain muscle groups and overwork others. If I had a
busy week, I would sometimes neglect to do strength training at all. Then I would get overwhelmed because I didn’t know which exercises to do.
Even though I’ve watched great instructional videos with exercises for runners, and I’ve saved them with the best of intentions to watch later as I do my strength work, I don’t watch them when it’s time to strength train. The same is true for books. I own some helpful books that describe strength building exercises, but I don’t refer to them when it’s time to work out. Watching a video or opening a book are not complicated actions, but they involve an added step, and to my mind that added step presents an obstacle. I need something simpler.
Since I have had success following printed running training plans, I decided to try a similar approach for strength training. I created a simple cheat sheet to list the exercises that I wanted to do with spaces to mark the days that I do them. That way, I can easily see how often I work each muscle group. To avoid printing a new page each week, I covered a page with a self-adhesive laminating sheet that I can mark with dry erase markers.
So far, using the cheat sheet is working well. I don’t need to remember a routine or refer to anything else. I can simply look at the sheet, do the exercises, and record my progress. Many of the exercises I chose are ones from the videos I’ve watched and the books that I’ve read, with a few others that were suggested to me during physical therapy. I will adjust the list over time to fit my progress.
Are you looking for a simple method to tackle your strength work? If so, you may want to try using a cheat sheet. You can create your own or download the Why She Runs Strength Training Cheat Sheet below and customize it with the exercises you want to include. I wish you much success with your strength training.