I have a routine…When not in marathon training season, I run approximately 5 days weekly. This is enough to maintain my marathon base. What’s more, Mondays and Fridays are always strength training days. It’s truly hard to fit it all in, yet every piece is critical to my enhanced running improvement, health, and overall fitness.

What struck me most at the gym today was seeing the same people, doing the same thing that I routinely observe in their gym routine. I too sometimes fall into this rut. But, it’s not a good practice to do the same routine day after day. To build endurance, pump up metabolism, achieve overall strength and agility for injury prevention, and for developing lean muscle mass and bone density, variety in your workout is essential.

Happily, there are several ways you can change your routine for maximum results, and certainly they don’t always require equipment! Through mixing up your routine, varying the intensity, adding strength training, and including caliSthenics, your gains will improve more rapidly and will sustain over time.

Don’t MISS the rule of “fours” to keep you in top condition, healthy, lean, and motivated!

  1. MIX UP YOUR ROUTINE: Many avid runners fall victim to completing the same tempo run, day after day. Cross training, hopping on the elliptical, riding a bike, or even just mixing up your running plan to incorporate speed workouts is essential for improvement. Our bodies are masters at adapting, and that’s why those weights get easier with time. A change of routine will ensure you continue to reap the physiological benefits and will allow you to build endurance without hitting a plateau.
  2. INTENSITY: When not challenged, particularly from doing the same daily exercise, the body no longer works as hard. This means your caloric burn is decreased and improvement is unrealized. Simply translated, increasing intensity can be as simple as throwing in a few hills into your morning run or completing interval training on the bike instead of a steady speed. The extra intensity required allows you to maximize your workout with no burnout.
  3. STRENGTH training is underestimated and can be intimating to many. But, when you incorporate strength training into your weekly routine, your mitochondrial density increases, which in turn increases your metabolic drive. Exercise specialists at your local gym can provide a complimentary introduction to their weight machines, which are targeted at your goals. Adding weight resistance into your routine once or twice weekly builds bone density, firms up tough areas, and revs up your fat burning machine for long-term calorie burn. It’s worth the investment of time..and a gym membership!
  4. CALISTHENTICS…Alternatively, you don’t even need to step foot in a gym to strength train, nor do you need weights. Your body is sufficient to provide resistance for building strength. One of my favorite websites, which profiles the world’s LARGEST interactive list of over 200 Calinsthentics is found at Man vs. Weight. With complete videos, you can target upper or lower body at beginner intermediate, or advanced levels. You don’t even need to step foot in a gym to strength train, nor do you need weights. Your body is sufficient to provide resistance for building strength through these awesome calisthenic moves!