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Outdoor Strength

With the weather getting warmer (and gyms being closed!) now is the perfect time to head outdoors and do some strength work! My approach is to keep it simple--focus on a few key exercises, stack them close together, and repeat (and repeat). I'll try to add some fresh new ideas each week! 

Strength Training for Hills

This workout is all about getting your body ready for the hills--that includes strong and powerful legs for climbing, and resilient legs that can take the beating on the downhill.  

There are 4 parts to this workout.  

1) squats-great for lower body strength AND range of motion; option to make it more challenging with weights

2) reverse lunge + step up combo (this is courtesy of David Roche)-you want to feel the burn here

3) jumps-get your legs used to the impact of downhill; option to upgrade your jump to include some additional power

4) dynamic planks -to engage and stabilize your core

Workout can be combined with an easy run or immediately following the run.  Aim to complete the set once, twice a week. 

Wk of April 20--8 Minute Speed Legs (and More)

For this week, I'm referring to one of my favourite trail running authors--David Roche. I have used many of his workouts in the past. Why reinvent the wheel? A few points worth noting:

  • If you are new to strength work, and/or if you have history of knee injury/or are dealing with any type of injury, skip this and refer instead to my workout below (The Fundamentals). Or consult with a doctor/physio/chiro

  • Weights are optional and should only be used if you are familiar with the exercise; your body weight may be adequate

  • Form is key; don't rush thru the workout; it's fine if it takes longer than 8min

  • Read more about this workout

Why not make it a full body workout? You can do this by adding:

  • Mountain Climber Plank (or plank of choice)-Get in plank position with arms extended. Keeping shoulders and hips even, bring right knee to right elbow; bring leg back to starting position. Repeat with left side

  • Push ups: on knees, with arms extended, or tempo-style (up for 1-2 count, up in 1 count)

  • Russian twist: Sit on the floor and bring your legs out straight. Lean back slightly so your torso and legs form a V-like shape, bracing your abdominal wall to engage your core. Balancing here, twist your torso from side to side without moving your legs. Less challenging: keep feet on floor. More challenging: hold weight in hands

  • Arm dips: Grip front edges of a chair or bench with your hands. Hover your butt just off and in front, feet flat and legs bent so thighs are parallel to floor. Straighten your arms for the starting position. Lower your body toward the floor until arms form 90-degree angles. Engage your triceps to press back up. More challenging: straighten or elevate your legs

Wk of April 6--The Fundamentals 


  • Always begin with some type of warm up

  • Always maintain proper form

  • Work your way to 3 sets of each exercise

  • Most of the exercises can be modified to make it easier or harder; please contact me if you have questions

With many of you running a bit more than usual given the circumstances, I thought that this was a good time to go over some of the fundamentals when it comes to keeping a runner's body healthy and preventing injuries. This video by no means covers all the elements, but it is a good starting point! 

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