Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why I'll be using kettlebells during Marathon Training

What's the best thing to do on a rainy day? SHOP! Since yesterday was one of the grossest days of the year, I decided to do errands and housework that would normally take up my time on a beautiful sunny day. While I was at Target, a unicorn moment happened: they suddenly had an extensive kettlebell selection! Say whaaaaat? Mr. Miller and I have been searching and researching which ones to get. Let's be honest, they're not cheap anywhere. Even if you find a deal, shipping is still a lot because they're WEIGHTS! They're HEAVY! So when I saw these Reebok beauties sitting all lonely on the Target shelf, I had to snatch them up. Get it? Kettlebell snatch? Oh, you will. Soon. Very soon.

I purchased three lovely KBs (That's how I'll often refer to them). The reason I wanted to get them was because all trainers tell me is that KB's are the best strength training you can do as a runner. During my UXF class with Stephanie, we did circuits with high intensity and high reps in short periods of time. A lot of the circuits included KBs. I loved them. During further discussion about the benefits of KBs for runners with our trainer, he detailed how they benefit us as endurance athletes:

- There is a lot of squats in the moves with KBs which strengthen the major parts of our legs that we use as runners (Glutes, hamstrings, knees etc).
- There is major core work in balance and execution of moves using KBs. 
- It is a cardio workout; your heart rate rises like running without the pounding impact.
- Your hips are strengthened in KB moves, a major area of weakness for runners.
- KB workouts work your whole body; machines isolate sections which is far less effective.

If that wasn't enough, my awesome friend Emily gave me further encouragement to take the plunge into using Kettlebells. If you want to know what she's like, check out her post "Why Being a Beast is a Good Thing." She encourages me so much with her fitness!!! When I asked her if getting KBs was a good move for me as a runner, she emphatically answered YES! She told me about a few people she's trained recently who were runners and saw PR's after going through her boot camp, which relies heavily on KBs in the workouts! KBs helped her lose her baby weight, and look at the CUTIE of a kiddo! Em, I wish we lived closer. We're a fitness match made in sweat.

PR's? Working my weak hips and legs? Cardio? Count me in Kettlebells! I'm excited to start using these in my regular workouts, especially since they are in my home. No excuses. They're effective even if I do 15 minutes a day. Everyone has 15 minutes a day. I will be doing a baseline circuit, hopefully tomorrow, and recording my results and progress every month. 

I'm glad I took the UXF class. I HIGHLY recommend in the Astoria New York Sports Club with Ethan Baum. He kicked my butt twice a week and taught me so much about KBs. I feel safe using them at home because my form has been monitored and corrected. Truthfully,  KBs work came naturally to me, and I'm glad it did. 

I don't recommend buying them and using them without an experienced KB user teaching you first. Like any weights, there's a right way and a wrong way to use them. 

Want to know more about Kettlebells for runners? Check out this article from Runners World about trading runs for strength training. This is NOT what I'm doing, but it lists the benefits of KB use. Also, check out this article from Endurance Magazine about the superior benefits of kettlebells for runners.

What is your strength training like? Do you use kettlebells? Are you a dumbbell kind of strengthener? Is strength training nonexistent for you like it was for me? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

105 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!! 
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