A Strong and Speedy Summer

This summer I'm planning on focusing on getting stronger and training for shorter distance.  For the past few years, I've been training solely for longer races (10 milers, half marathons and full marathons), and have sprinkled in some shorter races as part of training.  I really miss running these shorter distances, so I decided to spend the summer working on my speed and getting stronger!

My first goal race is the Butler 5 Miler at the end of June.  I ran this race last year and really liked it, but ended up having a bad race.  It's about a month and a half away, which gives me the perfect amount of time to train.  I'm going to be loosely following Hal Higdon's 8k advanced plan
but replacing some of the runs with strength sessions.

My training will follow this schedule:

Monday  - 3 mile easy run with an arm workout
Tuesday - short speed workout (alternating 400 repeats and a tempo run)
Wednesday - no running, but a leg workout
Thursday - easy run (ranging from 3 to 6 miles)
Friday - no running, but yoga and core workout
Saturday - race pace workout, with either 2 or 3 miles at my goal pace (7:45) in between easy miles
Sunday  - long run (ranging from 4 to 8 miles) and light yoga

I've never really added any kind of weight lifting plan into my training, but since this is my strong and speedy summer, I wanted to switch things up.  I'm planning on doing strength training three times per week- one day for arms, one for legs and one for core. I'm also going to be adding in a day of yoga (just stretching and flexibility work) as well.  I made up my own plan by searching for the best exercises for runners, and here's what I came up with:

For the exercises, I do 3 sets of 10 reps.  Any exercises that are held (plank, wall sit, etc) I do 60 seconds.  I only use dumbbells, but most of these exercises can also be done with a bar.  Here are links to descriptions and pictures of all of the exercises:


I'm also thinking about adding in a 5k before the race, but haven't picked one out yet.  There are a few races that I'm considering:
-Rally for McNally is a fundraiser for a local scholarship.  I really don't know much about this race at all, so I don't know what to expect!
-Riverview 5k is my local race.  I grew up near the park and ran there all the time, so it's one of my favorites.  The course is pretty difficult, and it's a Friday evening race. (NOTE- I registered for this one!)
-Greenfield Glide is another race put on by the Pittsburgh Citiparks.  I've run on this course a lot when I lived in Squirrel Hill but have never done this race.
-Sewickley Unleashed is a smallish race near me.  I've never really been to that neighborhood, and the course is supposed to be flat and fast.  The race is on Saturday though, which might be too soon.

What is your goal for the summer?
Do you add strength training to your training plans?
What's your favorite arm/leg/core exercise?


  1. This was my exact goal last year and I ended up wining to AG awards! Not sure i'll be able to pull it off again this summer as i've really been lazy..lol.

    Good luck to you and have fun with the shorter distances.

  2. I know I need to cross-train, but I just haven't found something I like well enough to stick with. I start marathon training (#2) in mid-June so the Pure Barre classes are keeping me busy till then. Decided to not even try running until that day and just start at Day 1 with the Marathoning for Mortals plan (run/walk). Hoping that all the arm and leg work I'm getting with barre will help me with the running. :)

    1. I'm sure it'll help a lot! I know of a few people that use barre as their cross training and it works really well. Good luck :)

  3. My boyfriend is a personal friend of Mike McNally (whom the Rally is for), and is also an OLSH alum in the same graduating class. How interesting that you are considering that race!

    Summer is such a great time to work on shorter distances - there is an abundance of them and heat isn't as much of a deterrent. I hope you have fun and meet all of your race goals!

  4. This is the best resource I've found for diagrams and explanations for each exercise and I love how you made it so the site opens up in a new window instead of me having to click back all the time. I do a few strength exercises out of this list, but not all of them. You're going to get so strong! You'll notice a difference after just a couple of weeks. Seriously. Might be a little sore at first though.

  5. I add strength training to all of my training plans...but have never quite managed to actually execute that part of my plan, lol. I've been improving slightly with each plan, so maybe someday. Good luck getting strong this summer!

    1. Same for me!! Here's hoping this year is better...

  6. I am planning to take a break from distance running this summer and need to figure out my strength training plan. When I PR'd in the half marathon by 9 minutes two years ago it was when I was regularly strength training!

    1. That's a good reminder to keep it up when I want to skip a workout :)

  7. LOOVE this. I need to get back to loving strength training... but I kind of just don't care about it for myself personally . Which is ironic, as I am a personal trainer

    1. I don't always love it but it helps SO much so I have to force myself!

  8. Great plan, Gretchen! I think planning in your strength training is a great idea to stay consistent with it. I'm doing the Sewickley 5K tomorrow. Sounds like you're leaning away from doing it, but maybe I'll see you there.

    1. Thanks Jenn! I decided not to do it, but definitely want to next year :)

  9. So many great moves! I need to get back into strength training. I stopped due to injury and health issues and have only been walking for monthsssss!


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