We have all heard the argument. We have all seen the meme: “Running vs Lifting”. It’s usually accompanied with a picture of a pale, skinny and exhausted long distance runner in one corner, with a bronzed, chiselled and statuesque Adonis (no, not me) in the other.
It takes great delight in tearing apart the sport runners love while glorifying an activity that probably too few of us do.
It portrays runners as weak, feeble and ignorant of just how damaging running is (even though research shows that running can be a great treatment for arthritis). And it assumes that runners and lifters are two separate species.
That because we run, we don’t lift.
And, I am afraid to admit that used to be the case for me. I had spent so long on a calorie restricted diet and only doing cardio that I worried that doing resistance training would require more food and result in more weight gain. Furthermore, the gym wasn’t a place I wanted to be. Full of athletic, strong and attractive people who would look at my rather plump backside and run me out of the place. So I went outside and ran. And I quickly realised that I enjoyed it and that my weight loss continued.
Sure, I did the odd class of Pilates and Yoga to improve my core and increase my flexibility, but lift weights? Nah!
However, as I researched the events of Glasgow 2014, for Team14, I came across an advertisement for the weightlifting and my primal urge to lift something heavy took over and I decided that I’d be a jerk if I did not at least find out more. So I turned to Scott Devenney, of SD Movement, who had coached me back from my recent running injury and who had studied under John Hardy of Faster Function.
I turned up expecting to snatch up some barbells and power my way though some lifts. However, Scott had different ideas. Before unleashing me on heavy weights, he wanted to assess my technique and pulled out his IPad!
Scott identified that both the bar and my knees were too far forward, which would impede me when lifting heavy loads and that I leaned too much to the right (so had to resist a pun). So, we didn’t hang around to correct my technique…Well, actually we did. I have t-shirt muscles. My biceps are developed, but my shoulders are weak, so I needed to toughen up. I needed to hang tough.
After hanging around and pulling myself up, without using my arms, for a bit, I worked on uncoupling my back. I focused on moving my upper, middle and lower back in isolation, which was harder than I thought and before long, I felt ready to have another attempt at passing the bar test.
With homework (hanging in swing parks), I will continue to strengthen my shoulders and improve my range of motion. Maybe then, Scott will let me actually try some Commonwealth weightlifting . Until then, I will just need to take some inspiration from watching the stars at Glasgow 2014. Tickets for the weightlifting are available from glasgow2014
After this session, I have decided not to make a choice between running and lifting.
Why can’t I do both of them? I’ll become a try athlete and continue to sample and enjoy all sports and become stronger and faster.
And for all of the runners that cross train, what enables you to show a clean pair of heels in your races?