Spring Training Series: Alex’s Take on Strength Training & Recovery
Alex’s Take on Strength Training & Recovery
As an Underground coach, Alex leads her athletes through intense, full-body workouts targeting and strengthening major muscle groups. Her big grin reveals that she’s in her happy place doing what she loves—helping others become stronger versions of themselves. As an endurance runner herself, she knows that incorporating strength training helps athletes reach peak performance on race day. Include Underground classes in your race-training program to help ward off injuries, challenge different muscle fibers, and take your performance to the next level. (Read more about the benefits of strength training).
How does strength training at Ascend Underground help prepare athletes for a race?
Strength training allows you to challenge your body in different ways while preparing for a competition. It allows you to continue to maintain muscular strength, decrease the chances of plateauing in performance, and allows you to prevent injuries.
Are there certain muscle groups that runners or cyclists should focus on strengthening, to help avoid overuse injuries while training?
Core, glutes, and hamstrings! Runners and cyclists are often quad/hip flexor dominant. Often we neglect strengthening our glutes (especially our glute medius that supports our hips while running) and our hamstrings start to take the beating over longer duration workouts. This is why hamstring pulls are so predominant in running/cycling-based sports—the lack of strength and lack of resilience. The core (spine, abdomen, glutes, hamstrings, quads) is the basis of support for our body. If we cant hold ourselves properly and support ourselves in daily life then how can we expect our body to perform for us?
How do you refuel after a tough training session? Any favorite snacks/meals?
Chocolate milk! Or peanut butter protein balls. Finding something with the perfect 2:1 carb to protein ratio that my body can use to refuel and replenish my sugar levels. After about 30-45 min. I will eat an actual meal. Favorite snacks: I am a snacker... trailmix, dried mangos, pita chips and hummus, RASPBERRIES... maybe the occasional cookie (have to treat yourself every once in awhile). Healthy, but satisfying.
What does your recovery look like post-race? (Any recovery tips?)
The day after the race is extremely important. Most people just want to sit down and do nothing, but you have to do some kind of activity for at least 30 minutes; light bike ride, slow jog, or a walk. This gives your body a chance to get new blood flow and nutrients to your tired muscles and actually helps get rid of soreness faster. Stretching and foam rolling is also good to do as tolerated. After soreness starts to subside you can begin to increase your activity but usually you should take around a week to recover before training for your next event.
Blogpost written by Ascend content expert, Ashley Hart.