You Can Run AND Strength Train – Rise. Run. Retreat 2016

You can run AND strength train. Don’t believe me? Read on…

I’ll start with this – when Square World meets Real World, life becomes a little more complete. I mean it.


Sarah Canney [Run Far Girl] and Jesica D’Avanza [rUnladylike] put together a weekend of running, education and heart. And, I got to be part of it too! But, we will save that part for a little bit later.

Let’s talk details first:

Rise.Run.Retreat was founded on the idea that the connections made through running can be life-changing. With that in mind, this intimate retreat of women of all ages and running abilities creates the space to realize potential, form friendships, relax and learn.

Learn more about this weekend here !

It’s hard to call my time at the Retreat, work. It is much better described as sharing passion, in a cozy little home, overlooking the Green Mountains. See…


img_9568 img_9570

We had a great conversation about running and strength training [and, of course we played with Wreck Bags too]. If you know me at all, you know I advocate for balanced hybrid training. And, I [self] coach on the same principles too. You can’t just talk the talk. This wasn’t always the case, but cue one bad experience that resulted in NO running for weeks [okay, months] and early morning pool sessions and you start thinking about training structure a little more closely.



So what did we talk about? The muscles and miles debate of course.

We all know there is a common notion – you can run OR you can strength train. I like to believe we can replace OR with AND.

So how do we keep the strength training in place when the miles increase? First, it is essential to embrace it. That means you actually have to believe you can find a balance that works for you.

If you treat running as a skill, the goal is to get better. To get better, you must include certain components in your training plan. Strength is one of them. Now, when we talk about strength, let’s make one thing very clear – we are talking about training for performance NOT aesthetics.

Training for performance means that you will add exercises and a strength routine that complement running. So think of strength in terms of posture, stabilization, building overall strength and power. To run, you have to put out force and supply force to the ground quickly. Think about it – your foot is only in contact with the ground for a split second of time. This power is generated from our hips and balanced by a core that stabilizes our upper and lower body and glutes that are best used to propel us off the ground.

But, let’s think about this for a minute. In the scheme of things, these are smaller muscle groups. They require attention and intention. It’s that mind body connection – active engagement is essential. However, unless we tell our body to use these muscles [and, use them effectively], it probably won’t take a proactive approach. Remember this – we can be strong and weak at the same time.

To be the best runner you can be, you must train your body. Not necessarily running, but your body. You want your body to work with you. That means your hips, core and glutes too [your upper and lower body should work reciprocally].

So the question becomes, how do I fit this all in? [Yes, I know there are only 24 hours each day].

Start slow. Think quality versus quantity. If you can fit in a 15 minute routine, 1 to 3 times each week, than I call it a success [1 is more than zero right?]. And, when running scales back, think about adding a little bit more.

Have I convinced you to get started?

If so, visit Sarah’s post on Glute Activation Drills –

3 Glute Activation Drills to do Before Your Next Run

Or give this home workout a try:

Perform Each Exercise For 1 Minute

Need: 15 Minutes – 30 minutes

Perform Better Mini Band, Wreck Bag 25lb. [optional]

Warm Up: Lateral Band Walks, Monster Walks, Pike Walks [10 count]



WALKING LUNGES [forward & backwards]


CLIMBING PUSH UPS [offset push ups]






This is just a start. But, the first step is always to just start. If you want to know more, please email me: crystal@musclesandmiles. I would love to chat!

Finally, my invitation, warm welcome and whole-hearted thank you did not go unnoticed. I left inspired, excited about the connections running has brought me and with a whole lot of goodies too.


Thank you Sarah & Jess for hosting. And, thank you to the Retreat ladies for listening, asking questions and sharing the day with me. Let’s do it again soon!

Don’t forget to check out what Sarah and Jesica are up to.


7 Responses
  • Jesica @rUnladylike
    November 9, 2016

    I’m so glad you were able to join us for this special retreat. You added so much value to our conversation, and we absolutely loved having you! I’m excited to talk to you more about strength training after my baby comes in January. Strength training is the one thing I’ve been able to do pretty consistently still at 8 months preggo. Here’s to rebuilding a base and tackling a fall 2017 race! xoxo

    • Muscles & Miles
      November 11, 2016

      It was such a special event. And, you rock for continuing to keep fitness in the mix throughout all these months. Your strength base will be your foundation to the running world in 2017. It will be a warm hearted welcome for sure. Can’t wait to chat more. XO. -C

  • Jimmy
    December 6, 2016

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this
    article to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Muscles & Miles
      December 8, 2016

      Thanks for sharing with your roommate. In my mind, it’s all about training for performance. And, when we do that, running and strength training complement each other. -Crystal

  • corburt erilio
    December 30, 2016

    I got good info from your blog

  • taille-haie sur batterie
    January 29, 2017

    Enjoyed every bit of your post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

    • Muscles & Miles
      January 31, 2017

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this one. What a fun retreat.

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