It’s true: there’s strength in numbers. In my case this summer, that means physical strength. As I begin to ramp up my mileage coming back from a foot injury, I’ve added three days of strength work into my weekly training, along with the addition of one person– a training partner.
Those three days and that one person are helping me build the strength my body needs in order to stay healthy and able to carry me through my weekly miles. The decision to add three days is a number based on where I’m at in my mileage build, which is still only about half of what I was running before I got injured. While my mileage is relatively low, I’m taking the opportunity to tax my body with this this additional strength work. Once my mileage is back up, I’ll back off and my strength routine will be more about maintenance.
The decision to add three days of strength work to my training was a fairly technical one to make. But choosing to add one person into my training was about knowing myself and the limits of my knowledge and ability to assess myself as I’m progressing through a workout.
I respond well to routine and to working towards goals with other people. This likely comes from my background playing elite-level hockey through to my twenties where practices were scheduled at consistent times and I would go about working hard with my teammates to bring out the best in one another.
Knowing myself in this way is one of the factors that came into consideration when asking my partner, Candace, to join me in a strength training. I enjoy working hard with her because she’s a consistent, knowledgeable, strong and caring person. She’s also a former NCAA Division I basketball player and four-time WWCFL champion, so she knows what it takes to compete at an elite level. In addition to that she has a Ph.D in kinesiology, so she knows what she’s talking about.
I trust Candace, which was the key factor when asking her to train with me this summer. I trust she wants me to succeed and I trust she has the expertise to help me do so. I know my way around a gym, but not the way she does. She understands where my weaknesses are and knows what exercises are most suitable. Furthermore, she knows how to break down exercises and explain them to ensure I’m using proper technique. As a visual I-need-to-see-it-to-get-it learner, she has the ability to demonstrate an exercise for me by slowly going through the movements herself. I often need to see sequences several times before understanding what to do, which makes patience important.
I have experience doing strength work on my own, with a group, and one-on-one. I find the latter to be most effective. Having the attention of someone who knows what to look for and who is insistent on getting it right is invaluable. I trust Candace to be honest with me in her assessments and I trust her knowledge in guiding me. I also trust she expects my best from me: something I also expect of myself.