A balancing act: Why runners shouldn’t just run

It was 6:15am on a Friday morning, May 31st to be exact. I met my friend and fellow runner Kara for a sweat date at Crush Camp. It had been months since my last class so I was a bit nervous. Why was I nervous? I had been to many classes in the past, and had always felt confident and comfortable. I reminded myself that I was coming off a new personal best half-marathon time just the weekend before, so why would I be nervous and unprepared? Well, it was because I knew, that for the last several months all I did was RUN. And run 5-6 days a week I did. No weight training, no circuit training, JUST RUN. Sure, all that running led to faster times and my running did improve, but that 6:15am class, on that Friday, was certainly a wake up call. I was out of breath doing simple movements, a 10lbs dumbbell felt more like 50. I left that class feeling out of shape and my “fitness ego” had taken a small hit. I soon realized there was something I could learn from all of this.


Runners always think, “I just need to run... a ton! That is how I will get better and that’s all there is to it.” While that may hold true for some, I no longer believe that is the best or the healthiest way to get faster, stronger, and better. You need to be a well-balanced athlete, with a well-balanced routine, if you will. I decided that morning, after that class, that on June 1st (luckily happened to be the next day), I was going to start on the path of becoming a well-rounded athlete, and in turn, a more well-balanced runner.

Getting back to the gym, and incorporating classes like Crush Camp would help me inject strength (both upper and lower body), speed, and mobility back into my weekly routine. In addition to working muscles I don’t normally work, all of these classes will also aid in injury prevention. Something VERY relevant to athletes, particularly runners, because we are constantly pounding the pavement in the same repetitive motion. Some runners may think that increasing strength, flexibility, and mobility might decrease their performance. I do not believe this. And yes, tons of upper body mass may not be as useful while running, however there definitely needs to be a comprehensive full-body strength in place to help build a complete athlete. Strength = Power = Speed.

So on June 1st I decided it was time to change up my #sweatlife game, and I’m glad I did. It is now mid-July, I tapered back the miles and I have been going to the gym and various Crush Camp classes consistently. My personal favourites, especially for runners, would be their Glute Lab, Core, and Circuit Training classes. I also recently experienced my very first spin and yoga classes...shocking right?! I already feel like a more complete athlete with a higher sense of confidence and swagger that I caught myself lacking a month ago. I am ready to tackle the rest of the summer’s challenges. Next up is my very first SeaWheeze half marathon, and I cannot wait to bring this new level athlete to the start line.

Sure, I am still “The Runner”, but in order to be the best me...I need to train to be MORE than just “The Runner!”.

See you in class,
Jeff Shikaze.

Ready to start running? Join us for the wolfpack run club Thursdays at 6pm!