Poppy Sports marathoner, Laura Romeo asks, “Is Personal Training Worth the Pain?”
As I train for the Marine Corps Marathon this year, I look back at previous races and consider what I could have done differently. Maybe I needed more interval runs, more hills, or longer miles on the weekend. However, the main component I lack in all my previous training has been strength conditioning. As a running fanatic, my workouts (and workout wear, for that matter) tend to heavily rely on just the running. I worry that if I do anything else, I won’t run as well. This is irrational, silly and inaccurate, but I can’t help it.
So, since this marathon is more expensive and requires travel, I figured I had better make it good. I paid for 50-minute sessions twice a week with a personal trainer. I started two weeks ago, and so far, besides being in a perpetual state of soreness, I love it.
Not that long ago, the thought of lifting a 40-pound barbell over my head would have never crossed my mind. Now, I’m forced to not only lift it over my head, but then rest it on my shoulders and do fifteen lunges per leg while keeping my back straight. And who knew I could use my triceps to lift a 20 pound dumbbell for 20 reps per arm? I thought those were my weakling muscles. And, as it turns out, my left leg is stronger than my right leg, which I never would have guessed since I am right-handed. It explains why my right leg tends to suffer more injuries. I may also need to add a pair of gloves to my workout clothes since the lifting is actually starting to give me calluses.
I’ve always believed that people are stronger than they think they are, but I never applied that rule to myself. That’s part of the joy of having a personal trainer who pushes you beyond what you think you can do. A typical workout has me grunting and cringing in pain, and not once will my trainer say, “Let’s not do this since (insert excuse).” Instead, when I look tired, she says, “Only a few more” or “You’re half-way there” or “You got this, come on lady!” She doesn’t let me give up. If I were working out alone, I would easily cut corners. There are no excuses with my personal trainer.
The big test comes when I will don my Oiselle running shorts, race day tank top and arm coolers and run for a solid 16, 18, and 20 miles in the coming weeks. Will the strength training really make a difference? Will I feel less tired at the end? Will I be able to run any faster? I’ll find out soon enough.
Back to my original question then: is personal training worth the pain? As of right now, my answer is, without a doubt, “YES.”