Hi friends! Popping in today with an awesome guest post for you all! It combines one of my loves (running) with a great way to stay in shape and injury free while doing it, barre. Maria from Healthy Tidbits is here to talk about her experience with these two forms of exercise and how they compliment each other when both done in moderation. Take it away, Maria!
Hi guys! My name is Maria and I write a little blog called Healthy Tidbits. I discuss all things health and fitness along with other tidbits from my life sprinkled in there. I’d love for you to check it out.
Besides my husband and my beautiful daughter, I have two other loves in my life. Running & Barre. Each of them hold their own challenges and special place in my heart, but the two of them together make something incredible.
How this love affair came to be
I started running sporadically in high school as a way to lose some weight. I didn’t take it more seriously until I had graduated from college and moved to Chicago. My (then) boyfriend had just been deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months and I was at a job that I dreaded. One day I came home after work, put on my running shoes and headed toward Lake Shore Drive. The rest, as they say, is history.
During my time living in Chicago, I always lived along the Chicago Marathon route. I could look outside my front window and see the runners pass me by. My mom and sister were in town during my first ever marathon experience and I said to them, “I am going to do that one day.” Every year I watched, I became more and more inspired. Finally, in 2011 with just two half marathons under my belt I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon but a brutal fall left me in the ER with instructions from the doctor not to run for a few months.
That’s when I found barre. The Bar Method seemed to be the most popular one at the time. After my first class, I couldn’t walk for days. Watching me climb up and down stairs became a comedy show for anyone lucky enough to see. It hurt. It left my body sore for days. But I kept going back for more. After just a few weeks my jeans fit better, my arms had definition, and I was toning up in places that I didn’t know I could. It was love at first shake.
With distance running came aches and pains. Being a new-ish runner, I thought these pains were all normal. I suffered from runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome) plantar fasciitis and other aches and pains. When I did return back to running, I noticed that these typical aches and pains no longer existed and I was running pain-free for the first time in a long time.
A few years later, we moved back to Milwaukee WI (my hometown) for better job opportunities. The closest barre studio was 60 miles away. I did DVDs from time to time but nothing came close to taking an actual class. In class there was accountability. At home, there was the stop button.
In 2013, just a few months after having our daughter I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I made it through my training and finished the marathon in 5:07:41. I was sore. My knee hurt again and I had a bad case of plantar fasciitis that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t cross-train enough. My “core-work”, if you want to call it that, consisted of some planks and a few crunches. One winter night I remember running out of our bedroom into the living where hubs was watching t.v. and I started jumping up and down, “There’s a barre studio opening in Milwaukee!” Finally.
I got back into barre immediately and attended as regularly as I could (3-4 times a week). I decided to run the 2014 Chicago Marathon. My weekly workouts rotated strictly between running and barre. I finished the marathon in 4:43:14 and I was able to walk the next day. I got through that training cycle with zero injuries and shaved off about 23 minutes from my previous marathon time.
Why Runners Should attend Barre
- If you’re a woman runner, our weak muscles tend to be mostly in our hips and our glutes. Barre classes focus on strengthening those areas, reducing the risk of injury to our knees and other areas.
- It targets the core, which keeps everything in line while you run.
- “If you want to perform at your full potential, you need to take a comprehensive approach to your running. That means targeting areas of fitness you may not normally pay attention to, like flexibility, balance, mobility and strength.” (source) Barre does all these things. The Barre Code even offers HIIT classes that help with cardio conditioning.
- It’s low impact. Because all that pavement pounding isn’t good for our bodies and sometimes they just need a break. Also, if you’re recovering from an injury, barre offers modifications for all the exercise. Just make sure to let the instructor know before class.
- It requires a lot of mental focus and dedication. Staying in a thigh segment while your legs are shaking requires a lot mental pep talk. As does running a marathon.
Question of the day: Have you ever tried barre? If so what’s your favorite barre move? I’m a huge fan of pretzel, either seated or at the barre 🙂
Thanks for reading!