Rachel, a nurse at Mayo Clinic, shares her journey of incorporating strength training into her routine after experiencing shin splints and back pain from running.
I started running back in April at the suggestion of my doctor after a neck injury and I found I really loved it. At my best, I was able to run 3 days a week for 3 miles per day. I pushed a bit too hard, though, and ended up with shin splints and had to stop running during the summer. That was my first wake-up call to start doing some strength training, but I had never enjoyed strength training, so I didn't start. But then, in early September, an old lower back injury started to flare up. I was having back spasms and I was very uncomfortable. I decided I was going to start strength training because I knew from research and my own education as a nurse that it would be the best help for me.
Later in September, I joined the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center (DAHLC) having no idea where to start, how to start, how to figure out "form" or anything like that. I didn't want to injure myself from improper technique, so I joined Strength Club hoping to get some help.
When I joined the DAHLC, I had no idea they had classes, so I was thrilled to try them! I admit, I was intimidated that first day I walked into the gym but that all went away quickly. I told the instructor I was new to lifting weights and had no idea what to do. They were so patient with me and gave me the time and instruction I needed to learn and improve my form when lifting. An example is when I learned the squat exercise. I had poor form and was leaning forward too much. The instructor for that day, Anthony, had me stand with plate weights under my heels to help my posture. I continued that for a few sessions and then was finally able to do a squat correctly without the plates; a small accomplishment but it made me very happy!
I try to go to the DAHLC three times a week and usually I'm able to keep up with that by switching the days as needed to fit with my work schedule -- I work straight overnights. Since adding consistent strength training to my routine, my back pain disappeared almost overnight! The spasms stopped after one session and the overall pain/soreness was gone in a week! I've returned to running a few days a week, but I am focusing on building my strength right now to help prevent injury.
Not only did I get help from excellent staff, I found that I really enjoy lifting! The other members who routinely attend are so kind and welcoming, it made for an excellent experience overall and now I look forward to going to Strength Club every week!
If you’re interested in cross training for running or other sports, or just wanting to start some healthy habits talk to the DAHLC staff. They will have the information you need to get started. You're sure to find a class that interests you so your workout can be healthy and fun! Their dedication along with the peer support from other members who help cheer each other on inspires me to keep going and keep pushing myself to get stronger and stay motivated.
The future for me is positive. I feel more confident in myself. I feel stronger and I have more energy and I sleep better at night. I'm looking forward to continuing to build strength and improving my running. I hope to run a full marathon and thanks to the DAHLC and their amazing staff, I truly believe I can get there one day!