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BeachBody & Running

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

I started running in 2009. I had recently turned 21 and was going out, staying up too late, and not fueling my body. I definitely didn’t even consider my eating and drinking as fueling. I would do a juice cleanse or shake cleanse and then eat and drink whatever I wanted. I had been struggling with body dysmorphia for years.

A friend asked me to run a race with her and I knew something had to change so I said yes. I had no idea how my world was about to change.

Beachbody and Running
First race I have pictures of! A color run 5k.

I ran a 10k with the Mermaid Series. It was amazing. As soon as I showed up at the start line, I was hooked, line and sinker. I loved the atmosphere, the community, and being with other women who all wanted to challenge themselves (I’m noticing this is a theme in my life❤️).

I loved the rush of adrenaline that I felt right before the start line. I loved the people standing along the course cheering. I loved the signs. I loved it all.

Despite loving it, I was completely unprepared. I hadn’t trained following a plan. I had no idea about pacing. I just did it. And it turned into a walk/run (wish I had known this was an actual thing you could do then!) I probably walked about half of the total 6.2 miles. But it didn’t stop the love I had for the community.

After the race, I kept running in 1-3 mile increments, but slowly I felt myself turning from someone who ran a 10k one time to a runner. I’ve read studies that say it takes anywhere from 2 months to 8 months to build a habit and 2 years for that habit to become part of your identity. That was true for me. Once I started thinking of myself as a runner, that had long reaching implications.

Those small miles, day after day, led me to many more races and thousands of more miles.

Beachbody and Running
My first postpartum race was the Giants Half. My daughter was 6 months old and I was training for the Chicago Marathon.

Postpartum Running

After another 6 years of running, 15+ half marathons and 2 full marathons, I had my first daughter. Somewhere in between being pregnant and having a baby and postpartum fog, I decided to run another marathon (maybe not the best decision, but I’ll leave that conversation for another day!) And I didn’t just want to run one to finish it—I knew I could do that. I wanted to run it the best I could. I wanted to run faster than I had previously, but I also wanted to FEEL GOOD. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to show my daughter what a badass her mama was. I wanted to remind myself that I could chase goals for myself. I needed to remind myself that my physical body was strong for ME, not just as a mom.

The answer to training in the way I wanted meant I needed to combine running, nutrition, recovery, and strength training.

I started working with a run coach. She gave my advice on and plans for running, nutrition, and recovery. But the strength portion was missing.

The personal trainer I was working with when I was pregnant and before pregnancy moved across the country. I tried going back to the gym the way I did before my daughter was born, but it just wasn’t the same. I would pick her up from daycare at 3:30, drive to the gym and get there around 4. I’d drop her off and workout for an hour. If I was lucky and didn’t get called to come get her. I remember I got called two times in two back to back weeks because the SAME boy had bitten her. I would rush through what workout I could squeeze in, feed her dinner on the way home because by the time I got home at 5:30, it was time to unpack and get ready to do it all again. I didn’t want that to be my life. I didn’t want to spend my entire afternoon rushing around to get a workout in.

Beachbody and Running

It was about this time I found at home workouts with Beachbody. Realizing how many workouts were available from my computer at home was awesome. I had dabbled in streaming workouts randomly before, but I never really committed or completed any. I just did some prenatal yoga DVDs from Target or free YouTube workouts from Tone It Up.

It was around that time I saw the results from some women doing a complete program and I decided to do it with them.

Beachbody and Running
80 Day Obsession results. Fastest half yet at 2:03 and in better shape than before I had a baby.

80 Day Obsession and Running

The first program I fully committed to doing with running was 80 Day Obsession. It was 80 days long with workouts 35-45 minutes long. Because I was running, I skipped the cardio day for my long run and added 2 additional 30 minute runs a week. It wasn’t perfect. Some days I didn’t get up early enough and could only squeeze in 25 minutes before I had to get ready for work. Or before my daughter woke up. But I showed up and did as much as I could. It’s not about perfection, it’s about showing up consistently—both in running and strength training.

And it changed everything. I had my run schedule from my coach and now I had my strength schedule. I knew what workout to do on what day. I knew the programs were designed the way they were for a reason and I trusted it. We focused on a different muscle group on different days. Some days I worked fast twitch muscles and some days I worked slow. Sometimes I practiced lifting heavier and heavier, and other times it was a lot of reps of light weights.

I got strong and I finished that marathon. And haven't stopped since.

I’ve become a Revo2lutuon Running and RRCA certified run coach. I’ve coached hundreds of women from those who want to Become A Runner and run for 30 minutes for the first time all the way to women chasing a Boston Qualifying marathon time.

Beachbody and Running
Post Rock and Roll Marathon this summer. 30+ minute personal best!

Which Beachbody Program is Best for Runners

The best Beachbody program for runners (or any strength training program for that matter) is the one you’ll stick to! That being said, there are features of strength training programs that are more beneficial to runners. Runners want to make sure their strength training program includes: asymmetric movement, a warm-up, a cool down, recovery days, and mesocycles or small cycles of push and rest included in the schedule.

Best Beachbody Program for Beginner Runners

The best BeachBody program for runners who are more beginners or who are new to including strength training to their routines are 30 Day Breakaway, 21 Day Fix, and Job 1. They are all 30 minutes or less and include all the must-haves I mentioned above.

Best Beachbody Program for Experienced Runners

645 is the best Beachbody program for an experienced runner. It has incredible strength as well as mobility work that you need to include as runs get more challenging. 645 workouts are longer - 45 minutes each, which means you need to dedicate more time to training.

Beachbody and Running Hybrid

Whichever program you choose to start with, you want to balance the strength training with your run schedule. If your focus is on training for a race, you always want to prioritize your runs. If you are in a base building or getting back into fitness and running or focused on weight loss, you want to prioritize strength training.

Some general things to think about when combining Beachbody strength programs and running:

  • You can usually skip the cardio workout (most programs include one day of cardio)

  • Include at least one rest day per week

  • Work the upper body as well as lower body and core

  • Don’t work legs the day before a long run or speed workout

This is the point where working with a coach can be extremely helpful! The athletes I work with get a week by week schedule that includes what workouts and runs to do on what day based on both their goals and life demands outside of training! I have a couple spots on my roster right now for one-on-one coaching and I offer pre-made training plans as well that include strength workouts.

Beachbody and Running Injuries

Even now, I will still start to feel those aches, uncomfortable, maybe injuries that runners and really all of us get, it means it’s time to look at my strength programs and get really honest about what I’m doing. Am I skipping stretching and recovery? Am I just phoning it in?

It works. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve set a personal record in every distance from the 5k to the marathon. After chasing it for 7 years, I ran a sub 2 hour half marathon. Most recently, I ran my 4th marathon with an over 40 minute postpartum PR. Check out the recap here.

Run Coaching and Beachbody

If you’re curious about working with a run coach or combining running and beachbody to improve your running, let’s chat! Send me an email or fill out this form and I’ll reach out with more info! Can’t wait to hear from you!

Learn More about Jen

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