For the past month, I've been going to the gym 3 days a week and one thing I was most excited about was to see how waltzing my way from machines to free weights would affect my running pace. Well, I can tell you that going to the gym for a month helped my minute per mile go from 9:01 to 7:33 (!!!).


I just thought to clarify why my pace was at 9:01 - this is post overtraining. My timing was around 5:45/6:47 before having to take a break due to overtraining. Basically overtaining = hi injuries. 


What I've been doing at the Gym:

1. Free Weights

Personally I've never even ventured to the free weights section before - partially because everyone always looked so skilled with the weights and lifting a 5 pound weight compared to the person on my left lifting 75 pounds didn't seem like a fun idea for my already negative confidence in the free weights area.

1. Lunges with weights
If you also haven't been to the weights section before please! do! not! feel! like! you! have! to! start! at! XY! pounds! 

Just because you see everyone around you lifting 30-50lb, start at a weight you are comfortable with. Don't compare your Chapter 1 in the free weights to their Chapter 97. I started with 5lb and after 2 weeks moved to 7.5lb-10lb weights.

It was pointed out to me that I was actually doing lunges wrong.
(I stepped forward and didn't bend my back leg as much as I should have - at a 90 degree angle)

2. Alternating Frontal & Lateral shoulder raises
(a.k.a. the eagle [my nickname for this one])

3. Frontal Pull
(not sure if this is the actual name)
I actually discovered this from Lucy's workouts. She did it without weights, but when I went to the gym I thought to try it out with weights. To do this one, you hold your arms in front of you, then you pull one your arm one at a time towards you. It's kind of like punching forward with weights. I can confirm my arms were not happy the first time I did this.

4. Tricep Extension

[I do each arm separately but wasn't able to find a specific video on it.]

These are the ones that I always do - occasionally I throw in some other exercises to keep things interesting though!

* All these exercises were done with 5lb in each hand with occasionally towards the end of the month using 7.5lb -10lb*


2. Machines

(basically mixing and matching between what things are there to attach to it)

If you'll notice - I do a pattern of an Arm Machine then a Leg Machine. It's to give my arms a bit of a rest while I swap to legs & then my legs a rest once I go back to arms.

Amount of Reps

Something I learned was to always do 3 sets of X reps.
I do 3 sets of 15 on all machines and in the free weights area.

Why 15?
Well, in the beginning, 10 seemed a bit small and 20 seemed a bit too much so 15 was smack in the middle!

As the weeks continued I did occasionally do 3 sets of 20 or 4 sets of 15 when I saw I became too comfortable with 3 sets of 15 - essentially my workout needed an upgrade!

Tip: After 2-3 weeks increase the weight/reps. You're progressing and doing the same thing as when you first walked in Week 1 (basically fetus you) won't help you at Week 2 since you've gotten a bit stronger since Week 1!

What should I be setting the weight to on the machines?

Start off with what you can. If you start at say 10lb then as you get into the second week, try and put the last five reps you're doing in a set to 20lb.

'reps in a set?' What does that mean?
Above I mentioned 3 sets of 15 reps
So if you're lifting 10lb on the machine and want to go up to 20 you can do:

Set 1:
 1 set of 15 reps on 10lb

Set 2: 
1 set of 10 reps on 10 lb
1 set of 5 reps on 20 lb

Set 3: 
1 set of 5 reps on 10 lb
1 set of 5 reps  on 20lb
1 set of 5 on reps 10lb

You can see that each set has 15 reps in total!

This helped me slowly get used to doing 20lb and work to higher amounts.
If you use a different type of system let me know - I love to see how other people tackle increasing the weight!

I'd also really recommend you ask for some advice from the trainers at the gym to see if you're doing something properly - if they're walking around I'm sure they'll be happy to help you with any questions you have!


3. Treadmill

I start off by going 5 minutes easy walking. Before doing this, I tried going straight into running on the treadmill. That didn't workout for me because it felt like I didn't do a proper warm up before jumping straight into 8 MPH speed.

After the 5 minutes finish, I reset the treadmill and then start myself up in a jog and increase my speed every few minutes once I feel I'm steady enough on the MPH speed I'm on.


I just wanted to add that I previously did the treadmill at the top of this whole workout and I've concluded that adding it to the end  - after free weights & machine workout - it made my body stronger on the treadmill. 
The way I think of it:

Treadmill before free weights & machine = I didn't work my body enough to run as fast I would like to.

Treadmill after free weights & machines = My body is stronger because I essentially 'warmed my body up' with the free weights, machines & five minute walking.


I did a mixture of these workouts:

How to stretch after a run - Live Well- NHS Choices
Body Love With Lucy Challenge
In the last few minutes she has some cool down exercises!

I went to the gym in the morning then in the evening I did the Body Love With Lucy Challenge. [I've linked to Day 1!]

*My only rest day for the month of July was Friday - I'm thinking of doing a post on the importance of rest/recovery days soon!*

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! I hope this was beneficial for anyone looking to start going to the gym & it helps any other runners think of other ways to get their min per mile down!

Missed a previous fitness type post?
Here's the one prior to this -> Jumping Around Training Schedules