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I am not a Runner, but, Thanks to Kettlebells, I can Run

January 20, 2009 01:30 PM

I am 6'3, 225# and haven't run any more than 100yards in more than two years. I wouldn't say that I have a runner's physique but more of work horse that would rather lift heavy objects. When I did run and thought that I was in pretty good shape, I ran 6-7 miles every three days. I was a skinny fat guy. My strength was down and I felt fragile. For a recovering body builder and now powerlifter, feeling skinny and fragile was not good for my mental outlook, so I stopped running like a mouse on its wheel.

Fast-forward 2.5 years and I now use kettlebell training for cardiovascular health (and the same feeling of wanting to die). This is mainly high rep kettlebell snatches and no running besides a little city league football and chasing after my nephews. Ten-minute snatches have become a regular in my routine, at least once a week. I do more of a low rep strength workout three days a week and fill in the other two days with "practice" and conditioning workouts. So I am all over the board with my workouts, and now believe in listening to my body and train accordingly. And the results have been great — keep reading…

I have owned a personal training gym for two years where I have worked and built a good base of clientele that I train with kettlebells, tire flipping, sledge hammer workouts, and a ton of body weight work. I have gone from the body building workouts that didn't produce results to short intense full body workouts that have my clients hating, but loving the results. Not to mention the majority of my clients are women and are tough as nails since kettlebells have come into our lives. A lot of my clients run and compete in all lengths of races; everything from 5k to ultra marathons (100miles). Kettlebells have helped them all tremendously.

One of my long standing clients, Katrinka, came to me last year in June and asked me if I would be on her team to run a 178mi relay race around the Washoe Valley and Lake Tahoe, called the Reno Tahoe Odyssey. I told her I would be a back up if someone dropped out and until then sign me up as a driver for the race. A driver picks up and drops off runners for their relay exchange points. As the race neared for this years race Katrinka became sick and couldn't train with me nor keep up with her running and asked me if I would run for her. I reluctantly agreed but never trained for it. All the time still keeping up on my kettlebell training but never doing road work, knowing that the kettlebells had prepared me for anything and knew I would be able to run.

Each runner does three legs of the race over a 24-30 hour time period. The legs can range from 2.5mi-8mi with all types of terrain, as can be expected running in the sierras, there will be hills.

Katrinka ended up being able to run but two other runners from her team pulled out without me knowing it. I was informed that I would be running the day before the race at a team meeting. Walked into the meeting as a driver and walked out a runner, and was assigned two legs of the race. The first being a 4.8mi run which I was told was very hilly. The second being a 3mi run with at least a 10% grade. I wasn't scheduled to run a third leg but decided at the last minute to run as support with Katrinka for her last leg which was 6 miles with fairly flat terrain.

Note that four days before the race I returned from the Level II RKC, the weekend before that I climbed a 10,776ft summit with a 24kg kettlebell on my back then did a snatch workout at the top, for a second time in three weeks. The reason for the hike was to prepare for the RKC and to do something that I love from one of the most beautiful summits in the world, Lake Tahoe. The weekend after the race I went back to the mountain for more of the same fun.

I finished the first leg in 47minutes, the second leg in 20minutes and Katrinka and I didn't time the last leg but finished with a smile on our faces. A little delirium, I am sure. Decent times, not record times but none the less 14miles without a bit of "training".

I have said it before and now proved it - that the people that train with kettlebells are ready for anything. I know that I can do anything that I could possible want to do with my body because I train with Russian Kettlebells. They have physically and most of all mentally prepared me to conquer any obstacle that might be so unlucky to be in my way.

Robert Budd is a personal trainer in Reno, NV. He is an RKC Level II and holds the ISSA: CPT, SPN. Robert participates as a Special Olimpics Powerlifting Coach for Northern Nevada. A competitive deadlifter, Robert holds the Nevada State record for Class 1 Men Single Lift Deadlift (WABDL). He is a personal trainer in Encinitas, CA. Contact him at