Hi hi! Happy Friday friends!
I’m coming at you from the airport on my way to Minneapolis. I know, I was supposed to leave yesterday, right?! Well due to a 2.5 hour flight delay (I found out almost right as I left work for the day), I was going to miss my connecting flight in Denver and would have needed to stay over night in Denver, so I managed to switch myself to a 6:30am flight out of Calgary. I’m bummed about missing time with my friends, but glad it worked out in the end.
Bri is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, writes at Run, Lift, Yoga, and runs a personal training business called Koru Fitness. She also qualified for Boston with a 3:33 marathon! If anyone knows how to fit in strength training and running, it’s her! 🙂
As runners, we all know we should be doing it. It should be as much a part of our training as speed drills and the long, slow run.
No, I’m not talking about stretching (even though we should do that, too).
I’m talking about strength training.
Although I think most of us know why we should incorporate strength training into our marathon training (helps to prevent injury, makes us stronger and faster, improves structural fitness and can help improve performance overall) plans and what we should be doing (both lower body exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts; upper body exercises like push-ups and rows; and core exercises like planks and v-sits), most of us don’t really know how to incorporate them into our already jam-packed training schedule.
I’ve known about the benefits of incorporating strength training into marathon training even before I studied it in my Essentials of Strength and Conditioning text book: For my last half marathon, I only ran two or three days a week, but lifted weights and did plyometrics three to four days a week in the months leading up to the race. I ended up running my fastest half marathon ever at that race with a 5-minute personal best. Leading up to my second-to-last marathon, I hardly did any running (save for a 50 km ultra two month prior), but stuck to a three-day-a-week full body strength training circuit and got a 25-minute personal best. Not only did my times improve, but also — and most importantly — I stayed healthy and injury free.
I know what you’re thinking: Marathon training eats up a lot of my time already… so how do you expect me to fit in strength training on top of speed drills, long runs, tempo runs and stretching? [Ed note: yuuuupppp, still working on this one! I’m not always perfect, but brough Bri’s plans with me to GoodLife Fitness ]
Well, I won’t lie; it takes some planning and dedication, but it can be done.
For my last marathon, I created my own three-day-per-week strength training/marathon training plan that focused on lots of single-leg work and full-body circuits built around tempo runs and easy run days. Other than getting something that resembled plantar fasciitis two weeks before the race (which was probably due to waiting too long to get new shoes), I stayed injury-free and ran a personal best of 3:33 – just fast enough to qualify me for the Boston Marathon in 2016.
A few things to note when strength training for a marathon:
- You need at least one rest day a week, which means you will have one double workout day. I flex every second Friday, so I do my strength training in the morning and easy run later in the afternoon or the evening after work.
- Have your rest day the day before your long run.
- Do a full-body circuit twice a week to save time, and use one day to work on upper body strength, flexibility and core (day after your long run works best).
- You only need about 45 minutes for strength training per session, including a 7-minute warm up and 3-minute cool down.
Though they recruit different muscle fibre types, resistance training and aerobic training can work together as long as you follow these guidelines (as recommended by Essentials of Strength and Conditioning):
[Tweet “Looking to balance running and strength training? Check out @runliftyoga 4 tips to fitting it all in!”]
- Do your strength workouts on separate days from run workouts.
- If you have to strength train on the same day as a run day, choose a day with lower-intensity and lower-volume run workout (e.g. your easy 10 km run day).
- Do your lower-intensity, higher-volume resistance training (aka low to moderate weights lifted with 10-15 reps) during your “pre-season” (in this case, the first two months of a 17-week marathon training plan). In the five weeks leading up to your marathon, drop the volume of your strength training (the number of reps) and focus on power workouts (like plyometrics) and muscular strength (moderate to heavy weights with fewer sets repetitions).
- If you have to run and strength train on the same day, do your strength training first. It’s better to run on tired legs than to lift heavy objects over your head when you’re feeling fatigued.
How do you balance running with strength training?
I’m hoping my next training cycle (after I rest up from the marathon on Sunday) I’ll be better able to focus on strength training and fitting at least one BODYPUMP class at GoodLife Fitness as I know it’s critical to staying injury free, especially with these weak hips and glutes of mine!
Linking up with Nicole for Fit & Fashionable Friday!
Disclaimer: This post was written as part of the Blogger Ambassador program with GoodLife Fitness. All opinions and experiences are my own (and Bri’s).
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