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I'm startng a new training program with the hopes of building my speed and endurance. The program I'm following includes leg strength training in the way of isometrics. The question I'm needing help with is whether to incorporate weight training into my schedule. Will using weights help or hurt me? The program I'm following includes alot of intense speed work. Is isometrics and hill repeats enough strength training?
A glance at champion sprinters will surely tell you if weight training slows you down (they're usually highly muscled). On the other hand, at marathon distances, excessive weight will slow you down.
I find weight training helps my marathon running. By increasing upper body strength, my shoulders and arms do not tire while on 3 or 4 hour runs. I'm not a fan of isometrics, preferring free weights.
Hill repeats are a great leg strengthening as well as aerobic workout. Be careful not to overtrain.
Thanks for your input. I currently use weights for my arms and isometrics for core strength. I'm reluctant to try weights for my legs due to the potential for injury and I'm not sure whether they would help or not. I was a boxer back in my younger days and at that time weights were counter productive to speed and agility. The trainers in the gym where I go have suggested using weights for my leg strength. Sadly non of them can run. That's why I was looking for some feed back from other runners. I hope everyone has a great long run this weekend. Remember, if it's easy your not running your jogging.
I did some research in Tim Noakes and Earl Fee's books. There's substantial evidence to justify weight training in runners in shorter events. The evidence is not as compelling in distance runners, but still there. Noakes, Fee, and Jack Daniels all remark that the whole body should be trained.
Thanks for checking into it for me. I did some research myself and found there are authors that agree and disagree with the roll in weights being used for leg strength in runners. I agree with you on the need for complete body training. However, I'm very cautious in how I incorporate weights into my running program. There is alot in the fitness community that is all about vanity and not bringing a person to a their fitness peak. I see guys all the time that are bulked out like Mr. Atlas but they can't run, bike, swim, ski or anything else that requires any cardio or agility. Recently I had a body builder that is 25 years younger than me tell me "you can out run me but I can squate more than you." I was thinking to myself- "Young man hold that thaught." Remember dynamite doesn't come in pretty packages. I finished the book Run Less Run Faster which is the program I started using and Furman University recommends strength training 3 times per week and cautions against weights. Last tuesday I started working out at the Furman Track with the authors of this book and between running, mountain biking, pool workouts and isometrics I don't think weights will be needed.
Agreed. I doubt anyone starts or maintains a regimen designed to build bulk for any reasons other than appearance.
On the other hand, maximal oxygen uptake (gained by cardiovascular work) is closely associated with good health and longevity. The only health component I'd say running lacks is that it doesn't stress bones above the hips. Thus, to prevent bone density loss in the upper body, one has to do some sort of weight bearing exercises. 50% of women and 25% of men suffer osteoporosis in old age.
Of course, though, honestly, as a 53 year old male runner, it still feels nice to be able to turn heads of women half my age when I run shirtless......(smiles)
Wer'e both on the same page. I have a decsision to make for my Friday training session whether to go to the gym or the pool. If I choose the pool I won't have the time to continue the weight training for my upper body which has been part of my regimen for the past two years. Which do you think would be of most benefit to me as a runner?
I'm not a certified fitness professional, so I don't presume to "advise". That said, to put myself through engineering school in the 80s, I was a fitness instructor. I picked up certification as a strength instructor with the NSCA just as something to do with my then 18 year old daughter. That was 12 years ago and I never kept the certification up. 10 years prior to engineering school, I was a senior in biology/biochemistry. This gave me a bias towards peer reviewed studies over anecdotal advice.
Back in the 80s, I thought the isotonic vs. isometric debate had been settled, largely in favor of isotonic exercises. I did a Google Scholar search on "comparison isometric isotonic hypertrophy strength" and found most of the research on this topic was done before the scientific journals were archiving on-line. Typical of these is http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/11/1/29 . It finds in favor of isotonic workouts; for a reason that is ringing distant bells now that I think of it.
I've heard good things of the Furman program, though I've not read the book. I really don't know a lot about the program. I've relied heavily on Noakes because he's an MD, an active researcher in exercise physiology, and bases his advice on peer reviewed research, both his own and by others. Likewise, with Jack Daniels, who is a famous coach as well as peer reviewed researcher. Unlike Noakes, Daniels doesn't cite in his book like Noakes does. Finally, there's Earl Fee who is actually a retired technical writer but who wrote a book on running that could easily stand up as an MS thesis on the topic. I've gathered much from his book too. I recommend all 3 books, if you're interested in reading up on exercise physiology as it applies to running.
All this, because I like to run marathons and intend to run them faster over the next 10 years. (we hope)
So, based on what I've read - and not presuming to be an expert - I personally would choose the gym. But, take it as a personal choice and certainly not the advice of anyone who remotely presumes to be an expert.
Dave, Thanks for your input on this. This past week I learned that half the group I train with on the track use weights for leg strength. The guys using the weights are not the bulked out bricks I expected. There some of the fastest in the group. Some of the stats on studies I saw for runners working with weights are very impressive. According to one study I looked at, runners working with weights develope up to a 3" longer stride and cut their racing time up to a minute within a year. Today I choose the gym over the pool and I know it's too early to gage the results but so far I feel great. Once again thanks.
I am new to the running community and am loving it more and more after each run. In the last year I have participated in 20 plus races, including 2 half marathons. I usually weight train 5 days a week in the am. The evening is reserved for running or other cardio. Monday is usually my leg day. I usually do squats, leg press, extensions, and curls. 3 Sets 12-14 reps. Saturday is my long run day. I hope to gradually get to the point where I can be more toward the top of my age group than the middle. As with any workout I have tried to mix it up occasionally. I generally feel better the days I do weights and run, than on the days I don't. You guys gave me some great books to put on my Christmas list. Thanks
MCM '09, '10, '11
Richmond Marathon '09
RNR Arizona Marathon '10
RNR Mardi Gras Marathon '10
Shamrock Marathon '10, '12
Frederick Marathon '10
Madison Marathon '10
1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Marathon '10
Baltimore Marathon '10
Outer Banks Marathon '10
Flying Pig '12
Next Race - MCM Baby!!!!!!
I started using weights in my training program about 4 weeks ago and so far I'm satisfied with the way things are going. The programs I followed in the past focused only on running and I was constantly set back with injuries. My mileage base was going up and my pace was slowing down. Now I only run 3 days per week focusing on intensity rather than total distance. On my non running days I bike and train at the gym. Usually I take one to two days total rest/ honey do. With only 6 weeks into the program I'm starting to see improvements. I don't know if I will ever qualify for Boston or keep Bill Pierce from lapping me on the track, but at 53 years old I'm still training hard and not about to give up. Thanks guys for your input about weight training. I'm finding that you can't build speed without building leg strength. Guys keep running and don't be afraid to sweat.