Strength training and running

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  ed 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #12032

    ed
    Participant

    I decided to try to add strength training to my life to see how it compliments my running.  It has only been a couple of days so I will not know what effect it has in the long run.  After a couple of days I have noticed that I am a bit more tired but I am still getting very good runs completed.  I am going to pay more attention to the running and if there is a deleterious effect from the strength training, I will back off the strength training.

    I am doing mostly upper body work as I do not want to injure a leg muscle and my legs get plenty of work running.

    Does anyone have any experience with strength training and running? What types of things should I pay attention to?  What signals might my body give me (that may be subtle) that I should heed? 

  • #30038

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I’ve done almost everything you can imagine when it comes to  strength training. A few conclusions I came to from my experiences:

    • Upper body strength training, while not  necessarily detrimental, was useless with the possible exception of middle  distance racing. For 5K and over, I found it a complete waste of time.
    • Traditional leg work (in the weight room) was  not beneficial and I felt it affected my runs, making it detrimental.
    • Hills are king when it comes to lower body and  even, to an extent, upper body running-specific strength training.
    • The

    Power  Triad is a good alternative to hills if you really have no other option  (stairs, stadium steps, parking ramps, any incline you can run up can serve as  a venue for hill work).

  • Plyometric drills can also be a good option.
  • Whether upper body (pushups, dips, back  extensions, etc.) or lower body (lunges, one-leg squats, step-ups, etc.) body  weight exercises are a great alternative for runners.
  • Of course, these conclusions are based on the premise that  your focus with strength training is to become a better runner. I’ve done some  study on this topic and I’ve found that the research generally supports the  observations I’ve made through my own experiences.

  • #30039

    ed
    Participant

    I have been planning on strengthening my core and upper body – but not to build massive muscle.  I was planning on a moderate increase in strength and tone.  I also want to focus my running on 8k to half marathon as my goal distances.

    I plan on a lot of hill work for strengthening my legs – lots of hill repeats. 

    Thanks for the link to that article and the Power Triad that is good information.

    My main goal is to improve my entire body to help me become the best runner that I can be – being the most effective in my races.

  • #30040

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Jay Johnson has a lot of amazing, free content on this (filmed near where I live, incidentally):

    [html]

    Swissball Exercises for Runners from CoachJayJohnson on Vimeo.

    A collection strengthening exercises utilizing a Swissball, specifically designed for Runners.

    [/html]

  • #30041

    ed
    Participant

    I will check these out when I get home.  Thanks.

  • #30042

    Anne
    Member

    Thanks for the link to the excercises.  Am I  the only one who's first thought was I'd move to the grassy area so when I fell off the stability ball it wouldn't hurt as much?

  • #30043

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Am I  the only one who's first thought was I'd move to the grassy area so when I fell off the stability ball it wouldn't hurt as much?

    Good one, though the grassy area may make it even more difficult if it's not flat and level.

  • #30044

    Andrew A.
    Member

    My only thought right now is about when I can get to Play It Again Sports to find an inexpensive 8 lb. medicine ball.  8)

  • #30045

    rehammes
    Member

    http://www.amazon.com/Brain-Training-Runners-Revolutionary-andResults/dp/0451222326/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272994083&sr=8-1

    To work on strength training for the upper body and not the lower body seems like a poor strategy to put yourself in position to run a stronger 8k.  If anything, I would focus on weight-free strength training exercises for the muscle groups that experience the most fatigue in race situations ie. abs, quads, calves etc.  I think supplemental training in those areas can be a great aid to injury prevention and improved endurance.  Take a look at the book from the link above, I found it to be a great guide.

  • #30046

    ed
    Participant

    My thoughts were that the lower body would get plenty of strength training form hill work – I have some great hills where I live.

    I just might have to get that book. 

  • #30047

    grasshopper
    Member

    The reviews at that link alone would guide me away from buying that book.  😉

  • #30048

    DoppleBock
    Member

    I do leg strength training as a anti-injury routine.  I do a machine that allows you to do weighted knee raises – I had been injured at one time – severe pain would start in each groin area and come diagonally toward about 4 inches on each side of belly button.  Since I started this I have had no issues.

    I also do hip flexors and abductors – I had past issues in this area.

    The only other benefit is I do all dumbells for upper body and it works the core pretty well to stabalize the weight.  Any actual upper body mass addition is a detriment.

    But I still enjoy it, so I do Flat bench, Incline, Shoulder press, curls, lat machine and rowing – Dumbells all around except lat machine.  I really never go beyond moderate intensity.

    I also try and do core work between sets of weights.

    I used to be a heavy weight lifter – 350 bench press, I am not very strong anymore, but I enjoy lifting.

  • #30049

    rehammes
    Member

    The reviews at that link alone would guide me away from buying that book.  😉

    Ha!  I didn't read the reviews before I bought it last year.  I suppose they are true, over half the book is training plans, but I did find a lot of helpful info in the meat that is there.  I guess don't expect it to change your life, though.

  • #30050

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I should look at that book sometime, as I have read Fitzgerald's work yet have no idea what results he has achieved in applying his ideas with athletes.  Jay Johnson's results with his athletes I do know about, however, so that I could recommend.  8)

    [html]

    Brent Vaughn on General Strength from CoachJayJohnson on Vimeo.

    Brent Vaughn, sub 13:20 5,000m runner and former University of Colorado star, discusses the role of General Strength (GS) in his training. While he discusses this topic we’ve included an “uncut” example of pedestal routine (aka plank routine).

    http://insidenikerunning.nike.com/2008/09/30/general-strength-video-pedestal-routine/

    [/html]

  • #30051

    sueruns
    Member

    when I first started road racing I was lifting light upper body weights, my friends got on my case and said “totally unnecessary to lug that around”.  Although I only lifted light weights, I looked like I was into body building, actually had someone ask to enter partners competition.  I guess that's when i stopped lifting arms,  but seriously my arms fatigued really bad when I moved to longer distances.  I never could figure out if they “should”.  My times did get better as my upper body faded to nothing :-

  • #30052

    ed
    Participant

    Some good points to give consideration.  I do not want to focus on the marathon any more but mostly the half marathon on down to the 8K.  I do not want to bulk up but rather just really tone the muscles and keep them strong versus soft and limp.  A strong core helps with stabalization of the upper body and reduces wasted energy loss in that area.  Your arms swing in a pumping motion to help with balance and propelling weight forward – so it would seem to me that strong (not bulky) arms would aid you in this area.

    I will definitely pay close attention so that I do not gain weight or bulk up and I'll keep you all posted on how I feel and how I think this hurts or helps.

  • #30053

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I like the 'old school' idea of picking up stones on the run and focus on carrying them in the right running form.  That is the ultimate high-reps and running-specific upper body strength conditioning and can be done really easily for 2-3 runs per week.  That said, I also like push-ups and chin-ups for the same reason that I like the routines that Jay Johnson has in his videos, can be done with very little and inexpensive equipment right at home and right after runs, no need for gym memberships and special trips to the gym.

  • #30054

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    That said, I also like push-ups and chin-ups for the same reason that I like the routines that Jay Johnson has in his videos, can be done with very little and inexpensive equipment right at home and right after runs, no need for gym memberships and special trips to the gym.

    In addition, I like dips and back extensions for the same reasons. All of the above can also be done not just immediately following runs but pretty much any time, which is nice.

  • #30055

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Right, and the other thing I like are short routines.  Effective stuff that can be done for 5-20 minutes and let one get on with one's day without interfering with running time.  Spending an hour (or more) going to a gym, waiting turns on machines or on benches, etc. is a poor use of good time, IMHO.

  • #30056

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Precisely. Something you can cool down from a run with or use a few minutes of down time while waiting for something or someone at any time of the day. I find that I already carve out enough time during the day for running. I can't justify carving out more time for peripheral activities so anything that can be done in a few moments is what works best. Honestly, I've also found that, even when I had time, those same exercises happen to be the most effective.

  • #30057

    r-at-work
    Member

    When I first started marathoning I had a talk with a friend who had run his first marathon the year before. He said his legs were not as tired as his arms. For my first two marathons, the worst chafing was the underside of my upper arms. My husband suggested some upper body weight training (very minimal, like 10-15 minutes 3 times a week) and it made a HUGE difference for me, no more chafing. Seems I didn't have enough arm strength to carry my arms for 26 miles! I never built up any obvious muscle, just firmed up the flab  😉 .

    When I worked with the track group the coaches had me add core work. That seemed to help my general fatigue from long runs as well as 'fix' muscle imbalance issues I had with hips, lower back. So why did I slack off on all that? Never seem to have enough hours in my day. I have started back with the weights just this week, and part of the core work as well. What's funny is that my dog and cat both join me on the floor when I do the core work on the floor.
    -Rita

  • #30058

    ed
    Participant

    Sounds like more good info Rita – thanks.

    Thank you to everyone that has chimed in so far – lots to think about and lots to look into.

  • #30059

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Another potential benefit is being able to do them at home with a spouse and/or kids, introducing an athletic aspect into their lives that you can do together.

  • #30060

    ed
    Participant

    Exactly Andrew!  I am using the Wii Active – I do exercise routines with my wife so we get some good time together and are demonstrating to our children that being active is important.

    I also occasional do a routine or two with each of my children.  They are actually seeing my wife (their mom) lose weight and have even commented on that.

    I also like to do sit-ups and push-ups during commercials while we watch something together on TV. 

    Exposure – Exposure – Exposure

  • #30061

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Andrew, precisely. Some might say Shayla is a little young for me to be “indoctrinating” her into exercise routines but she's been joining me with my post-run stretching nearly since she could walk. By now, she knows most of my stretching routine and will do it along with me. She also does Lisa's exercise videos with her and, of course, she loves to go outside and run laps around the house or run through the neighborhood park.

    As far as I'm concerned, while it shouldn't be boot camp, you can't do enough these days to encourage kids to exercise. Letting them see you do it yourself by doing it at home is one very productive way to do just that.

  • #30062

    ed
    Participant

    Leading by example is not “indoctrinating.”  If the children see our love of being fit and active and how much we love running – they will likely see that behavior as normal and good.  They might not love running but they will seek out something active that keeps them fit and healthy.  That should be a goal of every parent.

  • #30063

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I recently heard the results of a study that examined parents, children, and propensity to read.  They found that the children who were by far more likely to choose reading on their own were not children who were read to by parents but children whose parents actually chose to read on their own.  Rather telling and likely crosses over to other habits of home life like eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, etc.  You can tell kids what to do but if they do not see you modeling the behavior by choice then any dictating is likely to fall on deaf ears.

  • #30064

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Ed, that's my view on it. Others look at it differently but that's their problem.

    Andrew, that makes sense to me. I can definitely see it in Shayla, kids follow the example of what their parents do better than what their parents tell them to do. If I am cleaning up in the kitchen, Shayla will go to her play kitchen and clean up. If I stretch, she joins me. It's just obvious that they learn what to do by seeing what their parents do. If you see your parents read, exercise, clean up around the house, etc., that's what you're going to do.

  • #30065

    grasshopper
    Member

    Those are some interesting videos, thanks!

  • #30066

    Anne
    Member

    I've been doing the Swiss ball routine & my abs can feel it.  I also checked out the pre run lunge sequence & did that before my Weds. night run.

    I passed the link on to my running group.

  • #30067

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I had forgotten that these had been organized into a program in this article: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=16625

  • #30068

    Andrew A.
    Member
  • #30069

    ed
    Participant

    This is great stuff – I'll incorpoarte some of it along with the Wii Active.

    Thanks Andrew.

  • #30070

    aaron28
    Member

    Working out the upper body does feel different, but who knows if it actually improves anything. If i lift first and then run, I can feel the movements better. I just spend a little more of my attention making sure I'm swinging my arms better when I run. Other than that, I think lifting is for looks.

  • #30071

    Andrew A.
    Member

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