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Strength Training Combined With Distance Running

By April 2, 2010 12 Comments

Awhile back I introduced you to an amazing mom who have transformed her body through the Fit Moms For Life DVDs.  She transitioned herself from a long distance runner who was frustrated about not being able to lose her last 20 pounds, to a mom of three little kids who is now in the best shape of her life and extremely toned!  Click here to read her entire story.

She has a very strong background in running, so I have asked her to share with you a running plan that can also incorporate resistance training.  Karen has been interning with me the past 5 months and is now a certified trainer and will be opening up my brand new Fit Fun Bootcamp location in Waunakee!  I am super excited to have her as a trainer.  So if you know anyone in the Waunakee area, mark your calendars for May 3rd, the first day of outdoor bootcamp!

Incorporating Strength Training Into a Running Plan

Karen before, very active and fit, but not as toned as she would like

Karen before, very active and fit, but not as toned as she would like

My name is Karen Endres and I am an avid fitness runner, track and cross country coach and currently studying to become a personal trainer. I have completed many, many distance races including a marathon. While training for long runs, I often noticed that I gained weight and did not see the muscle definition I desired and expected after logging 100’s of miles. After the birth of my third daughter in 2008, I immediately jumped back into running but was not seeing the weight loss results I desired. I then turned to strength training and burst/interval training. The results were more than expected, weight loss and five minutes off my 5K run time.

Strength training is one of the most important things you can do to enhance your running program. Whether you are training for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon by incorporating weights you will experience the following benefits:

1. Improve your race time(s).
2. Prevent injuries.
3. Help control/lose weight.

Depending on the length of race you are training for and the amount of time you have each week, I recommend adding 2-3 days of strength training to your running program. The type of strength training in Fit Moms For Life, Bootcamps and MamaTone classes will provide you with strong, long and lean muscles that will not only complement your running but take you to the next level.

Karen after 8 months of Fit Moms For Life Weight Training and Interval Training Workouts and 20 lbs lighter

Karen after 8 months of Fit Moms For Life Weight Training and Interval Training Workouts and 20 lbs lighter

Strength training will improve your race times. In my 10 years of experience as a running coach, the athletes that work on muscle and core strength have the most improvement in their performances. Stronger muscles help in many areas of running. You can execute proper running form more consistently and longer. A strong core allows you to drive your legs forward and up with more power. Using a weight training program that moves quickly through the exercises improves your overall cardio conditioning as well.

If you are only running, you will find certain muscles get very strong like your quadriceps while others stay weak such as your hamstrings. Incorporating strength training and core exercises will help you keep all muscle groups strong. This helps your performance but more importantly will help keep you injury free.

As Dustin has said many times on this blog, long distance cardio does not effectively burn fat. Strength training and running bursts/intervals increase the fat burn and therefore help you to maintain or lose weight while training for a run. An additional benefit is bursts/intervals help teach your muscles to react faster and turnover quickly therefore increasing your running pace. You can’t just decide to run faster, you need to teach your muscles the proper form and how to turnover.

Adding strength, core and interval/burst training will bring great results to your fitness program. Whether you are looking to race a 5K or complete at half-marathon. These elements will keep you healthy and running stronger than ever. Good luck and run hard.

Sample Workout Week

5K Training incorporating strength and core. A few things to keep in mind. To prevent injury do not add running miles too quickly. The commonly known rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%. The running workouts below can be adjusted to fit your mileage goals for the week.

Day 1

5K Interval Ladder Run

(If using a treadmill use a slight incline 2% – 4%. If running outdoors, use a varied terrain.)

4 minute warm-up – comfortable pace where you could hold a conversation (example – 6mph)

18 minutes of 1 minute intervals (1 minute interval & 1 minute at resting pace)

mom-running-with-kids1 minute @ 7

1 minute @ 6

1 minute @ 7.5

1 minute @ 6

1 minute @ 8

1 minute @ 6

1 minute @ 8.5

1 minute @ 6

1 minute @ 9

1 minute @ 6

Now walk the ladder back down (9, 6,8.5, 6, 8, 6, 7.5, 6, 7, 6)

2-4 minute cool-down to get you to a total mileage of 3.25

Day 2

30 – 40 minutes of Strength Training & Core

Day 3

20 minute Interval Run

(If using a treadmill use a slight incline 2% – 4%. If running outdoors, use a varied terrain.)

5 minute warm-up – comfortable pace where you could hold a conversation (example – 6mph)

10 minutes of 30 second intervals (30 second interval & 30 seconds at resting pace)

30 seconds @ 7.5

30 seconds @ 6

30 seconds @ 8

30 seconds @ 6

30 seconds @ 8.5

30 seconds @ 6

30 seconds @ 9

30 seconds @ 6

30 seconds @ 9.5

30 seconds @ 6

Now walk the ladder back down (9.5, 6,9, 6, 8.5, 6, 8, 6, 7.5, 6)

5 minute cool-down

Day 4

30 – 40 minutes of Strength Training & Core

Day 5

Hill Workout (approximate distance 5K)

1 mile warm-up

10 minutes of hills

Run up a hill hard for 30 seconds & walk or jog down

(if on a treadmill use a 10% incline and challenging speed but that you can recover in about 35 – 45 seconds)

1 mile cool-down

Day 6 (optional)

30 – 40 minutes of Strength Training & Core

Additional running workouts to rotate in.

Out and Back

Run out 1.5 miles and run the same course back to where you started by take 2 minutes off your time for the return run.

15 Second Interval

Same as the 30 second interval run but change the interval to 15 seconds. Keep the rest at 30 seconds but increase the incline and start your first interval at a faster mph.

Race Pace Training Run (3.5 to 4 mile run)

5 minute warm-up

Approximately 24 minutes

½ mile at your race pace

2 minute at your recovery pace

½ mile at your race pace

2 minute at your recovery pace

½ mile at your race pace

2 minute at your recovery pace

½ mile at your race pace

2 minute at your recovery pace

5 – 10 minute cool-down

Do you have any running questions for Karen, post your questions below!