Weight training should be part of your marathon training plan – and that’s a fact! Keep in mind that the stronger your muscles are, the higher your stamina will be so the faster and longer you can run. There’s also the fact that weight training is crucial for your overall health, as well as for your easier transition to your after-marathon workout.
But don’t just lift weights any which way at Gold’s Gym either because of the risks of injuries, not to mention that your weight training may not be suitable for your runner goals. Here are a few tips to remember when you want to become stronger so you can run faster and longer.
Get the Right Timing for Lifting
Keep in mind that your first priority in marathon training is running so lifting weights should be scheduled around it. The best rule: Schedule your strength training on days when you’re only doing short runs, never when you’re on long runs.
This is because long distance running is a physically draining activity. Thus, adding weight training to the day’s activities will subject your body to extreme stress resulting in decreased conditioning. You will likely, unfortunately, find yourself dragging your feet due to your weaker state toward the end of your marathon training program.
A few more tips about scheduling your lifting sessions:
- Rest for a day between your weight training sessions to allow your body to recover from the stress.
- Rest for a couple of days, too, from all your workouts for the same reason.
The rest period is crucial in your success as a marathon runner as it’s the time when your body recovers from its injuries and builds its strength and stamina.
Choose the Right Exercise and Frequency
As a runner, your main goal in weightlifting is preserving lean muscle instead of building bulk. You must then carefully choose the right types of exercise and the right frequency for doing them.
- Hit each major muscle group one to two times per week. Don’t lift weights one too many times in a week to prevent overstressing your body. Your main objective is to perform as few weightlifting exercise as possible yet still hit all the major muscle groups.
- Keep your overall training volume low.
- Focus more on compound exercises, which puts stress on several muscles with a single movement, than on isolation exercises. The latter can tax your reserves so you will have a longer recovery time and lesser energy for your runs.
- Limit yourself to only two sets of compound exercises in every workout. You will then be able to complete the range of exercises yet minimize the chance of overdoing them.
And don’t forget to perform leg strengthening exercises for obvious reasons! You should formulate a plan with your running coach, too.