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Marathon Training + Strength Training?

By Kate

In my last post I mentioned I was training for a 5K race, which was the same event I had run a year before as my first ever road race.  I’m happy to report that I met my goal of a new PR there — I ran it in 26:38, which was about a minute and a half better than my previous best time and was a whopping sixteen minutes faster than my time at that race in 2009.  What a difference a year makes!

But now that that race is over I am moving into my fall plan — training for my first full marathon.  I’m using the Hal Higdon Novice plan, although I have moved the days around to fit my schedule a bit better.

This morning was my second long run on the schedule.  It went really well — I did seven miles at a pace that felt reasonable enough that I could have kept going even farther.  I love having that feeling at the end of a good run.  My training these two weeks has been smooth, but I’m wondering how I can fit in some strength training into the already busy plan.

Higdon has cross training listed for the day following each week’s long run, but there I think he intends you to swim, bike or do some other cardiovascular sport. I’ll probably bike or do yoga. So where does strength training fit in?

I had been attending a body pump class at my gym one or two times a week, which I loved, but I stopped at some point this summer when the lifting, combined with all the speed work I was doing for my summer 5K, made my hamstrings unbearably tight and sore.  I’d like to add body pump class back in, though, because I know it will be great for my over-all fitness and the leg strengthening in particular will help me avoid injuries during the long months of marathon training.

Do you all have any advice about when to do this? I don’t want the post-lifting soreness to negatively impact my runs, so I was thinking about trying to do it on the same day as a short run, then taking a rest day before the next short run. Does that make sense? Any runners or lifters out there have any suggestions?

4 Responses to “Marathon Training + Strength Training?”

  1. Yasmin Says:

    Hi Kate,

    I am also training for my first full marathon this fall. I train with a running club and our team follows a similiar plan to Hal’s. My coaches suggest fitting in strength training with your cross training days. So suppose your guide suggests 40 mins of cross training-you can do 20 mins of cardio and 20 mins of strength training. Good luck in your race!

  2. Krissa Says:

    Stretch, stretch, stretch! Many people have issues with tight hamstrings, and they can screw up several other things on your legs (knee pain and hip pain are both common.) Even if you don’t feel tight after a run or workout, stretch those hammies.
    I think some kind of interval training would be great for crosstraining, since it would include some cardio and work in upper body/core muscles, to keep your whole body in top shape.

  3. Julie Says:

    I have done two marathons and did strength training classes at my Y throughout both. I usually did them as my cross-training (I never swam or biked during my mara training) – the classes usually have a cardio component (versus just lifting on my own at a gym), so I always felt I was still getting a good workout. I also threw in a pilates or yoga class once a week that seemed to help with the tight hamstrings. Good luck! What marathon are you training for?

  4. Kate Says:

    Thanks for the ideas, all!

    Yasmin – That sounds really reasonable. Good luck to you, too!

    Krissa – OMG I have definitely run into those problems myself. I do stretch and use the foam roller, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to help enough.

    Julie – That also sounds like a really reasonable approach. Maybe something like 30-Day Shred, that has both strength and cardio in the circuits?

    And I am training for the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville (12/11/10), with a half on the schedule too (Montgomery Half on 10/02/10).

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