Is it possible to strength training AND train for a half marathon?
I used to be a runner. I loved it!! I ran every day and it was my only form of exercise. I easily ran 60 km a week…I looked pretty different then (I’m not saying I looked bad or anything but my body (and face) has definitely changed)
I then fell in love with strength training and to be completely honest, strength training changed my life! If you have been following me for a while you would know that I went from training like a body builder to focusing on calisthenics to then powerlifting…Quite honestly, you name it, I’ve done it…Something that I haven’t done (successfully) is strength train WHILE training for a half marathon…
We have a lot of clients who are runners and so it made perfect sense for me to experiment and see if I would be able to maintain a certain level of strength whilst trying to get fitter to tackle the Deloitte’s half on the 15th of March.
It’s been pretty tough, I’m not going to lie, BUT it’s been so so worth it!!
Lower body strength training has been proven to make you faster on the road. It did take me a while to find the correct balance though as my legs normally feel like jelly for 2 days after one of my lower body sessions. The trick has been finding the balance between the two. After all, strength training is supposed to help with running, not detract from it.
The reason why I want to urge everyone to incorporate strength training into your running schedule is because with the help of strength training, and a strong lower body, you are able to lower the amount of energy needed for you to hit a faster pace. Your stride will become bigger and you will manage the uphills a lot easier as well.
There are a few things that I’ve noticed though…
- Don’t plan a heavy lower body workout the day before a long run.
- Try your best to run first (before strength training)- It’s also a lot cooler first thing in the morning.
- Give yourself a bit of grace. You may not be as strong as you once were but also try your best to push yourself because you CAN!
I train twice a day 4 times a week…You don’t have to do that. I just find that on the days that I’m running, I still want to include a short strength training workout into my plan (If I can)…I will definitely drop the one session after the Deloitte’s and try include strength and cardio into one…
I currently run 4 times a week and I do 4 to 5 strength training workouts and then 2 functional training workouts (which are completely optional- I really only do them as I enjoy training with friends)
Monday- Full body workout and functional training or rest.
Tuesday- Long run and upper body workout.
Wednesday- Lower body workout and functional training or rest. Thursday- Medium length run and upper body workout.
Friday- Short, very chilled active rest run.
Saturday- Long run.
Sunday- Lower body workout.
I listen to my body though and if I’m tired I rest. The above is just a goal workout week for me (currently) and it’s not always going to be so intense.
As far as the strength training goes I have been focusing on the compound lifts- Overhead press, bench press, squats and deadlifts. I then do a bit of accessory work and core as well.
My functional type training is very short (about 30 minutes) and it involves body weight exercises, tabatas, and running stairs. Again, the reason I’ve decided to incorporate that type of training into my plan is purely because I have friends that I get to see and train with and I have the extra energy.
When it comes to running, I don’t have any desire to run an exceptionally long distance- I really just like seeing how far I can run in an hour or less- So by long run I mean maximum 12 km, medium run is between 8 and 9 km and short run is between 4 and 6 km.
Recovery during this time is CRUCIAL so I’ve been going to bed earlier and trying my best to get as much rest as possible (Which is probably the area I’m struggling most with)
I change my workouts up every few weeks and try my best to increase the weights used or rep range every week as well but an example of my workouts are:
Full body workout: 10 minute treadmill walk followed by some dynamic stretching (warm up)
*Barbell Overhead press.
Single leg Romanian deadlift.
Single arm dumbbell bench press SS with Leg raises.
Forward into reverse lunges SS with Single arm lat pull down SS with leg curl on rower.
Push ups SS with Plank.
Upper body: Overhead press with dumbbells. Straight arm lat pull down and some dynamic stretching (warm up)
*Bench press with barbell.
Pause dumbbell bench press SS with dumbbell row.
Chin up or lat pull downs SS with pause push ups SS with shoulder raises.
Lower body: Kettlebell swings with some dynamic stretching (warm up)
*Barbell back squats.
Goodmornings SS with bicycle crunches.
Curtsy lunges SS with russian twists SS with lying leg curl.
Farmers walks for 10 metres.
Upper body: Dynamic stretching (warm up)
*Overhead press with barbell.
Dumbbell floor press SS with wall handstand holds SS with ground to overhead press.
Standing lateral raises SS with standing front raises SS with standing Arnold press SS with rear delt row.
Hollow rock hold Tabata.
Side to side plank Tabata.
Lower body: 10 minute treadmill walk followed by some dynamic stretching (warm up)
*Deadlifts- I prefer sumo deadlifts but will train conventional from time to time.
Bulgarian split squats with Russian twists.
Romanian deadlifts SS with reverse lunge from a deficit SS with jump squats SS with leg raises.
The main movement of each session has a * next to it and will generally be 4 sets of no more than 5 to 8 reps as I like to go as heavy as I can and increase the weights used each week, if I am up to it- Essentially this is my main focus in each workout ****. (Oh and SS means superset)
The rest of each workout generally consists of accessory work and will be 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
My full body workout has only 3 sets of each exercise.
(Please note: I haven’t included the exact rep ranges and number of sets as this is just a guide).
We offer individualized training plans through out My Fitness Cartel app which I absolutely love. The videos and examples of the different movements have really helped to improve my form.
If you have any questions, head on over to my post on either Facebook or Instagram and comment with it so I can reply on there.
Before I ramble on for too long…I just want to stress that this is just my current training plan and my training is not always as intense. I’ve built up my endurance on the road and I’ve built up my strength through weight training over a long period of time. I am also eating SO much and am not trying to lose weight- With eating a lot I have SO much energy so its actually a struggle to force myself to rest LOL…
If you plan on giving my training plan a bash PLEASE be honest with YOURSELF before hand. Perhaps when planning your runs, your long run is 5 km- then that’s great!!! Your medium length run can then be 3.5 km and your short run can be 1.5 km…
Or perhaps your long run is 15 km- Awesome, smash it! Then your medium run can be 10 km and your short run can be 7 km…
Just listen to your body and know that we all started somewhere and that me trying MY best won’t look the same as you trying YOUR best. If you can deadlift 150 kgs for 5 reps then I am in awe of you…BUT if you can deadlift 30 Kg for 5 reps then I think you are pretty darn fantastic as well…It’s always YOU versus YOU…So whatever number (whether it be km on the road or weight lifted in the gym) is YOUR best then that is more than enough!
Lastly- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!! Because you, my dear, can do ANYTHING!!!