Weight Training

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    Just curious, but how do you work weight training into your running schedule? Specifically working lower body in the gym. Right now, this is what my schedule looks like:

    Monday – Running (Easy + Zone 3), Weights (lower body)
    Tuesday – Running (Easy)
    Wednesday – Weights (upper body), Cross Training (minimal impact cardio)
    Thursday – Running (Easy + Zone 4 or 5), Weights (lower body)
    Friday – Weights (upper body), Cross Training (minimal impact cardio)
    Saturday – Long Run
    Sunday – Rest

    The only issue is that my legs end up kind of feeling trashed on Tuesday. Would it be better to completely switch Monday and Tuesday (only EZ run on Monday)? Or maybe just wait until Tuesday to work legs? Maybe my legs feeling trashed on Tuesday is fine. If so, it’s no big deal. But after missing so much time being injured, I’m probably being more cautious than I previously would have.


    This is what the would do: swap lower and upper body:

    Monday – Running (Easy + Zone 3), Weights (upper body)
    Tuesday – Running (Easy)
    Wednesday – Weights (lower body), Cross Training (minimal impact cardio)
    Thursday – Running (Easy + Zone 4 or 5), Weights (upper body)
    Friday – Weights (lower body), Cross Training (minimal impact cardio)
    Saturday – Long Run
    Sunday – Rest

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I need to ping David. AJ and I recently wrote some language addressing this very question. It’s supposed to go in our resource document for AJ’s strength plans.

    The first thing I have to say is that RUNNERS HAVE NO BUSINESS DOING UPPER-BODY ONLY STRENGTH WORKOUTS! I mean, come on, man!

    Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest . . . the pro way of doing it is to schedule strength workouts for the afternoon of days with a hard morning run workout. That’s the way to minimize the “interference effect.”


    I’ve actually been lifting a lot longer than I’ve been running. Lifting since high school and running for a little more than 3 years. I’ve tried doing full body strength workouts, but they end up taking too long. Or maybe I’m trying to cram too much in there.

    Just curious about the upper body only workouts. Would you consider them to work against running gains? Or do you consider them not a good use of time and energy?

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Remember our schtick here at 80/20 Endurance: Copy the pros! They know what they’re doing! Close to zero percent of professional runners do upper-body strength workouts, and in fact few pros place much emphasis at all on upper body strength development. It is about as counterproductive to the interests of the long-distance runner as running for 2 hours is to the interests of the powerlifter. It’s okay to do one or two exercises that require the arms to work in concert with the rest of the body, but any more than that is going to do more harm than good.


    Put me in Matt’s camp.

    I tried to mix weight training and running for years. I concluded that I could be lousy and both and hurt, or choose. Switched to 80/20 Running five years ago and occasionally mixed in circuit style training twice a week at most. I dropped the circuit training.

    The problem is that weight training does a poor job of targeting the movements runners need to emphasize. Better to do a good job with the standard core stuff, drills, and plyometrics.

    If the real reason for weight training is to achieve that buff muscularity you might stick to shorter running events (or sprints). I’ve noticed that there is an anabolic response to anaerobic workouts and even experienced some hypertrophic effect without weightlifting.


    Would a bodyweight routine be considered part of that banned strength work for upper body?

    Such as core work (planks, sit ups and ab stuff), pushups, pullups, & chinups?

    I’m not adding any mass like in a traditional strength routine, just maintaining some basic ability now that I’m 50+. Of course, I don’t think the pros are doing a lot of pushups and chinups so I probably have my answer there.



    I have very up-tempo daily schedule and it is hard to incorporate longer strength training sessions. What I noticed is that when I had planned 45-90 min strength workout, it was way easier for me to miss the whole workout. Missing strength sessions will cost you in 1-3 months time. Result is some problem that inhibits your progress.
    So, I train whenever I can.
    Waiting for coffee – standing on one leg and doing calf raises, stability exercises
    Playing with kids – doing squats with overhead press, bear walk, playing while planking etc
    In the middle of foundation run – some jogging drills and plyometrics

    This way I can hide the 45-90min strength into everyday activities.
    But I still do some classic lifting. The moment i stopped training with heavier load, my knees started to hurt more.
    My goal is to be healthy and pretty fast runner for my body type. I will run 4:15-4:30 min/km HM and offseason still bench-press 130kg, squat 150kg, deadlift 180kg.
    At the moment my weight is 77kg and race-weight will be around 73-74kg. Age 34 for 1 more month.
    The endurance diet by M.Fitzgerald helps a lot. You get faster recovery time between sessions and your system is ready to fire with right fuel.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by vepn.
    Matt Fitzgerald

    The great thing about strength training is that a little goes a long way. You made a smart move by replacing dauntingly long workouts that you were likely to skip with a more realistic routine that’s easy to sustain.

    Marius T

    Hi Matt,

    I am taking this opportunity to give a little feed back about strength plan.
    I’m in the week 19 of the level 1 full ironman strength plan and till now I managed to follow it to the letter.

    I like the structure (2 days per week), good variety of exercises, easy to put it together in the apps with the triathlon plan and follow along.

    I really think that doing the plan kept me injury free and able to absorb the sessions. Especially when running, the core is feeling more engaged, and the whole body more stable.

    With your permission, I will make some suggestions that, in my opinion, will conduct to a better understating and execution of the plans:

    – Sessions are taking some time to be executed. I never did them under 70 min, although I took minimal breaks between sets, sometimes doing them circuit style.

    Because there a many unilateral movements (although I understand the reason), 1 pair of unilateral exercises is in fact 4 distinct exercises to be done in one set.

    Maybe a minimum effective dose of unilateral exercises will take less time to execute.

    – To gain time and to be able to split sessions, will be great if the program will indicate what exercises can be split together (strength orientated movements, core movements etc.). AJ already gave us a hint https://www.8020endurance.com/topic/splitting-the-strength-training-sessions/

    – Also, will be great if for the strength exercises there will be a system of progression (for e.g. base off % from 1 RM).

    For those that are familiar with the concept, maybe something like 5/3/1 progression with 5 PRO?


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