I have been doing circuit training once a week for the last month and am in the process of deciding whether to renew my gym membership. I feel like it is doing me good but am wondering what it is achieving in relation to the rest of my training program.

At the moment I do three runs a week: two longer runs (one easy, one at 75%) and a speed session, plus a session down the gym (weights and machines) and an hour's five-a-side football played at an easy pace. I am not particaularly interested in marathons but would like to run more races between 5k and half-marathon and get under 20 minutes for the 5k by next spring (currently 23.5 after a months running).

Any advice?


  • Forrest

    Circuits are a good compliment to running as they help improve core stability and overall strength – I normally try to fit in 2 circuit sessions per week to help with strength training and an even balance.

    I’d say if you enjoy the change that going to the gym gives you continue with it

  • I used to do a lot of cicuit training. Unfortunatley running has somewhat taken over my training now. I still try to fit in the odd session & find the shuttle runs & squat-thrusts realy useful. I even saw one marathon schedual which had cicuit training in it.
  • I go to a weekly circuit session and feel it contributes to an all over body fitness. Running only really works the leg muscles so circuits are an excellent way to give the rest of the body a workout. I normally miss the session if I have an important race in the week, as sometimes the session is so hard it can take a few days to recover.
  • I've just got the qualification to teach circuits. If you enjoy it and you feel it's working you hard, do it. As a teacher the type of thing you can do in circuits is endless, so whether or not it's effective very much depends on what the teacher is doing. If it's aerobic fitness you're after, stick on your HR monitor. A class I went to on Tuesday night passed as a speed session for me - albeit a short one. As I'm training for a marathon, I do sometimes feel it's a cop out, and try to include it as extra to my schedule, not as a replacement. Anyway, I waffle! If you enjoy it, and you've got time to fit it in, you might as well just do it.
  • Thanks everyone for the advice and reassurance.

    At the class I go to there is plenty of variety with legs, arms, abs and heart all given a work-out with some stability work thrown in. I also seem to benefit from the stretches at the end. So I think I will stick with them for the forseeable future.

    In terms of my schedule, the football is becoming easier as the fitness improves and is now almost like a rest/recovery (its only for fun at work) so there is room for it, the gym and 3-4 runs a week.

    I keep asking questions on these forums and get lots of useful replies. I hope others are getting some benefit :-).

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