Weight training

Me again!
I wonder if anyone has any weight training tips for runners.

I want to be strong and toned but not inhibit my running in any way or bulk up.
Reps/days per week and exercises would be v. helpful.




  • Hi Beth,

    I do a great deal of lifting in addition to the running. For the kind of results you want, it is generally best to lift weights that feel on the lightish side, but to do a lot of repetitions. This builds your endurance and stamina, but when done correctly, tends to circumvent the bulking up that you get from heavy lifting. You'll want to do a fair bit of upper body work, but you should also do protective work for your knees, to balance the muscles built through running: these would include leg press, leg curls and extensions. Strengthening of the back (lat pulldowns) and core work (abdominals) are also very important. And don't overdo, especially at the beginning.

    When you start lifting, it is really important that you get experienced supervision and advice, as you can injure yourself otherwise. Try to find a coach for a few sessions if possible, if you have not done so already.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the tips. I'll keep off heavy leg work then.

    I used to quite heavy lifting until I really got into running so I'm OK with what to do I'll just keep it light, but ta very much anyway. I needed to know WHAT to do.

  • Ooh, just a quick one - how often do you weight train?
  • Heigh ho again Beth,

    I depends on the time of year and what fitnnes goals I have in mind! In winter, I'll lift three times a week - at which time I look quite well-defined musclewise but my running is slower; in summer twice a week - during which time I look a bit on the skinny and weedy side, but can run quite fast.

    Still, I have to say, after several years of lifting, I can lift as well as some of the guys in my gym, even on my weedy days!

    Bonne chance!

  • Beth

    Why not use that fan?

    Seriously though, strength endurance is the key - the ability of your muscles to repeatedly maintain a workload. There is a place for strength training in every runner's programme.

    Assuming no weaknesses in your bod (especially lower back), a good start could be to use your own body weight. Go for say 100 press ups and 200 crunches each day, divided into sets you can easily manage. Progression is key - make it harder by increasing the size of each set / increasing total number of reps. "Bridging" is also good - onto all 4's, then lift left arm / right leg together, hold, then swop, repeat set as required. Good for core body strength. If you prefer the weights in the gym, squat machines are good (4 sets of 12, you pick the weight where you can make the last rep as good as the first one).Watch leg raises / hamstring curls / rowing as they can stress the knees / lower back. Lat pull downs, curls etc are all good, and 4 x 12 guideline is fine.

    Personally, I prefer a 2000 metre session in the pool which has great strength /cv benefits and less chance of injury. 500m warm up, 10 / 100m effort, 500m cool down.

    Allow about 12 weeks for real strength gains to show, as I'm sure you know.

  • Thanks Gavin. Good tips.
    Maybe I don't have to use weights at all.
    I'm not very good at press ups unfortunately so 100 a day would be hard for me...
    I have a pool in my building though.
  • I only go to the gym once a week for about an hour. I do 5 mins on the bike and 5 mins on the rower to warm up, then use the weights machines.
    For my legs i do the leg press, leg extention and hamstring press thingie (I'm not up to the technical names at this time of day!!), 8 superslow (5 seconds up and down), the do the arms - pec dec, lat pull down, arm rower and biceps curl. Again all at superslow pace - usually do 10 or 12. Then i use the free weights (4kg hand weights) and do 15: flyers for back and front, biceps and triceps, plus overhead lift to expand ribcage. I finish with setting my watch beeper for 30 seconds and do a series of 10 different stretches, holding each for 30 seconds. (The beeper sends the other gym users scurrying to their bags to check their mobile phones!!!)
    It all fits into an hour.
  • Dangly spice - I was also going to go once a week (don't want to get bulky at all)but have been reading up that 2/3 times a week is better. Do you find that once is really enough?
    Thanks for the exercises.
  • Beth

    How often you compliment your training with a weight session should be dictated by the cycle your training is in – During base training (for me in the winter) it is good to do a couple of session a week and work on you strength (5- 8 reps) – as you move into the build cycle continue with 2 sessions but decrees the weight and increase the number of reps (12-15) when you start to enter you race / peek cycle reduce the sessions to once per week and maintain the higher rep approach.

    PS don’t worry about getting all bulky, this take a lot more than a couple of sessions per week


  • I can't stand gyms myself, horrible smelly places. :-)

    I do an exercise class called "Body Pump" which is ideal. It's a workout with weights, to music. The duration, and hence repetitions forces you to keep the weight down, and the class is structured to work all your muscles evenly.
    I'm not an accomplished runner so I can't vouch for its effectiveness any more than to say that it seems to fit all the criteria (low weights, high reps etc ) and it's a lot more fun than working on your own in a gym (but perhaps that's just because we've got a great instructor!)
  • Thanks for all the tips.
    I decided that I will start by doing light weight training one day a week with a warm up on the treadmill then I will cross train another day by doing half running/half swimming.
    For the weeksn that I can't get to the gym to do weights I will do some press up, squat and ab work at home.
    Let's see how that goes.
    Thanks again. What a great friendly forum!

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  • Just to give you some peace of mind Beth, I've been doing weights (high reps with as much weight I could take without having to give up midway) 4 times a week for 2 years now and I'm not what you'd consider bulky in the least. Women need to do a lot of really hard training plus serious diet modification to start bulking up. It's just not in our genetic make up. 

    Might be worth seeing if your local gym does BodyPump classes. That makes a good introduction to free weights and helps you get good form too.

  • Is it possible to do a jogging and put some weight on both hands?

    Weight Lifting Routine
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