Weight Training

I am confused about whether to weight train or not. What exercises to do to aid my running.
How often and what reps to do in weight/strength training.

I am happy with my weight and size. I don't need to lose weight really, just tone up a bit more and that's it.

I used to weight train up until a few months ago and I started bulking up, but that was before I got 'into' running.
I then dropped the weights for a while because I was on holiday and just ran outside. I liked it.

I came back home and didn't pick up the weights again. I now do press ups and ab work 2 x per week for about 20 minutes or so.
Is this enough or should I be doing weights as well?

Whenever I am in the weights room all I want to do is go next door and run on the treadmill. Motivation please!



  • Beth - I have been out of the weights room for about 2 months. My general condition has suffered but I have increased my weekly milage sso feeling OK about it. That said I'm now getting aches during and after the long run some of which I wouldn't expect if I was stronger.

    So I'm going back in - lighter weights, more reps to try to avoid the bulk and the muscle tear which stopped me before. Twice a week including abs work and some cross training to keep my pulse up around the 60 - 65% mark, about 1hr each time.

    Good luck with your efforts and remember that the weights will help you avoid injury. And thus run more consistently.
  • A couple of tips Beth - weight train after the running to avoid bulking up and to make sure you get quality training. If you do lots of distance running you won't bulk up anyway. Also, if you are racing, leave a couple of days off of weight training beforehand to keep fresh legs.

    You could get away with doing just 3 key, compound weights exercises, of about 3 sets of 10reps each. Try doing half squats, bench presses and 1-arm rows or assissted pull-ups.

    Good luck, Mowgli.
  • Beth, whatever you decide to do you will find a body of running opinion that will back you up. Some are keen on weights and others wouldn't dream of risking their precious legs in a gym. And many recreational runners just never get round even to thinking about doing weight training, and Peak Performance says we do all the wrong stuff anyway.

    I enjoy doing weights. I like having visible muscles in my arms and calves, and abs the my son bounces off when he headbutts me (it doesn't half hurt when his shorter sister copies him, though!), and like Mij I do lots of light reps rather than the stuff where you need a spotter to lift the barbell up and put it down for you. My programme is simple - I do one or two Bodypump classes a week, and sometimes a few press-ups and crunches and calf raises between times. The exercises are of the low-weight, high-rep endurance type, which is what we runners need. And I am not one bit bulky!

    Remember that even though you don't run on your arms, muscle is metabolically greedy stuff and eats its way through 30-50 calories per pound per day just ticking over. So the more, the better, if you like a full plate but don't want to gain weight.

    Give it a whirl. You can always stop if you don't enjoy it.

    Cheers, V-rap.

  • ps. Anyone got any tips on how to get a bit of muscle to grow over my glockenspiel ribs? Bench presses, wingies and press-ups haven't made a bit of difference.
  • Like V-Rap I'm a big fan of BodyPump classes. If you need motivation to do weights then you should try it. It certainly beats doing weights on your own in a gym.
  • Thanks everybody.

    After thinking about my thread and about being stronger and metabolism etc etc (V-rap: I do like a full plate!) I actually went into the weights room this morning and spent 25 minutes using 5/10lbs weights depending on the exercise.

    I worked the triceps, biceps, back, shoulders with free weights (3 x 10 reps for each)and the chest by doing push ups. For abs I did crunches & reverse crunches.

    What do you reckon?

  • I do weights once a week. I usually use about 15-20kgs lift, superslow about 8 reps, on the machines for the upper body bits, then use 5-10 kgs, 15-20 reps for the legs. Legs is more for toning, upper body trying to not look so weedy.
    after going round the machines, i do sit ups and crunches for the stomach, then have a really good stretching session that lasts about 20-25 minutes (and makes up for the 10 minute after run stretch sessions i usually do.)
  • Thanks Dangly. Good to know what another woman does.
  • Although you run you should consider your legs as well, since running does not build up both sides of each leg equally. So you need to exercise the muscle groups that running does not hit. Unfortunately I can't remember which way around it is - but would suggest you add knee extensions and leg curls.
  • Runners tend to develop their hamstrings (back of the thighs) at the expense of the quadriceps (front of the thighs), and the lateral quadriceps tend to be stronger than the medial quadriceps (vastus medialis is the main muscle there; gracilis is small print for most people). Specific exercises to work the vastus medialis can help to avoid patellar tracking problems (runner's knee). Using the resistance machine that has you starting in an inelegant legs-splayed position and bringing your legs to the midline will do this; alternatively, there are simple exercises for which the only props you need are a weighted bag or a step.
  • can any one give me details of some curcuit traning for runners ie sit [email protected] ups etc what is the for overall condition of the body as well as running.

    cheers scunner
  • Hello Scunner

    An interesting and very important point for all runners who tend to neglect their overall strength. If you are starting out I would suggest investing in a Gym Ball and progressing to Circuits later. By all means Sit-Ups/Press Ups are one of the best Circuit Training methods(Dont forget Dorsal Raises for stability) No more than three times a week is my motto. Good luck with your running
  • hello sean
    thanks very much for your help as i have been away from running for 2years now and . i ran marathons for 10years and stoped two years and now trying hard to make a come back.

    cheers scunner
  • For anyone who still cares, I have started weight training, with light weights, twice per week and it seems to be working out pretty well.

    I work the chest, shoulders, biceps, top/middle and lower back, triceps and abs doing one exercise on each body part.
    I don't train the legs, I leave that to the running.

    Takes about 25 minutes in all plus a 10 minutes warm up on the treadmill and 10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

  • Scunner

    The following is only an example and should be adapted to what works for you

    The circuit training routine I follow is base around 16 exercises:

    Bent knee sit ups – Hyperextensions – Leg Curls – Leg Extensions –
    Shoulder Press – Wide Grip Pull Downs – Close Grip Pull Downs – Chest Press -
    Chin Ups – Dips – Lunges – Peck Deck –
    Seated Row – Dumbbell Curls – Triceps Press – Side Lateral Raises

    I use the 60 second approach where:

    WEEKS 1-3 = 20 second exercise 40 seconds recover
    WEEKS 4-6 = 30 second exercise 30 seconds recover
    WEEKS 7-10 = 40 second exercise 40 seconds recover

    Use controlled deliberate movements during the exercise
    Use the Recovery period to move from one piece of equipment to the next
    If the next piece of kit you want is in use just move on to another exercise in your list – Order is un-important

    Start by doing each exercise twice (total time 32 mins)
    Second time through the 10 week = 3 times
    3rd time = 4 time

    Aim to circuit train twice per week

  • Well done, Beth!

    I don't know if it makes any difference, but I try to do 20-30 minutes of something aerobic (usually swimming or the stepper) at the end of each Bodypump class to remind my muscles that I'm a wannabe endurance athlete, not a bodybuilder.
  • V-rap

    You've just given me a good laugh - The image of a hard core bodybuilder in a Bodypump class - I can just see it now :-))
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