|Picture from The Pit, Singapore|
I normally share my own experience with my patients having spent consistent time in the gym thrice weekly year round when I was still training seriously for triathlons.
Recently I also saw a paper just published on the acute effects of strength training done by a group of Australian researchers.
The runners in this study did 3 different strength training sessions on 3 occasions. One was a high intensity session for the whole body, the second was high intensity for the legs only while the final session was low intensity for the whole body. 6 hours after each strength session, they did a treadmill test of running 10 minutes at easy pace (70% ventilatory threshold), 10 mins at 90% threshold pace (or similar to your half marathon race pace) and finally running as long as possible at 110% threshold pace.
Both high intensity strength sessions significantly lessened the run time to exhaustion (5 mins prior to starting strength training compared with 4 mins after), suggesting that a hard weights/ strength training done 6 hours before will affect your fast running performance. The researchers suggested that runners should not run hard if they had done a strength session earlier in the day as they needed a longer time to recuperate. In fact they found that the ability to run at maximal effort was still impaired 24 hours after doing weights/ strength training for the legs.
Good news for runners is that running at lower intensities were unaffected by the strength training workouts. So you can do weights and run 6 hours later as long as the run is easy to moderate. The researchers suggested running first in the morning before a strength session later in the day after work for optimal recovery.
My take before I saw this paper? Well, when I used to race triathlons, I like to strength train first then run (or swim or bike for that matter) since in a triathlon I'm always fatigued by the run having swam and biked hard before. Doing weights first followed by running would mimic some the fatigue I feel after swimming and biking in a triathlon race.
Well, that's just me, though research seems to suggest otherwise now (although this paper was done on runners not triathletes).
|Now this is strength training. Picture from The Pit, Singapore|