Saturday, March 8, 2014

Can You Lift And Run?

Picture from The Pit, Singapore
I often get this question from my patients. They are often keen to look for an edge over their friends to improve their running performance. Most of them are not sure how to schedule or juggle their track sessions, gym / strength training etc.

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 of the fatigue I feel after swimming and biking in a triathlon race.

Well, that's just me although research seems to suggest otherwise now (although this research paper was done on runners not triathletes).

Now this is strength training. Picture from The Pit, Singapore

No comments:

Post a Comment