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RC Liley
07-13-2011, 02:11 PM
I've searched and read on this forum as well as others, but wanted to post my own question on the topic. I've run about 10 marathons over the past years with specifically only training by running. I'd do some weight training, but not very consistent.

I have now been doing more weight training with compound lifts about 3 or 4 times a week. With this, I have one day of sprinting (10 x 200 m hill sprints usually) and one day of 90+ minutes running. If I'm able, I will do a regular, easy run during the week too.

Does anyone follow or know of a good training template to work on strength gains while training for an endurance event like a marathon or ultra race? I am aware of CrossFit Endurance and it seems like a good program, just not sure what else is out there and works. It doesn't have to be anything published, just mainly concerned with how others train with similar goals. I want to gain strength on the major lifts like squat, bench, power clean, press, etc. while maintaining and training for endurance. I have it pounded in my head that "mileage is king," but have heard some opposing views.

Any links or input is greatly appreciated. I am a 27 y/o male, 5'10 and 151lbs...medium build. Haven't really gained weight while lifting because I should probably eat more....even then I know this, I need to actually do it!

Ben Byram
07-14-2011, 05:06 AM
I think you aren't going to improve your strength considerably (beyond a novice level) without compromising your endurance as they involve different types of adaptation, especially if you gain considerable weight. For myself this certainly holds true, I am a natural ectomorph and can do very limited endurance work if I want to get any stronger.

This will be somewhat dependant on how much strength you have already developed.

That's my thoughts anyway...

Derek Weaver
07-14-2011, 05:25 AM
Miles make champions and crossfit endurance or any other crossfit "program" is awful.
You can get stronger while training for endurance. But you won't break any world records, it'll take longer to get smaller gains etc. I am pretty sure a few guys around here have done some stuff like what you are talking about. Maybe Cyril?

RC Liley
07-14-2011, 07:31 AM
Miles make champions and crossfit endurance or any other crossfit "program" is awful.
You can get stronger while training for endurance. But you won't break any world records, it'll take longer to get smaller gains etc. I am pretty sure a few guys around here have done some stuff like what you are talking about. Maybe Cyril?

Thank you both for the comments. I agree these are two different areas that usually don't improve together. I am not looking to make huge strength gains while endurance training, so I understand the minimal amount. I just want to keep some good weekly barbell sessions in there to work on squat, press, and power clean mainly.

I was just curious to see if anyone knew of or had their own routine that works for them or someone they know. I understand we're all unique in our training styles and adaptations, but it's nice to have something to go off of.

On CrossFit, I agree, some of the WODs are worthwhile, but most seem like they're asking for injury.

Ben Byram
07-14-2011, 09:03 AM
Just from my personal experience... when I've done both strength and endurance work together I've found it best to keep them as separate as possible, so strength work isn't impaired by the endurance stuff. I'd recommend keeping the day before squats and power cleans preferably completely free or a very easy recovery endurance session so your legs are fresh when you need it most.

If you're training weights 3/4 times per week I'd think alternating a upper and lower body session would be sufficient and you could do an easy run immediately after the upper body session or weights am and endurance pm if you wanted. Otherwise 2 abbreviated full-body weights sessions trained hard would seem sufficient.

In Joel Jamieson's book, he suggest low intensity cardio between heavy weights exercises. I'm not sure I fancy that myself, but it would add to your overall endurance volume using minimal time.

You could cycle weeks/fortnights or more emphasising more endurance work over strength and then vice versa; or just train full 8 week blocks building strength whilst maintaining endurance, then switch the qualities.

I'm just babbling random thoughts which you may already know, but perhaps you can pull something out of that. Hope it helps.

RC Liley
07-14-2011, 11:57 AM
Just from my personal experience... when I've done both strength and endurance work together I've found it best to keep them as separate as possible, so strength work isn't impaired by the endurance stuff. I'd recommend keeping the day before squats and power cleans preferably completely free or a very easy recovery endurance session so your legs are fresh when you need it most.

If you're training weights 3/4 times per week I'd think alternating a upper and lower body session would be sufficient and you could do an easy run immediately after the upper body session or weights am and endurance pm if you wanted. Otherwise 2 abbreviated full-body weights sessions trained hard would seem sufficient.

In Joel Jamieson's book, he suggest low intensity cardio between heavy weights exercises. I'm not sure I fancy that myself, but it would add to your overall endurance volume using minimal time.

You could cycle weeks/fortnights or more emphasising more endurance work over strength and then vice versa; or just train full 8 week blocks building strength whilst maintaining endurance, then switch the qualities.

I'm just babbling random thoughts which you may already know, but perhaps you can pull something out of that. Hope it helps.

Thank you, Ben, you're babbling is well received! Some of these are thoughts that have crossed my mind, but I didn't considered switching training blocks...I like that idea.

Also, I am not setting a goal time for the marathon I'm running in December, I PR'd with 2:53 about 2 years ago and am happy (enough) with that. The speed training became torture since I ran several races before nailing it...so I kinda burned myself out on just strict running.

I was thinking about either a 3 day/wk full body or 4 day/wk upper/lower split with one sprint session, an easy run somewhere in between and a 90+ minute run at least every two weeks. I feel I have a good endurance base on the past several years of training and just want to maintain it to finish marathons or ultras.

Ben Byram
07-14-2011, 12:59 PM
That's some going on the marathon!

I think alternating 6-8 week blocks would be best.

3 full-body sessions is plenty without any endurance work, so my preference would be to try a 3 day upper-lower split on top of what you are doing. 4 sessions is too much. That way you'll train everything once every 5 days and give yourself a decent chance of recovery. Just make sure you hammer the protein (1.5xLBM) particularly on weight training days.

Better to do too little and increase frequency or volume slowly than drive yourself into the ground prematurely, push very hard on the weights the last few weeks.

On endurance blocks, I think 2 full-body sessions will be enough for maintenance.

That's how I'd do it anyway. Good luck!

RC Liley
07-14-2011, 01:32 PM
That's some good advice. Think I'll give it a try. Thanks again, hopefully I can report back with some good results. If anyone ever comes across some links, please post them as I always enjoy good reading material. :D

Derek Weaver
07-14-2011, 03:36 PM
Ben's got good stuff there.

As for the actual workouts, you may like Shaf's ladders.
http://beyondstrong.typepad.com/shafsblog/2007/05/a_primer_on_lad.html

Good way to not completely blow yourself out if you get a little gung ho.

Warren Rupaprt
07-14-2011, 10:54 PM
Not to hijack the OP's original post, but I've been having some of the same questions from the opposite perspective--how do I build up a good endurance base while maintaining (or at least not loosing too much) strength?

I've been focused primarily on gaining strength for the last 6+ months (4 strength days a week, with 2 short "metcons"), and have made decent gains on Squat, DL, PC, Press & Bench. However, my running endurance has taken a huge hit, and I need to build it back up for several events coming up this fall, starting in October. What's the smartest (or at least a smart) way to do this? I don't expect to gain strength, as I just don't seem to be built that way. However, I'd like to minimize it's loss if it all possible.

Two templates I've contemplated are:

1.) Wendler 5/3/1 twice a week, with Squat/Press one day and DL/Bench the next. Plus, three running days per week, focused first on building up an endurance base (3-4 miles) 3x a week, then switching to 2x a week sprints/intervals/hills/tempo with 1 longer run (building to 5-6 miles).

2.) Twice a week lifting, with 5x5 Squat/5x5 Press one day and 3x5 DL/3x5 Bench the next (each starting at, say, 75% of my 1RM and incrementing weekly?). Plus, three running days per week, focused first on building up an endurance base (3-4 miles) 3x a week, then switching to 2x a week sprints/intervals/hills/tempo with 1 longer run (building to 5-6 miles).

Are these templates sound, or are there better/smarter ways to do this? Should I simply replace the "pure strength" days for now with some properly chosen CF WODs, such as "Cindy" and perhaps 5K rowing as examples? In other words, workouts that, while maintaining some strength, better match the endurance domain I'm trying to adapt to?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Ben Byram
07-15-2011, 08:38 AM
My thoughts... Firstly I'd suggest a minimum of 3 endurance sessions a week improve, I guess 4/5 would be better. I'd do weights twice per week kept simply squat/push/pull. Squat, bench, dead one session - power clean, press, squat on the other. I would need to do twice per week as a natural rake build, whenever I've tried once per week what little strength I have falls off a cliff especially on squats, not so much on deads and presses somewhere between. If you can get away with once per week maintenance try squat, bench, dead (alternated weekly with PC), press assistance. The less time spent training strength, the more time you have to build endurance.

If you're maintaining strength you don't require the same volume or frequency, but must maintain intensity. Apparently you can do 1/3 of either and maintain, I find I need more frequency than that, as above. 5x5 squats won't be conducive to redeveloping endurance and is unnecessary. If you've been doing 4x5 for instance, just do 2x5 with the same weight... and so on.

Sack the circuits / WODS. I don't see the point given your aims, they just eat into your recovery ability.

I don't think developing endurance is too difficult, just put the time in at appropriate intensity. Focus on long-steady duration, more intense if you are training for less duration over the week (threshold type stuff) and save intervals (hard ones anyway) for short spells to peak the base of endurance you've establishing leading up to that point.

michael perolio
07-19-2011, 08:16 AM
I think if you used Coach Ruts "Max Effort Black Box" (3 workouts per week: 1 Full Body, 1 Lower, 1 Upper all followed by a short SMART Metcon around 15 minutes or less) with some dedicated endurance work. 3-4 days a week.

I really like the training that he shares for free. I used it to prepare for Combat Control school and could not have been happy. It gave me a dedicated strength program that also allowed me to program in the extra stuff I needed (Running, Swimming, Cals, Sport Specific)

Mike

Warren Rupaprt
07-19-2011, 08:25 PM
Ben and Michael, thanks for your thoughtful replies. Two questions: First, when figuring out a weekly workout schedule, is it best to put the strength day(s) immediately after a rest day (so you're more "fresh"), or immediately before (after you're tired from running the previous days, but will have a day off to recover)?

Second: With respect to the MEBB programing, where does one find "SMART" metcons? I'm assuming cf.com wouldn't be the best place to look in general. :D

As something of a side note, I'm currently amazed at how far my endurance has fallen over the last 4-6 months, even doing short (8-12 minute) metcons twice a week along with lifting. When I switched to a primary focus on strength in early February, I had built my running up to two interval/tempo runs a week, plus one longer run up to 5 miles. Now, as I'm trying to build back up to just running two miles three times a week while lifting twice a week, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to just make it through the two miles. Plus, I'm sore, tired, and finding myself struggling with squat weights that were relatively easy a month ago.

Perhaps I didn't take enough of a break between my strength program (where I was right at the end of a linear progression) and starting back into endurance training. Regardless of the reason, I certainly feel humbled on all fronts right now. I may need to scale WAY back on the lifting for a few weeks while I focus on running some distance and recovering.

Shane Skowron
07-20-2011, 08:55 AM
Ben and Michael, thanks for your thoughtful replies. Two questions: First, when figuring out a weekly workout schedule, is it best to put the strength day(s) immediately after a rest day (so you're more "fresh"), or immediately before (after you're tired from running the previous days, but will have a day off to recover)?

I'm not Ben nor Michael.
But I would say if you add in more strength sessions without regard to rest day, your body will sort of autoregulate based on daily strength level.

Personally I've set PRs on days where I was tired and felt like crap and on days that I was completely fresh. I've also failed to set PR's even though I expected them on days I felt like crap and on days I was completely fresh.


Now, as I'm trying to build back up to just running two miles three times a week while lifting twice a week, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to just make it through the two miles. Plus, I'm sore, tired, and finding myself struggling with squat weights that were relatively easy a month ago.


Personally I would do half that volume 5-6 times per week. I think you will make better progress and feel less burned out. You need to develop a base, and it's hard to develop a base on only a couple sessions per week. Much easier to maintain on a couple sessions per week, though.

Ideally if these runs are nice and easy you'll be making the necessary adaptations to building a base and you'll be spending most of your time in the oxidative pathway. Go too fast and you'll use the other energy pathways, which are harder to recovery from obviously, and you need these pathways for lifting too.
So unless you are completely glycogen depleted or are going too fast, your runs should not hamper your recovery for lifting too much.

michael perolio
07-21-2011, 04:05 PM
go to this link. WFS
www.bootcampfitnesskc.com/the-fitness-conduit/

Every MWF he will post both a strength and a metcon for you. The guess work is done.

Also keep in mind that you are the only one that will know what you really need to do.

I try to get my runs in at lunch and my strength in at night. I also swim 2-3 times a week and run 2-4 times a week. This is just how my schedule works.

I actually got this from Shane (Shane, please forgive me if I state incorrect) for some of my runs was to do them at the end of the week when you feel like dog crap. Shane posted that he will do it to simulate tired legs for an ultra. While I would like to do a Ultra in the near future, I use them as a mental test. If I can do it when I am beat I can do it better when I am fresh.

Ben Byram
07-25-2011, 02:15 AM
Ben and Michael, thanks for your thoughtful replies. Two questions: First, when figuring out a weekly workout schedule, is it best to put the strength day(s) immediately after a rest day (so you're more "fresh"), or immediately before (after you're tired from running the previous days, but will have a day off to recover)?

Second: With respect to the MEBB programing, where does one find "SMART" metcons? I'm assuming cf.com wouldn't be the best place to look in general. :D

As something of a side note, I'm currently amazed at how far my endurance has fallen over the last 4-6 months, even doing short (8-12 minute) metcons twice a week along with lifting. When I switched to a primary focus on strength in early February, I had built my running up to two interval/tempo runs a week, plus one longer run up to 5 miles. Now, as I'm trying to build back up to just running two miles three times a week while lifting twice a week, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to just make it through the two miles. Plus, I'm sore, tired, and finding myself struggling with squat weights that were relatively easy a month ago.

Perhaps I didn't take enough of a break between my strength program (where I was right at the end of a linear progression) and starting back into endurance training. Regardless of the reason, I certainly feel humbled on all fronts right now. I may need to scale WAY back on the lifting for a few weeks while I focus on running some distance and recovering.
Warren,

Sorry the reply has taken a while, I've been busy getting married and I'm currently on honeymoon!

Anyhooo.... In response to your first question I think doing strength workouts 'fresh' is more productive, if you always train in a fatigued state you just can't lift enough to improve. This isn't necessarily a problem on top of a high frequency program, but I think it is if you've only time for a couple of weights days per week. I'm not 100% sure on the answer to this question honestly, but this fits with my experience and simply makes sense if you need to maintain intensity to keep strength when reducing frequency and volume. You won't maintain intensity with battered legs obviously. You could always do upper the following day though.

I don't know about specific met cons, but know enough that if you want endurance, do endurance. Circuits develop several qualities to a moderate level, but to be good you should forget them. If you aim to build endurance and maintain strength, then they serve no purpose. If you want to do them no worries, but the reason your endurance has dropped in my opinion is because they are simply too short. Endurance requires training your oxidative system for reasonable durations, so simply do that with some common sense applied to strength work without destroying yourself trying to do too much. 3x30' runs would do as a minimum to start without getting all fancy.

Warren Rupaprt
07-25-2011, 09:47 PM
Gentlemen,

Thank you for your thoughtful answers (even when on your honeymoon in Ben's case!).

Let me see if I can summarize the advice/perspective I've received here:

1.) First and foremost, 3 endurance workouts a week is a MINIMUM for building my base back up. 4-5 is much better, even if it means lower initial time/distance.
2.) Strength can be maintained (more or less) by keeping up intensity while reducing volume. Two sessions a week is probably the realistic max (assuming a "whole body" type session--squat/press/pull, etc).
3.) Perhaps most importantly--it seems as though endurance runners (who want to be strong) prefer to put running first in their day, then strength train later (ordering their efforts by priority of importance).

So it sounds like the best options for me are to either:

a.) Workout five days a week, with two strength sessions and three endurance sessions on separate days. This would *seem* to be the best compromise for both purposes.
b.) Workout four to five days a week, but on two of those days, add a strength session in the afternoon (assuming morning runs). Adjust all sessions as needed to keep building endurance and avoid burning out.

Considering what I know of my daily/weekly schedule, I'm thinking option "a" will have to be my choice for now, re-evaluating every four weeks or so and adjusting as necessary. Perhaps a Wendler 5/3/1 with a two-day-per-week split, throwing in minimum assistance work on the strength days? (I'm assuming a little bit of restraint on the max-rep squat & deadlift sets will be called for).

One last question if I may: For someone who wants to be a good runner who is strong, is it best to build the endurance base first, then add the strength on top of that (ie, have I done it all backwards recently)? And what are realistic strength benchmarks (squat, DL, etc.) for such a person?

Ben Byram
07-26-2011, 12:11 AM
I think you've summarised it well. Start with that and adjust as you feel necessary like you say. For maintenance I would shy away from 10 reps or more, i think that would be a bit high for strength maintenance. I'd stop a rep short of failure every time, any less and strength will slowly drop off I reckon. You may well be different, but I'd squat both sessions, deadlift one and bench / press both. If you're squatting both sessions i bet you could 531 one day and a couple of 5's the other, then you've covered the heavy with the 5s and got some reps with AMRAP. Assistance is clearly down to you.

I believe endurance first, strength second is more effective. Endurance base benefits strength and less so vice versa.

I hope it works for you.