Triathlete who wants to lift
I compete in Olympic and sprint triathlons in the warmer months, but I want to return to weightlifting for strength and power as well. I want to do both. And I know that it is very difficult to do so. I'm not concerned with gaining 100% of the benefits of either strength or endurance training - I'm willing to compromise on one to include the other.
My reason for typing this post is to solicit advice. In general, here is my workout sequence for the "offseason": Saturday and/or Sunday, I do 5K runs or 1 hour bike rides. On Monday, I usually rest, but sometimes do a bodyweight strength workout. On Tuesday, I lift heavily, doing squats, bench, and some subsidiary leg work (barbell lunges etc.) and I also do a 1K swim and a few long sprints (400m and 200m, up to one mile total). On Wednesday, I row and run, doing a 5K in one or the other and a medium distance "sprint" in the other - for example, I may row a 5K and then run a mile time trial. Alternately, I may do a CF-style metcon that incorporates rowing and/or running. On Thursday, I rest. On Friday, I lift again, doing deadlifts, overhead presses, and rows along with subsidiary stuff (maybe an incline press). I also swim again, generally doing a 500m time trial and 5 or 6 50 and/or 100yd sprints. My current weight facility (a University gym) does not permit Oly lifting, but I plan on being at a new school next August and would like to bring it back in.
What I would like to do is two-fold. First, I want to expand my weightlifting to three days a week while maintaining my cardio work. Second, I want to be able to continue heavy lifting once the offseason ends and I begin really gearing up for a triathlon.
Does anyone have any programming suggestions? Can anyone speak from previous experience in trying to balance these crazy contradictions?
Thanks to any who take the time to read this much-too-long post. Thanks especially to those who post something.
Kudos for trying to want the best of both worlds, but it is tough. I too enjoy competing in sprint triathlons and other short endurance races. I recently did the Chicago Urbanathlon and a half marathon. Now my offseason is here and I plan on getting my strength numbers back up again.
You did not provide any information like where you are located (cold/snowy winters would make a difference in your conditioning programming), how old you are, what your recovery is like, and what is your prior experience with strength training. People much smarter than me and with much more experience can chime in, but I'll give it a go.
Your endurance and strength will cycle in waves, so take the opportunity this offseason to boost your strength so you are ready for the rigors of your upcoming season. Limit your swim/bike/run to maybe one session of each discipline each week. Be sure to cap your intensity on those sessions so as not to hurt your strength progress. Maintain your base only. If possible, drop the rowing (unless of course you are in an area where there is a lot of snow and running outside is not an option).
As far as lifting goes, a good 3x a week program I completed was the following:
Snatch - up to max for the day, 10-12 singles
Snatch Pull - 3x3
Front Squat - 5x3
OH Squat or Snatch Balance - 5x3
Push Press or Snatch Push Press - 5x5
RDL - 3x5
Clean & Jerk - up to max for the day, 8-10 singles
Clean Pull - 3x3
Back Squat - 5x5
Obviously you would want to do these on non-consecutive days. So you could alternate lifting days with conditioning days.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
Thanks for the reply. I am beginning to come to agree with you regarding the one-session-per-week of each triathlon exercise thing.
I'm in in the US Great Lakes region, so the rowing is meant to provide me with a cardio option that is weather-proof without shredding my legs.
If you haven't seen Alex Viada's power lifting / triathlon template, it's worth a look.
His general running and lifting template article provides much of the background, and his article on variations on this program includes a program for ironmen triathletes who also lift.
I'm not sufficiently competitive as a lifter or runner to really comment firsthand on this. The general template has worked well for me, although I haven't pushed things hard enough to tell whether the full program would lead to burnout for an old man like me. I suspect it would, but YMMV.
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