Video: How to Schedule Strength Workouts In Your Training

by Jason Fitzgerald

Running and strength training seem at odds with each other – but actually, they complement one another perfectly.

Strength Workouts

Many runners fall into the trap of only running without any other exercises in their training.

There are many different components of athleticism – the building blocks of fitness. They include:

  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Coordination

Which ones do you need to work on?

To be the best runner you can be, you need to develop every aspect of athleticism. They’re all intertwined and related; neglecting one means your entire fitness foundation is sitting on shaky ground.

Of course, many new runners feel lost when it comes to anything except running. Heading out for a run is easy – but scheduling strength workouts, flexibility routines, and even injury prevention exercises is daunting.

Have you ever asked yourself…

Should I do core exercises before or after my run? Do I do them on days I’m not running?

What exercises will help my constant achilles tendonitis?

How often should I do strength exercises when I’m training for a marathon?

Most runners succumb to analysis by paralysis – there’s so much information out there that they do the simplest thing: nothing!

Unfortunately, that’s not the most productive solution. Runners who invest in a PR Race Plan from me can see how certain routines are scheduled, which exercises help their injuries, and the frequency of the workouts.

But why exactly should you care about strength workouts? Indeed, as runners we just want to run!

Why Strength Train?

Building your general strength and overall athleticism allows you to run more and train harder without succumbing to the (seemingly) inevitable overuse injury. They’re your insurance policy against injury.

The premise of strength exercises for runners include:

  1. Runners are good at forward motion (like running straight ahead), but side to side (frontal plane) and rotational (transverse plane) motion are typically our weak areas. The right strength workouts increase our capabilities in these planes of motion so we can run more consistently with fewer injuries.
  2. Strength work increases your beneficial hormonal profile. You’ll produce more testosterone and human growth hormone (even for a woman, this is a very good thing!) which leads to faster recovery and better performances. Strength exercises are restorative and build strength, while running breaks you down.

So if you were a pro, you’d spend about an hour or more every day getting strong, flexible, and injury resistant.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have unlimited time to train unless you’re a sponsored athlete. No worries – you can still get the majority of benefits from strength training in about 15-20 minutes per day.

You only need about ten minutes before and after every run to complete a dynamic warm-up and strength routine. Both can dramatically improve your overall athleticism and reduce your risk of injury.

In this interview with Jeff Gaudette of Runners Connect, I talk about the best ways to schedule strength training, what systems to avoid (like P90X), and how minimalism and strength training are related.

Jeff is a former professional runner who competed for the Hansons Brooks team. As an Olympic Trials Qualifier in both the marathon and 10k (as well as a 4:04 miler!), he knows his stuff and it was a pleasure chatting about running.

The Importance of Systems

It seems that strength exercises are the first thing that runners skip if they’re pressed for time. But systems ensure that you get in your training, are held accountable, and continue getting faster.

Here are a few examples of successful systems:

  • Following a proven training program (that you’ve paid for to increase your chances of completing it)
  • Running when you have the most energy (usually either in the morning or early evening)
  • Writing a public training journal to hold yourself accountable

It seems simple, doesn’t it? But how many of us spend hundreds of dollars on GPS watches, the latest running shoes, and fancy gear when these things don’t actually make you a better runner? 

I chuckle when I hear so many runners complain about their injury woes – yet they haven’t taken action on proven strategies for staying healthy. Instead they’ll buy their 7th pair of $120 shoes, thinking that will cure them (it probably won’t).

But one system that actually works is Strength Training for Runners – the only step-by-step, comprehensive strength workout program for runners that I’m aware of.

Strength Training for Runners

Created by Jeff and his team at Runners Connect, this program is what I wished I had years ago (and I’m kicking myself for not creating something like this myself!).

It’s premise is simple:

Runners want to run faster and stay healthy without injuries. The best way to do that is to get strong with proven exercises, strength routines, and a progressive way of adding them to your training.

No more wondering if you’re doing the right exercises.

No more wondering if your form is weird (they have videos for every exercise – and PDF’s).

No more worrying that certain exercises are too advanced (just follow the beginner workouts and progressions).

Strength Training for Runners provides everything you need to not only stay healthy, but improve your performance:

  1. Specific strength progressions for the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon
  2. Injury prescriptions for achilles tendonitis, shin splints, ITBS, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, and more
  3. Bonus interviews with running experts to help you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing

Check out the full details here.

This program has been wildly successful so I know you’re going to love it. I very rarely promote any other products on SR so you know it must be good.

I stand by this system so strongly that I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: I’m going to help you fit these routines into your training.

The first 10 people who forward their receipt to me can join me in a Google+ Hangout for up to an hour to chat about the program, how best to use it, get your questions answered, and how to schedule these strength workouts.

Just buy it on Runners Connect here and then send me your receipt at support@strengthrunning [dot] com.

Note: the Google+ Hangout offer is now over. 

Until then – stay healthy, stay strong, and run fast!

PS. I’m an affiliate for this program because I love it and I use it. If you buy it through my link above, you’ll support SR and I’ll earn a little beer money… ahem… running shoe money. I’d still recommend this program even if there was no incentive for me, though.

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Jeff Gaudette

Thanks so much, Jason. It’s awesome and humbling to have a coach and runner of your caliber believe so strongly in the product and system.

For your audience, I’ll will be available in the comments section here if you have questions about the program or if I can help in any way,

Stay healthy!

Stacey

This question is for Jason – Jason if we were to purchase a coaching plan from you would you incorporate these strength training exercises into our individualized plan? Or would we have to purchase this product and incorporate them into it ourselves?

Jason Fitzgerald

Hi Stacey, good question. If you got a personalized training plan, you’d also need to get Strength Training for Runners since otherwise you wouldn’t know what the routines are. Plus it has a lot of progressions and prescriptions that go beyond what a training plan entails. If you buy both, I’ll help you with fitting them in your plan (I’ve done this before).

Erick

(Sorry for the long comment. The tale grew in the telling.)

Background: I am male, “healthy” BMI, pushing 40, and have been running for just over a year now. I have worked through various chronic lower leg pains (first upper Achilles, then lower Achilles/heel, then a sore spot of muscle on the “outside” midway between ankle and knee) as I worked from couch to 5K through 10K to a recent failed marathon bid (had to back off training to heal). I am probably the perfect target audience for both Jason and Jeff’s products to avoid injury as I develop my running.

And yet, I am hesitant to commit to one of these programs, because I have never been an athlete. I applaud the accomplishments of runners who have competed since their youth, and have built on their natural capacity to perform at the highest levels. I simply do not see the personal application of a training plan that helps these good athletes become great ones, since I do not feel that I have ever had the same natural capacity.

I want to complete a marathon, I aspire to complete an ultramarathon, and want to “build…mileage but can’t seem to run more without getting hurt” (quote from the Runners Connect link). Could either of you give me a few reasons why plans designed by and for Division I All-Americans will help someone like me, who will always be in the mid-to-back of the pack?

Jason Fitzgerald

Hey Erick – I’ll keep this short: the plans that both Jeff and I write are for runners of all abilities. They’re custom built and personalized to your fitness level, background, history of racing/injuries/running, etc. In fact, most of the runners that I write training plans for are beginners. They’re the group that needs the most direction with their running so they turn to someone who understands the training necessary to get them from point A to point B. Feel free to email me if you want to chat about your particular situation – happy to help where I can.

Jeff Gaudette

Erick, that’s a great question. To answer you question specifically, training, at it’s most fundamental, is the same whether you’re running 6 minutes per mile or 11 minutes per mile. The physiological adaptations you need to make in order to improve and the work you need to do to stay healthy doesn’t change based on your ability level. The only thing that really changes is the volume and pace of specific workouts. It’s all about applying the concepts to your specific fitness level and ability.

Erick

Thank you both very much for the responses. I think that I need to get more support than I have, either one-on-one coaching or a thorough package like what is described here. I appreciate your time.

T

Kind of sounds to me like being pressured into buying something else. I mean if you’re already paying a good amount for personal coaching, these type of exercises should already be part of a good training plan. I don’t know what you charge but RunnersConnect already charges a lot for personal coaching. If the guide was just bought – then we’d be told we need a coach to tells us when/how to use the exercises. If we bought just coaching services – then we need the guide to follow along.

Jason Fitzgerald

No pressure at all. A custom training plan from me does include certain injury prevention/treatment work, general strength routines, and core workouts depending on the athlete. The Strength Training for Runners product takes what I give my runners and makes it far more comprehensive. The routines are proprietary to Runners Connect; and also don’t think the product is just exercises. There are progressions for different races, injuries, and interviews with experts. It’s more comprehensive than just the exercises. You don’t need a coach to follow along with the guide, either. The guide shows you how to incorporate the exercises into the plan.

Billy

Yeah, I’ve been thinking I should start the basic “Plateau” plan but that’s $80 and I’m now wondering how many other things I’ll have to add to get the full benefit of Jason’s coaching. Jeff’s book is $40. Both seem pretty competitive with the other coaching plans and books I’ve seen. And some people spend more than that for dinner and a movie but, well, that’s a lot of money for me. Sorry, reading what I typed sounds more skeptical than I really am. Thanks for the blog,

Billy

Jason Fitzgerald

No pressure – do what you think is best for you.

Mark Eichenlaub

Jason, Jeff,
Great interview.

I had two questions for both of you.

1. Have either of you considered giving training to other coaches, like an apprenticeship of sorts or a program?

2. I have long been interested in something like this but using your great minds and folks like Phil Warton, Vern Gambatta, Jay Johnson, Greg McMillan and others do you think there is a market among runners for a do-it-yourself program for runners to determine their own weakness strengthwise and fitness wise? I’d love to help somehow. (A way to compare their speed vs. threshold vs. aerobic, etc. and then address how to target the weakness AND a way to address muscle imbalances and deficiencies and target them?)

Jason Fitzgerald

Hey Mark, good points. There do exist clinics that tackle this topic, though I haven’t looked into it much or thought about offering one. Regarding a diagnostic program, the Strength Training for Runners program addresses many weaknesses (and a Functional Movement Screen can help you determine your weaknesses/imbalances). Regarding the other more metabolic metrics, those are best measured in a lab. Not sure how an “everyday” runner would be able to do that…

Christina

Hi,
Not sure if you’re still answering questions on this post but I’ll try anyway :)
I attend weekly training sessions with a running coach, and he provides a running program as part of a weekly fee. It basically goes: speed session, recovery run, tempo, day off, long run, recovery run, day off. I also play field hockey on weekends so will often rejig sessions as it is like doing 6km of sprint intervals.

To get to the point if I signed up/purchased a strength plan, are you able to help with working in with a running schedule I already have?

Jason Fitzgerald

Hey Christina, if you’re referring to the “Strength Training for Runners” program, that specific program is not mine. I use it myself and highly recommend it, but it’s created by Jeff Gaudette at Runners Connect. But there’s advice on how to structure it with your running in the program.

Jeff Gaudette

Hi Christina,

Yes, if you purchase the program there will be a prescription that will tell you exactly which days to do your strength training (and what routines to do) given your current running schedule.

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