>Cross Training>Strength Training-Days vs. Number of Sets
So I'm rebuilding my base coming off of injury (femoral stress fracture).
Throughout my recovery I did 3 days of upper body strength(2 sets) and core work along with 3 days of some sort of non weight bearing cardio. On weight days I also did a shorter 20 minute exercise bike or seated elliptical ride. *see log for details*
So I'm a month into being all clear to run and have kept my runs to 3 days per week but feel that I'm ready to add a 4th day of running. No pain and feel awesome!
My question is regarding the upper body strength work. Would I get the same benefits of my 3 day per week/2 sets per workout if I pushed it down to 2 days and on those days add another set to make a total of 3 sets or should I just try and factor in some extra time in the AM and do a run directly after my strength workout?
Going down to 2 days with the extra set would be so much easier with my schedule and I love what weights have done for my shape plus I know they make me a better runner.
Any advice for you weight training runners?
Im sure you will get many responses on this topic, with many different opinions/experiences on what works. But first more information is needed such as your previous history with weight training, running, exercising, etc. your fitness level, more specific information on what you are doing as far as upper body strengthening. What do you mean by 2 sets? does that mean 2 sets total or 2 sets per exercise? and most important of all is what is your goal? lose weight? gain weight? hypertrophy? muscular strength or endurance? lower body fat & lean out? better runner? better overall fitness? Do you have any other previous injuries that may hinder the type of exercise you can safely perform? Personally I strongly believe that everyone, no matter age, gender, athlete or non-athelete should add strength training as part of lifestyle along with aerobic activities at least 2x/wk.What are your running goals? Lots of questions, I know, but it will help get more specific answers for you.
LOL! That is a lot of questions...let me see if I can answer.
Running since 2006. Weight Training/regular other exercise since 2007. Previous to that I was far from a couch potato but never really kept a "regular" exercise program.
I am not using free weights, just the weight machine circuit at my gym which consists of 9 different machines that work different parts of the upper body. I am doing 2 sets on each machine (12 reps first set and 10 reps the second set), Corework is done with stability balls, floor mat and xerballs.
So, if I cut down to 2 days of strength training and added a 3rd set of reps for each exercise would I still be getting the same benefits as strength training 3 days with 2 sets of reps of each exercise?
My goal? Hard to say. Since the injury I have gone from 138 to 124/126 and am happy at this weight so weight loss is not something I'm striving for. I do want to become a better runner(who doesn't) so I'm going to say my overall goal is just overall better fitness.
Other than 2 femoral stress fractures(one on each leg) I have had no other injuries that would hinder me from doing any type of exercise.
Running goal has been the same for the past two years...make it to the start line of a marathon. I was registered for Chicago last year and missed due to first stress fracture and this year I am registered for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on October 4th. Since I was only released to start running again the end of June I know I will DNS that race as well.
I think I covered all the questions...
If you're rebuilding your base you may not want to hit the weights too much if increasing your mileage simultaneously, and I imagine those stress fractures were seriously painful. When injured I did 3 days of upper body building with low reps (stupidly) just because it was the only thing I was allowed to do for 6 months. I was allowed to do the exercise bike after 6 months if I kept my smaller stability brace on my ankle, and would do 20 minutes and build up my speed and try to maintain my fitness. You're doing a good schedule right now.. as long as it doesn't hinder your running you'll benefit from it the most at the beginning (have read this, not sure how much truth is behind it). I do 2 days now just for basic strengthening of my core and shoulders and minor work on my calves and quads because I was a victim of a potentially life-long achilles injury, and although I did 3 hours of stretching, balancing and strengthening a day in PT I keep it in the back of my mind that I need to baby my ankles.. and my knee has acted up every once in a while, and the thought of being sidelined makes me head to the gym to do anything to prevent it.
If you're set on a marathon, that's great That's what I got my mind on right when I could run again and it's done me well. It takes a while to build up the mileage for it and the 2 days with 3 sets is probably better than 3 days. Saves you some time on your schedule, less trips to the gym and you'll have less recovery during the week.
Two times a week I do a circuit of 6 exercises, 4 rounds/sets (3 on legs and calves at the most) and at least 10 reps on each. Before I hit the bike to loosen up my legs I do some back extension holds with a 25lb weight for 3 minutes and a couple oblique machine quick sets. They don't really mix in well with the circuit I do though.. My normal routine order is- Shoulder raises, Quads Extension, Low/Mid/High Row, Tricep Extension, Crunch Machine, Horizontal Calve Press. Gets my heart rate going, seems to be making my body look a lot leaner and I'm not bulking or gaining weight.. actually I'm still losing. Tt is helping my form and I feel a lot more stable now that I'm paying attention to posture/working my core. Try to do 2 days with 3 sets at a good resistance for the perfect amount of reps that you don't work to failure. You know what you're doing, really, and I'm sure you can continue it as long as you don't get sore and tightened up.
Thanks Skyedog and Kcurran for you responses.
I think I've decided I'm going to give up my off day(Monday) and add the run in there.
I'll continue the 3 days of strength training for now and as I add in another day of running(in about another month I suspect if all goes well) I'll more than likely drop down to 2 days of strength training and do 3 sets of each exercise on those days instead of my current 2 sets.
Sounds like both of you have found a good balance...I hope to find mine as well.
However, school starts back soon, which means I'll be teaching again and I have no idea how I'll keep up that schedule during the school year.
7. Have fun!
core 4-5x per week (however, I don't hit the core very hard. I really don't enjoy ab excercises AT ALL so if any of you have some ideas about how to make that interesting I'm all ears. It's not that they hurt, it's just that they're time consuming and boring.)
Do the ab work heavy (weighted, 8-12 reps). Endless reps aren't really going to benefit you. If you're doing lots of reps switching to lower rep heavy stuff may help with the boredom. Personally I hate ab stuff and depend on squatting and deadlifting to strengthen my abs but running fast is not particularly important to me.
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