>Cross Training>Heavy squats & deadlifts
Not dead. Yet.
How do you build heavy squats & deadlifts into your running routine? I love doing these workouts, but I can barely run at all the day after one, and I notice the effects for several days after. Trying to begin building my running back up for a road race in late October, so I plan to be running 5 days a week.
Is it even worth it too incorporate them into my week? I mean, does it help your running at all to do them? How can I get the most for my time/effort with these exercises without ruining my running schedule?
I am also doing some mountain climbing and long hiking/backpacking. It seems like these exercises are more beneficial for the steep hills than for the road races...true?
How can we know our limits if we don't test them?
Squats and deadlifts are definitely beneficial for running, if you do them with correct form.
As for "heavy", maybe others here know better, but I don't use a lot of weight. I do 2 x 15 deadlifts every evening, with a 15-lb. dumbell in each hand. For me, it's for the hamstring tendons. That's enough to make them work eccentrically, and strengthen.
For squats I just hold one 15-lb. dumbell.
With these weights, there is no impact on my running schedule, unless I don't do them for a while, then do a big leg workout (those plus various lunges etc.)... then I can get some DOMS for a few days.
For more discussion on the benefits of strength training for runners, Jay Dicharry's Anatomy for Runners is a worthwhile read.
Thanks, bhearn! I'm talking about heavier weights than that. When I do one of these I try to PR on both barbell lifts; 250lbs plus. I'll do 2 or 3 sets to find my max and then come down to a reasonable level and try to finish out 10 total sets. It's a big workout designed to build muscle and strength. And yes it gives me the DOMS. I guess my question is: is dealing with the DOMS worth the benefit of the strength gain?
I have that book, but forgot about it. I'll take a look at it. Thanks!
PS. Love your profile pic. I'm surprised that little thing could cover up your giant balls. Tell me you didn't run a race like that!
I can't mix heavy squatting and running because my hip alignment is significantly different for each exercise, so I only squat when I'm dealing with a multi-month layoff due to a running injury.
But I can speak for heavy deadlifts. I'm 6'2" 170lb and go as high as 405x1 but lately have been staying in the 315x5/5/8+ range. I consistently find that the day-after-deadlift run is my strongest of the week. I just feel the raw power in my posterior chain and, assuming I didn't let my back do too much work the previous day, my glutes feel completely engaged. It's really an amazing feeling.
My guess is you haven't been consistently deadlifting long enough if the recovery is still a problem for you. It probably took me a good once-a-week heavy deadlift session for a year before I reached this point. I also do 225+x3x10 Romanian deadlifts mid-week, so maybe the extra volume helps speed up my recovery.
Full disclosure - I'm currently just building an aerobic base with significant, but easy, miles, so that might be different from you. It gets much harder if you're also recovering from a tough run while you max out your deadlift.
Looking at you log calendar, I would suggest doing them on your long run day...after your run.
Some great info. Thank you, gentlemen.
djtaylor, it's true that I haven't been doing the lifts for a year yet. Since the workout is so hard, I never even realized that the DOMS would go away over time. Very good to know. Thank you. Also, I've heard of Romanian Deadlifts many times, so I guess it's time to check them out too.
MoBramExam, I assume you say that since I usually take the day after the long run off. It makes a lot of sense, but I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off another workout after a long run. Especially a really tough one. I don't know if there is a better option, though.
I guess I have to do the workout the same day as a run with a day off afterwards. If I'm running 5 days a week that only gives me two options. One of those is usually a weekday, so I guess after the long run (weekend) is the only answer. Ugh. This is going to take some getting used to.
I've been at this for over 35 years, and my fastest running days were when I didn't lift at all. But I had more injuries. I've also spent a good number of years heavy lifting. I felt great, and looked good, but it never made me a faster runner. In fact the years I spent heavy lifting were my slowest running years. When I stopped the heavy lifting, my speed came back. Today I do moderate lifting (light weigh high rep) for muscle balance and injury prevention. I lift an hour a day, 5-6 days a week. It doesn't interfere with my running at all. In fact the sure sign that I'm lifting too much or too heavy is if it effects my running. If so, I back off. For squats, I do 100 body weight squats every day and call it good.
I'm also on Athlinks and Strava
Dean, Do you think you were faster when you weren't lifting because of the extra muscle, or could it be that the weight workouts took time away from your running? Either way, I think you are right. The books say that the extra muscle is good for sprinters, but bad for distance runners. I guess it makes sense; to be fast you need to be light. I wonder if running steep trails would change that reasoning, though, since you need those big muscles to push yourself up steep hills.
I'm aware that I'm never going to be all that fast. I enjoy the lifting and the variety and I'm willing to trade a bit of speed for it. I just hope I can manage to do both at the same time. I have tried before and it is hard balancing. Especially when I am trying to lift heavy.
Old , Ugly and slow
You can't be good at both.
right now i am lifting heavy and running 15-20 miles a week but would like to get to 30-35.
first race sept 1977 last race sept 2007
2018 goals 1000 miles , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes
It was the combination of extra weight, and lower quality running. I was still running lots of miles, but the training quality suffered from heavy lifting. To be a competitive runner, you have to be serious about speed work, tempo runs, long runs, and getting proper recovery between them. Throwing in a heavy leg weight work outs only tears you down further and delays proper recovery. I'm all for weight training, and do plenty of it. Just not to the point it effects my running. I've gone to a much lighter weight higher rep routine, and feel better than ever, and am running great for my age, and staying injury free. You can absolutely do both, but the balance is up to you.
I'm experimenting with alternating periods with a focus on running for 3 months then on lifting for 3 months. I've just started doing this. I'm currently in my first lifting focus period but have had some setbacks (e.g., currently dealing with a MRSA infection that has really sapped my strength) so I don't really know how it'll work out long term. I think we're all experiments of 1 so I say just try different things out (giving each approach enough time for you to actually adapt, of course).
I have done some competitive powerlifting so my definition of 'heavy' may be a bit skewed compared to a lot of folks who are more dedicated to running but I don't expect to get back to competitive strength levels without dropping the running to a bare minimum. That said, I believe moderate weights are doable while still being ok at running. I'm at best ok as a runner (2 hour half back in May) and I'm not really willing to give up the extra muscle I carry to be better at running (currently ~180 @ 5'7").
You might google Alex Viada to get some ideas on combining the two things. I don't actually follow him (I like doing my own thing) and I don't believe all of his claims (e.g., says he's done a 4:00 mile) but he's at least given a lot of thought to this. You might pick up some ideas there anyway.
Have you ever tried to do speed work, say 4 X 400m either before/after heavy weight day and then just take a day or two off?
His claims of his own performance are clearly BS, but his advice is fine. Nothing particularly innovative or different from what anyone else might think of, but he lays it out in a logical way.
Dean, you look amazing! I personally don't plan to be a competitive runner. It's just not in the cards for me. The best I hope for is for someday (not soon) to qualify for Boston. I'd like to be the best I can be, but like I said, I'm not too worried if I trade off a little speed for the ability to get the variety of workouts I enjoy. As usual, "balance" seems to be the key word here. Working towards squat PRs every week is going to be really tough on your running, but like you said, you can balance some lifting with running as long as you don't go to far with it.
Marylander, I like this idea too. It reminds me of the idea in boby building that you can't lose weight and gain muscle at the same time. You need to do each one at a time, alternating; bulk phase, cut phase. Maybe thats how I will justify cutting back on the weights this training cycle. Been lifting heavy for a few months, and now I'll concentrate more on running. Then I can go back to the heavy lifting after my races early next year.
I'm not ready for speed work yet. Just building up my base again after a few months of very low mileage. The idea of taking two days in a row did cross my mind, though. Might be able to find a way to work the lifting in like that, but again, I'm not ready to run 5 days in a row every week at this point.
I'll have to check out this Alex Viada guy. Good info, all!
How you approach lifting is really going to depend on your goals (that's pretty obvious, of course, and applies to just about everything else in life too). You don't need to lift really hard or get close to failure very frequently in order to get stronger. Even when I was competing I really only had a hard lifting workout once every 4 weeks for each of the competitive lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) since I cycled up and down in 4 week periods which were built into 12-16 week training cycles. Most of my workouts were more about practice than they were about lifting as much as I could. I take a pretty minimalist approach. I can give an example of what I'm talking about if you're interested.