Training For Middle Distance Runners
A number of
people have asked about weights, and how to fit this into their
workouts. Here are my recommendations for middle distance runners.
#1: Should I do weights?
if you are an 800m runner. But only lift if you have been shown
the proper form for each exercise. If you have never done weights,
please talk to me before starting a program.
#2: Should I do the whole body?
the trunk area. I do everything (legs, arms, chest, abdominals,
lower back, adductors, abductors) all in one session.
#3: How often?
Twice a week.
Once a week is counterproductive because you end up sore every
week. As for three times (which is what I was trained to do),
the latest research shows that there is not much difference between
two and three times per week. Surprisingly, the additional weight
session gives only minimal benefit.
#4: When should I lift?
This is the
key question. NEVER lift the day before a race. You might
as well shoot yourself in the foot.
do leg weights before track practice. You're guaranteed to strain
weights should be done immediately after intervals, i.e. Tuesdays
and Thursdays nights after practice. Yes, it makes for a long
day, but it keeps with the philosophy of hard day, easy day, hard
day, easy day, easy day. Moreover, lifting leg weights after intervals
has additional benefits: (i) your legs are warm so you're less
likely to hurt yourself, (ii) you're prevented from lifting too
much because your muscles are already tired and (iii) you're more
efficient - you don't dillydally because the gym is closing.
for middle distance runners, weights are meant to complement your
running, not be a workout unto themselves.
#5: Should I eat anything before lifting?
If you lift
right after track practice, you should eat a power bar/soy bar
or drink a protein shake.
#6: What if I can't fit my whole weight routine in after practice?
only leg weights on Tuesday & Thursday nights. And then do
your upper body routine on the other days.
#7: What if it's impossible for me to lift after practice?
If you can't
do leg weights on Tuesday & Thursday nights, I recommend the
following for leg weights:
Tuesday & Thursday
Tuesday & Saturday or Sunday
Thursday & Sunday or Saturday
Sunday & Friday
Sunday & Wednesday
Saturday & Wednesday
Any Monday (because it's your day off)
lifting on Mondays (or whatever your day off). Your body needs
one day of complete rest. Many people lift on Mondays & Wednesdays,
which results in four days of hard workouts. By Thursday night
practice you'll be exhausted.
How many sets of weights should I do?
At least two
sets, preferably three.
#9: How many reps?
you need to taper your weights as you get closer to Nationals
or Fifth Avenue Mile (or whatever race you are trying to peak
April 4 - June 13 3 x 10
June 15 - July 4 3 x 8
July 6 - July 25 3 x 6
July 27 - Aug 3/10 3 x 5 for 30+ (3 x 3 for open athletes)
#10: When should I increase the weight?
If you find
that you can do 3 x 12, then you need to increase the weight so
that you can do 3 x 10. For example, if on leg press, you can
easily lift 40 pounds for 12 repetitions for 3 sets (3 x 12),
you should increase to 45 pounds and work your way up to 3 x 10.
every time you go down in reps, you should always go up in weights.
For instance, on the bench press you can lift 50 pounds for 10
repetitions for 3 sets (3 x 10). When you reduce the number of
reps to 8 (3 x 8), you would increase the amount of weight to
55 pounds. At 3 x 6, you
would be at 60 pounds.
Be careful when increasing the weight. Try to increase in small
increments. (Do not to make big jumps. For example, if you curl
5 pounds on each arm. Move up to 6 or 7 or 8 pounds, not 10 pounds.)
#11: What machines should I use?
I can't answer that in an email. Please ask me at practice.
#12: What if I can't afford a gym?
NY City Parks
& Recreation has weight
facilities throughout the city for $75 per year. Only $75
per year and that entitles you to go to any of their facilities.
Many of these also have pools. The list of facilities is in the
special government pages of the phone book under "NY City
Offices - NY City Parks & Recreation" and on the Parks
Hood Wright Center, (174th & Fort Washington, 5 blocks
from the Armory), is open until 10 pm Monday through Thursday.
The weight room at Fitness
Center 59 (West 59th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues)
is open until 10 pm Monday through Friday.
#13: What if I don't have access to a gym?
You can do many exercises at home: push-ups, walking lunges, sit-ups,
crunches, back exercises. Also, you can purchase small weights
from stores like Paragon
Sports for a minimal cost.
simply suggestions, but I hope these help.