Weight training to compliment running

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Post by stuward » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:41 pm

Daniel's been around this site for some time so I guess it's just common knowledge that he's interested in being a well rounded fit individual who happens to like to run. Like you said, strength training is important for balance, perhaps not for optimal long distance performance. I think we're all in agreement, it depends on the goal.


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Post by stuward » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:55 pm

hillrunner wrote:Stuward,

...
Next--and please don't take this as an rebuttal against you--what is "proper balance between quads/hamstrings"? I read that all the time but cannot find a single thing that quantifies it. The probable truth? It is the silly reliance on running shoes with gel, air and/or springs in the heels. Wearing shoes like that lifts your heels, shortens the calves (similar to the issue women in high heels experience) and affects the hamstrings.

...
You know more about running than I do, however, j Just typing in "strength training runners" into Google give a huge list of running sites that advocate strength training to improve speed and prevent injuries. A quote from Runner's World: "The hamstring muscle group tends to be a runner's weakest link. Imbalances in muscle strength among the hamstring muscles or between the hamstrings and the quadriceps and hip flexors can cause cramps, strains, or even tears."

I don't know the optimum ratio of hamstring to quads or whether runners need single leg vs bilateral movements, etc. It is clear that injuries are common in recreational runners. Maybe it's the footwear or style of running, or maybe it's a lack of strength training. So many runners assume they have no need to strength train their lower body and that's not true.

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Post by hillrunner » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:20 pm

Stuward,

Yes, we're all in 100% agreement.

But, on the hamstring portion of the discussion? Please note a lot of the research and/or discussion takes place within publications or groups that don't necessarily focus on the body's biomechanics. For example, I subscribe to "Runner's World" and "Running Times" and shake my head when I see things about the hamstring:quad balance written.

Again, biomechanics, poor running form and of course stretching so that tissue elasticity (eg tendon, muscle, fascia) is maintained are going to have a bigger impact than shoes or weights. After all, one should wonder: what would cause this reported 'imbalance' in the first place?

I go back to the exercise science that is so heavily biased, per se, in favor of weight training approaches. We hear if you do bench presses, you need to make sure you do your rows or pulldowns...which probably makes sense, especially since you're imposing artificial forms of training on the body. We, as humans, haven't evolved on a diet of bench pressing, pulldowns, etc., so this recent experiment over the last 120 - 130 yrs with formalized weight training is still evolving.

Upright running & walking, otoh, have been endeavors which helped define us as humans, biomechanically. As one author, Frank Forensich, noted in his book Play As If Your Life Depends Upon It, you wouldn't see our ancestors laying on their backs pressing rocks or doing pushups. They were hunter-gathers out foraging and/or hunting food.

Sorry, I digress, so back to my point: our natural biomechanics and motor skills will work wonders if allowed to work properly.

Best -

BTW - Love Nova Scotia. It has been a number of years since I've visited that beautiful province.

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Post by stuward » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:47 pm

I know we've hijacked this thread all to pieces but Tim will just shut us down if he thinks we're irrelevant but anyways...

My interest is in maintaining fitness and health into middle age. I assume you're of similar age given your comment about 28 years of running.

Most of the injuries I've seen are hamstring pulls and IT band issues. As I understand it, the first can be prevented with hamstring strength being about half that of the quads. This is trivial from anyone that squats or deadlifts as both will easily take care of that. The IT band problem seems to be caused by knee instability which would be taken care of by deep squating and step ups that target the vasdis medealis. ACL tears are another issue more common among weekend sportmen that could also be prevented with a little strength training.

Some running friends have been playing with the Pose method of running. Apparently it's supposed to use the hamstrings more and is more effective. Do you have any experience with it?

I prefer my running short and fast. I can walk all day. I think that's the way were were designed.

BTW - It's cold and snow covered here in Canada's warmest province.

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Post by daniel4738 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback, but a couple of thoughts

Firstly, what is adventure racing? Let me run through a very recent 8hour sprint race.
600m open water swim.
10km Run with 1000m elevation gain. Straight up a big hill
6km Run with 600m elevation drop.
2km approach run to a canyoning course, including climbing, abseiling swimming etc.
15km Mountain cycle with about 600m elevation gain (and drop).
High ropes, climbing course at an outdoor center.
15km Mountain bike with about 400m gain and 600m drop.
8km Kayak
5km run
Build a raft out of rubber rings, planks and string and row/swim it 600ish m.

Weight carried, approximately 6kg, including enough CHO gel to supply 300kcal per hour and a 3litre water sack replenished 1/2 way through the race. The weather was absolutely baking and my wee was like snot at the end. We came 3rd place by 24 minutes (16 of which were lost on a climbing penalty).

So to put the goals into context, how can you train for this.

Firstly, I need a big tank. That means endurance, getting in the time >90mins at zone 2, pure aerobic system.

But there is more to it. Having a big tank is good, but it's even better if you have an efficient and powerful engine.

By that I mean, I want to increase glycogen stores, meaning my body is using this (along with the replenishment carbs) for a longer time than previous. This means I can go faster for longer at the start of each day. The low rest periods between sets and high metabolic effect of the complex will acheive glycogen depletion and force the body to increase natural stores.

The complexes will also have the effect of reducing some fat content, which will decrease useless weight and increase efficiency. I may build some muscle, but at 6-8% body fat, the increase in stored glycogen is greater than the excess energy useage up to about 80kg, meaning I will be better off if I stay at the same weight, but replace 1kg of fat with muscle. (73kg atm).

Finally, the strength (and power) will give me the ability to carry kit more efficiently and will allow me to pursue some of the more fun hobby like things I enjoy like skiing, climbing, free running, ninjitsu etc.

On a final note, you mentioned specificity, I think you are absolutely right but a lot of the amateur runners i know get bogged down in building a bigger tank. This is great to go for a long time, but the winners are the ones who have both a big tank and a big engine.

Anyway, I hope my aims/goals are a little clearer and I have cleared a few things up. Most of what I have written is taken after lots of reading, experimenting and after reflecting why I do not come first that often :)


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Post by stuward » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:57 pm

Daniel. I just looked up http://www.adventureracingcanada.com/main/
It looks like a lot of fun. I just bought mountain bikes for the family last year. This looks like a good excuse to get a canoe. :)

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Post by hillrunner » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:43 pm

Daniel,

I'd think about the military, namely, the US Navy SEALs and US Air Force Pararescue Jumpers for examples and guidance regarding your preparation. The Crossfit folks have some decent ideas, but, I'd look to some of the books on SEAL or PJ training in terms of how they prepare, physically. Having gone through similar training, the last thing I'd be worrying about are things like O'lifting, bench presses, etc.

The SEALs, to get through BUD/S, have to be able to perform similar tasks and more. After the PJs pass Qual, they too still have to be able to swim, handle boats, etc.

Also, if you haven't already, past issues of "Outside" may give you some guidance on your training. I've done duathlons and some endurance competitions while I was in the military & used everything from open water swims, running, cals & light weight work, walks with a weighted ruck, sandbag carries, etc., to get ready.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:49 pm

hillrunner wrote:First, with all of the alleged advances in sports and exercise science, the bottom line is a specific, minimalist approach still works best. The very best runners in the distance world--mile to marathon--are the Kenyans, Ethiopians, Europeans and Russians.
In the case of the East Africans, the high performance in endurance running probably has more to do with their physiology than their training methods. East Africans do well in distance running but not so well in sprinting. The reverse is true for West Africans and their descendants in the Americas. There are lots of African-American sprinters, but few African-American distance runners. And unlike distance runners, sprinters rely heavily on weight training. Ben Johnson, for instance, got busted for taking steroids.

For all the acceptance of weight training in many sports now, it's easy to forget that not so long ago, weight training for athletes was frowned upon. One by one, the weight training taboo fell for different sports. But there appears to be some holdouts still left. Weight training isn't a panacea, and athletes shouldn't approach weight training like bodybuilders do. But all other factors being equal, a stronger athlete is a better athlete.

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Post by daniel4738 » Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:16 am

hillrunner wrote:Daniel,

I'd think about the military, namely, the US Navy SEALs and US Air Force Pararescue Jumpers for examples and guidance regarding your preparation. The Crossfit folks have some decent ideas, but, I'd look to some of the books on SEAL or PJ training in terms of how they prepare, physically. Having gone through similar training, the last thing I'd be worrying about are things like O'lifting, bench presses, etc.

The SEALs, to get through BUD/S, have to be able to perform similar tasks and more. After the PJs pass Qual, they too still have to be able to swim, handle boats, etc.

Also, if you haven't already, past issues of "Outside" may give you some guidance on your training. I've done duathlons and some endurance competitions while I was in the military & used everything from open water swims, running, cals & light weight work, walks with a weighted ruck, sandbag carries, etc., to get ready.
I have the SEAL pre-buds training manual written by Patricia A Deuster (and the nutritional one). They are both very basic and seem to suggest a lot of machine based training. While it is very good for an untrained athlete looking to start, I have reservations over the efficiency to make a trained athlete better.

Crossfit is also very good and very similar in principal to barbell complexes in the aim of increasing the size of the engine. It is again, great for building a foundation, but I am not so sure it is that great for improving what you already have.

@STU
AR is absolutely amazing. To coin a quote I heard once, it isn't just hanging on a rope off the side of a cliff, it's a state of mind you take into everything you do in everyday life.

There was a great base for racing in the UK, but then I moved to Austria and there were not so many 1-2 day races. I had a go at off road triathlons and didn't do too badly, but the atmosphere was horrible, nothing compared to the AR crowd. I would definately recommned giving it a go.

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Post by hillrunner » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:22 am

Hi Stephen,

(And to the moderators, hope I have not in fact hijacked this discussion. If so, apologies.)
In the case of the East Africans, the high performance in endurance running probably has more to do with their physiology than their training methods. East Africans do well in distance running but not so well in sprinting. The reverse is true for West Africans and their descendants in the Americas. There are lots of African-American sprinters, but few African-American distance runners. And unlike distance runners, sprinters rely heavily on weight training. Ben Johnson, for instance, got busted for taking steroids.
There is probably a little truth in that, but, some generalities as well. Kenyans and Ethiopians are born and raised in elevated regions, they've traditionally traveled great distances by foot--for water, food, to school or town--and their diets a very much very rich in grains. West African foods and lifestyles are considerably different. They live closer to sea level. Other factors exist. Also, keep in mind that west Africans for hundreds of years faced different forms of slavery and the resulting populations may not be reflective of original west Africans.
For all the acceptance of weight training in many sports now, it's easy to forget that not so long ago, weight training for athletes was frowned upon. One by one, the weight training taboo fell for different sports. But there appears to be some holdouts still left. Weight training isn't a panacea, and athletes shouldn't approach weight training like bodybuilders do. But all other factors being equal, a stronger athlete is a better athlete.


Hope I don't come across as a naysayer regarding weights. They have their place, but, for the endurance athlete it is typically a minor one.

I'm going to go out on a limb and share a quick story regarding an experience in a race from a number of years ago. I was in my mid-20s and running 50, sometimes 60 miles per week. I rode my bike, would do my pushups, chins, some light curls and even use a little exercise technique called Heavyhands. At this race was a person who I'd have to label my nemesis...two years out of college, distance runner up on all of the "latest" techniques. He lifted weights, swam, followed the current flexibility recommendations, etc., and we met up for the first time at a July 4th race which kicked off at 10am--already warm and humid as hell. He was fit and ready...I showed up still burping M&Ms that I'd had for breakfast with a cup of 7-Eleven coffee. Less than 15 minutes later after the gun sounded, I crossed the finish line 20 seconds faster than this gentleman. We shook hands later and later chatted...he, in fact, said I guess I still have a few tricks to learn. I smiled and said that's the trick...there aren't any.

Great runners run, great lifters lift. The rest enjoy a nice balance that works for them.

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Post by TimD » Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:26 pm

Stu, Stephen, might be best to carry this on in another thread, topic of your choice, either here or in the lounge.
tim


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