Strength Training & Ultrarunning

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  • #25109


    What is the best was to integrate strength training into a running program day-to-day, and throughout the year? What kind of training run pairs best with strength training when lifting and running on the same day? When would you recommend running prior to lifting and vice versa? Assuming an unlimited number of training hours, will moderate olympic, power,and crossfit style lifting workouts be seriously detrimental to ultrarunning training?

    I’m a Philly fireman and feel like I have a special need to prioritize strength training in my program because of the job. I’ve been running ultras for about 7 years, but 4 years ago I took a hiatus from running to focus on strength training. I gained about 25 to 30 lbs (153 to 180) and have been able to maintain my weight and strength with the help of a nutritionist, but it’s always a struggle to keep the easy days easy and be fresh for the hard training runs and focused strength sessions.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  • Participant
    todd.struble on #25202

    I’m totally unqualified to answer your question, but since it’s been a few days, I think maybe this thread might be related to your question:

    Cardio: Is it better to split the long runs, or do them in a few big sessions

    It’s in the powerlifting vs endurance training context and doesn’t answer your question about whether to run first or lift first, but it does talk about the compromises involved. For what it’s worth, I’ve always read that you want to lift while recovered as much as possible, so I guess if someone told me I’d have to do both in a day, I’d lift first.

    Robert on #25207

    Hi Nick,

    You might check this post by Jason Koop, a well-known coach of numerous top ultra marathon competitors and the author of the book “Training Essentials for Ultrarunning“.

    I don’t agree in entirety with his perspective as, personally, I have found sport-specific functional strength training to have a very large influence on economy whether it is running or skiing, and even for running at the lower ultra running paces. In the more technical “sky running” events, strength training is even more important. For a flat 100 miler, Koop may be correct. But as an “Uphill Athlete”, I think the equation is different.

    Anonymous on #25210


    You’ll need to better explain what you mean by strength training. There is a very broad spectrum of “strength” training from Max 4-5 sets of 4-5 reps at 90% 1RM efforts to Hypertrophy 6-8 sets or 8-10 reps going to failure in each set (which is sounds like you have been doing to add that much weight), to Muscular Endurance training (which can have significant positive effect on your running) to Hill Sprint workouts which are a very sport specific to develop running power. All of these fall under the area defined as strength training. We discuss all of this at length here and give some suggestions.

    There is no one easy answer to this question without knowing a lot more. The only thing I can say with certainty is that adding as much muscle mass as you seem to have is going to have a strongly negative effect on your running performance.


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