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    • Maintaining Muscle Mass

      Posted on May 24th, 24th 2010 by Kari

      So, I'm training for a half marathon but I need my "lifts" as well! While most runners would train 5-6 days/week running, I prefer to weight lift and run.

      I also know that my strength and muscle mass will decrease significantly by doing running workouts alone.

      Based on the SAID principle (specific adaptation to imposed demand) the amount of weightlifting I do can affect my running success. That is the last thing I want when I love to compete (with myself and others) and really want to train well for the half to get a good time. So what should I do when my typical training involves 3 runs/week and 3 lifts/week?

      Well first, before you say "drop the lifts and focus on the running for the race" let me tell you why I want to keep the lifts while training...

      I like to be strong...I like to do more chin-ups than most guys and I like the muscles that result!
      I need the muscle mass...not only for health and preventing osteoporosis but also to fill out a body that would be thin otherwise. And since being a Strength Coach is my profession...then practicing what I preach is my kind of philosophy.
      Furthermore, the weight training can help prevent some of the weaknesses and overuse that can be caused by extra mileage in the running. Being sidelined by an injury is no fun!

      So the question becomes... how to train well and get improvement out of the track training without compromising your success with a different form of training?
      Here are some tips that I use to help continue my lifts while increasing my running volume and intensity....

      1. Plan your splits. This means that when you are lifting you plan what body parts you are working around your more difficult runs. For instance I try and do less leg work on the day before my longest and hardest run.
      2. Stay on a regular workout routine. Stick with a program that your body is familiar with or programs you have done in the past so you know what to expect. You don't want your body struggling to adapt to a new routine when it is already tired from increased running.
      3. Do cut the frequency of your weight training as you approach your race. Within 3-4 weeks of your race you can cut your lifting to 2x/week to allow you to focus more on the running and promote greater recovery for your body.

      These suggestions are based on my kind of training schedule but can be adapted to those who lift more often or do other types of training more often (rock climbing, club volleyball etc).

      So train for that upcoming event with planning, focus and committment and maintain your muscle mass too!

      Train with purpose,
      Kari

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