Skinny and fast, to brawny and slow?
August 23, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Classic ectomorph looking to add weightlifting to exercise routine.

A few years ago I quit smoking and took up running. Now, I'm a proficient runner and even participate is local 10ks and other events. I've been thinking of adding weightlifting to my routine with the goal of adding weight to my body. I currently lift weights in order to increase endurance (light weights, lots of reps.)

My question: How much will lifting for mass (heavy weights, low reps) interfere with my running? I've read that when lifting for mass, one should refrain from too much cardio. We're going into fall, so I can scale back my running schedule a bit, but I'd like to stay competitive.
posted by elwoodwiles to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Strength training for your legs will interfere with your running. You need at least a day of recovery afterwards or you don't get any benefit. Also I've heard people say that cardio breaks down muscle generally, but I think the effects of this are very minor and will be more than counteracted by the muscle gain of weight training. My cardio has not interfered with my muscle gain. I think only seriously competitive body-builders avoid cardio.

So if you want to do things for your legs like squats, deadlifts, and lunges, this would probably help your running in the long run -- it'll help prevent injuries if you have more muscle in your legs, and you'll power up the hills much better -- but I would allow 2 days off of running for this: e.g. one day for 3 sets of squats, and then one day rest afterwards. Maybe you could do this once a week? And at the most I would do only squats that week, and then e.g. deadlifts the next week, i.e. not squats deadlifts and lunges on same day...these are very fatiguing exercises and you can easily overtrain.

And any strength training for your lower back might make you a lot more fatigued during running, esp. on the same day. Strength training for your shoulders might give you that weird shoulder fatigue durinng your run, but in the long run, as your shoulders get stronger, it won't anymore. Otherwise, strength training is exercise, so if you do it on the same day as running, you'll be slightly tired at the start of your run. And as you gain muscle you'll gain weight, so you'll weigh more. Conversely, your running will not interfere with your weight training except insofar as you then can't do leg exercises.
posted by creasy boy at 12:58 PM on August 23, 2007

This book was made for ectomorphs, and takes cardio fitness into consideration.
posted by rocket88 at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2007

rocket88: I have that book! Yes, that was the plan I was looking at. It does take in account some cardio, but it is much, much more limited than my current running schedule (just around 15 to 20 miles a weeks, though sometimes more if training.) I realize I have to scale running back, besides winter kinda forces me to, the question is really, how much.

I was really wondering if I could alternate, weight training and running: Weights on mon, weds, fri, Runs on tues, thurs, sat (sunday off) Or is this too much.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:10 PM on August 23, 2007

You can definitely do that schedule if you're just doing upper-body weight-training, in my opinion. I used to do that. Then I got top-heavy and had to change my whole approach to address this.
posted by creasy boy at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2007

creasy boy, Yeah, I don't want to get overly top-heavy. I currently do weighted lunges and leg presses which have preformed miracles in terms of fixing and preventing running injuries. So, some leg work needs to remain.

I had trouble parsing out the schedule you described - could you write that out again?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:23 PM on August 23, 2007

If you follow the Scrawny to Brawny workouts, which are low-rep at high-intensity, you may not feel much like running the day after you train, so the problem may take care if itself. Besides, a good weight training routine will keep your heart rate high enough to qualify as a cardio workout.
If you find you miss running, switch to interval training (sprint/walk) or hill/stairs intense running to keep your calorie burning to a minimum.
posted by rocket88 at 1:41 PM on August 23, 2007

You could do something like this:
Mon: running & then pushing (bench-press, dips etc.)
Tue: running and then pulling (pullups, Yates row or renegade row)
Wed: squats & shoulder press, maybe more bench-press-stuff
Thu: rest
Fri: running & pulling
Sat: deadlifts & pushing, maybe upright row for your shoulders
Sun: pulling, maybe some stuff like ab work -- or just rest.

In other words, you can get in two days of strength training for your legs if you work in two days of rest for your legs. That leaves you three days of running. I would take one day of complete rest, no anything. Your weight-training for your upper body you can work in anyday, however you see fit, and if you alternate muscle groups then you can do some upper-body lifting almost every day. Or you could do it all at once. Depending on how you do this you might find too much overlap on your shoulders and then you'll have to readjust to avoid overtraining them. But basically I would work out some schedule with 3 days running, 2 days leg strength-training, and 2 days rest for your legs, and then divide up the other weight-training exercises as you see fit. The only flaw would be if everything overlaps too much on your lower back and you get lower back fatigue, and then I would take two days of complete rest per week. This is my experience....also lately I've been doing stuff vaguely inspired by cross-fit, you may want to check out their site since their goal is a combination of strength and endurance. When I combine running & lifting I often do things like: pullups, uphill sprint (on a treadmill), pullups, sprint, pullups; and the next day: run a quick mile, then 3 sets of benches alternating with situps...then the third day, deadlifts and push-presses, and fourth day rest.
posted by creasy boy at 1:46 PM on August 23, 2007

Oh yeah, and you only have to do an exercise once a week, where I said "pulling", you could do pullups one day, and the other "pulling" day you could do some kind of row. Not necessarily both on both days. The two exercises overlap slightly. And likewise I might do bench-press one day, dips on another "pushing" day. If you seriously lift to muscle failure then you only really have to do that exercise one day that week. It's always good to have fewer exercises done well each day and a greater variety of exercises overall.
posted by creasy boy at 2:02 PM on August 23, 2007

Thanks creasy, I think I see how your cutting this up.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:05 PM on August 23, 2007

Try something like Starting Strength or Crossfit (but use the scaled workouts for Crossfit). I shill Crossfit all over this website, but that's because it's the best thing I've found for building functional strength. And I'm a woman and it builds muscle on me like crazy.
posted by schroedinger at 3:01 PM on August 23, 2007

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