Training for strength and endurance at the same time?

  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 20, 2009 4:45 PM GMT
    So, there's plenty of evidence that it's hard/impossible to increase your muscle size and lose fat at the same time. That's not what this is about.

    I'm curious if anyone out there has experience with trying to increase strength (size irrelevant) at the same time they were trying to increase endurance.

    Specifics: I'm back from a couple months off the horse (lost a friend, then injured myself).

    I'd like to train to run a half marathon with my friend late next summer. However, I also want to work on my strength (moving large objects).

    Is there any reason that doing both things will be counter productive? I don't care about size (in either direction), so I should be able to eat enough to feed my muscles' strength gains and fend off mass loss from the running training, correct?

  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 20, 2009 4:46 PM GMT
    Also, does anyone have any experience with this kind of... split, but not diametrically opposed training?
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    Jan 20, 2009 8:02 PM GMT
    Google sacroplasmic hypertrophy.
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    Jan 20, 2009 8:35 PM GMT
    Diver...

    I completely understand your predicament. I am currently trying to do just what you are describing. Here are some of my experiences and thoughts:

    I spent 6 months gaining weight, strength and mass. I did this because over the last year I had lost an incredible amount of weight and was getting injured while training for 1/2 marathons and marathons. I put on 30 pounds as a result of no cardio and only weight training.

    During this time I always new I would return to running, but over that six month period I gained a lot of strength. I returned to running in September and felt like a beast while runnning. I was no longer able to run as fast or as proficiently as before. Because of the weight gain and lack of cardio for 6 months I felt incredibly sluggish (I know... DUH!!!).

    I finished up my weight gain and starting running again. I new that I didn't want to lose all of the strength and mass I had worked so hard at trying to put on. So... I began logging and increasing miles slowly while also lifting to maintain my strength and mass. I ran 3 days and lifted 3 days (not the same days). While I did this I didn't lose strength and my weight didn't drop too much, but I started to feel better while running. Trying to rebuild my cardio base.

    Now I am training for a spring marathon and have been running much more seriously over the last 5 weeks. While running 5-6 days/week (30-60 miles/week) and lifting on my day(s) off (lifting 2 days a week) I have noticed some loss of strength and a negligible weight loss. The loss of strength isn't major and doesn't bother me. I know I am pushing my body and my goal is to build endurance at this time, so I am willing to make a sacrifice on the strength.

    I know that with the running schedule I am keeping it is not possible to maintain all of my previous gains in the strength department. This is something I expected and accept. I think that if what you are trying to do is be aerobically fit (i.e. increase endurance) and also maintain strength it can be done. You have to employ a strategy that doesn't over emphasize either goal.

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted on your results and findings.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 20, 2009 8:43 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidGoogle sacrioplasmic hypertrophy.


    ::cocks head::

    sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is specifically the kind of muscle size increase I don't care about...
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 20, 2009 8:44 PM GMT
    Thank BSS, sounds like I can do it, but I'm going to have to eat like a monster and likely still lose some strength in the process.

    I can deal with that.
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    Jan 20, 2009 8:48 PM GMT
    bsskate saidDiver...

    I completely understand your predicament. I am currently trying to do just what you are describing. Here are some of my experiences and thoughts:

    I spent 6 months gaining weight, strength and mass. I did this because over the last year I had lost an incredible amount of weight and was getting injured while training for 1/2 marathons and marathons. I put on 30 pounds as a result of no cardio and only weight training.

    During this time I always new I would return to running, but over that six month period I gained a lot of strength. I returned to running in September and felt like a beast while runnning. I was no longer able to run as fast or as proficiently as before. Because of the weight gain and lack of cardio for 6 months I felt incredibly sluggish (I know... DUH!!!).

    I finished up my weight gain and starting running again. I new that I didn't want to lose all of the strength and mass I had worked so hard at trying to put on. So... I began logging and increasing miles slowly while also lifting to maintain my strength and mass. I ran 3 days and lifted 3 days (not the same days). While I did this I didn't lose strength and my weight didn't drop too much, but I started to feel better while running. Trying to rebuild my cardio base.

    Now I am training for a spring marathon and have been running much more seriously over the last 5 weeks. While running 5-6 days/week (30-60 miles/week) and lifting on my day(s) off (lifting 2 days a week) I have noticed some loss of strength and a negligible weight loss. The loss of strength isn't major and doesn't bother me. I know I am pushing my body and my goal is to build endurance at this time, so I am willing to make a sacrifice on the strength.

    I know that with the running schedule I am keeping it is not possible to maintain all of my previous gains in the strength department. This is something I expected and accept. I think that if what you are trying to do is be aerobically fit (i.e. increase endurance) and also maintain strength it can be done. You have to employ a strategy that doesn't over emphasize either goal.

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted on your results and findings.


    I don't understand why you're only doing two days worth of strength training. It seems to me as if there's no obvious problem with doing strength training on the same days that you're doing your running. Is it a time issue or are you worried about injuring yourself by overtraining?

    As to your question DS, I certainly can't answer it. I would, however, point to the fact that professional athletes do just the kind of thing you're talking about. Professional athletes spend a great deal of time in the gym, in addition to working on their cardio. Since size is not relevant to your equation, I can't imagine that strength and endurance training would counteract each other.

    As always, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Tritimium

    Posts: 261

    Jan 20, 2009 8:50 PM GMT
    I'm trying to do the same, so I'm glad this came up.

    I can't help thinking that rowers do this all the time, though - I know they're not training for marathons, but they do require both a lot of strength and a lot of stamina. (Some of the hottest bods around, to boot!) That said, the best rowers are tall and naturally muscular.
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    Jan 20, 2009 8:59 PM GMT
    DS, another thing to consider is WHAT you're training for. Yes, long distance runners tend to be lean like greyhounds. Yes, those doing something requiring brute strength like weight lifting are going to be bulked up and jealous of any use of energy that doesn't contribute to that.

    For straight up ability to run long distances, you will probably want to put an emphasis on the cardio/endurance aspect of your training. That said, it's important to remember that power and strength can positively contribute to that effort. You don't want to be lugging around tons of muscle (especially at mile 11) but you want enough strength to help push you through an endurance event. Never underestimate the importance of overall physical fitness to help you a) run properly b) avoid injury and c) improve your overall performance.

    How's that for a long-winded, yes, do strength training in addition to your cardio/endurance training?!
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 20, 2009 9:09 PM GMT
    Makes sense.

    The question was more whether the training would counteract itself, since one's training fast twitch muscle and the other slow twitch muscle.

    I'm not looking even to do "well" in the half-marathon. I just want to be able to run one. If I can average around 12-15 minute miles, I'll be perfectly happy. I'm not competing, except with myself.
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    Jan 20, 2009 9:17 PM GMT
    DiverScience saidMakes sense.

    The question was more whether the training would counteract itself, since one's training fast twitch muscle and the other slow twitch muscle.

    I'm not looking even to do "well" in the half-marathon. I just want to be able to run one. If I can average around 12-15 minute miles, I'll be perfectly happy. I'm not competing, except with myself.

    Yep, understood. And that's kinda what I meant about the truly long-distance runners and their 'greyhound' look. That is ALL they do. Run, run, and run some more. Plenty of arguments can be made about whether that's healthy or not. I'll just go on record saying it sure as hell doesn't LOOK healthy.

    Now, take multi sport athletes by contrast - swim/bike/run. They have a much more well-rounded physique - kinda like the one that Tritimium refers to with rowers. I personally like that more toned, generally athletic look as opposed to the other extremes and happen to also think it's generally healthier in the grand scheme of things. But that's just me.

    Now, let me know when you want to go for a long run!
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    Jan 20, 2009 9:31 PM GMT
    As i am a 210 lbs guy who has run many races including a half marathon and in about 6 weeks my first marathon, i can tell you that the philosphies totally contradict each other.

    Take nutrition for instance. When im building muscle, its all about the heavy proteins (i.e. red meat) and starches but not so much the carbs cause you wanna minimize the fat gain. However when im training for a race, i cut the proteins down to just the clean, lean stuff (ie fish, chicken breast, etc) and take in considerably more carbs to maintain my cardio workouts.

    As far as training, you have two different philosophies as well and theyre gonna step on each others toes. When training for a race, i do more of a circuit workout 2 or 3 days a week just to keep the muscles active, knowing that the bigger i get, the slower and therefore more discouraged i get about my running. However after my marathon though, im planning to bulk back up while im recovering, so ill take a more aggresive approach to my lifting without having completely lost my strength due to the circuit workouts, but ill still run maybe 3 days a week and finish off my lifting sessions with 20 to 30 minutes of cardio as well.

    Its a tricky course to navigate but it beats cheating. And you know what i mean. icon_exclaim.gif
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    Jan 20, 2009 11:54 PM GMT
    Carbs are protein sparing, and are essential to gaining lean muscle mass in any practical way.
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    Jan 21, 2009 1:36 AM GMT
    Strength and endurance? Yes, it's possible. I run and I lift weights. If I run too much, then it affects my gym workout. If I spend too much time in the gym, then it affects my running. The key is to find a middle ground.

    Since your marathon is in the summer, you've got plenty of time to experiment. It definitely helps to properly fuel your body and to get plenty of rest.
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    Jan 21, 2009 1:40 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidCarbs are protein sparing, and are essential to gaining lean muscle mass in any practical way.


    This is true but if youre not "cheating" and are predisposed to obesity like i am, too many carbs will hang on your mid section. when im training for a race i have to be careful about how many and more importantly what kind of carbs i take in. For instance brown rice and pizza are both carb-laden, but which is more productive? Its not as simple for me as a carb is a carb, eat them all.
  • DiverScience

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    Jan 21, 2009 1:50 AM GMT
    Once i get myself back up to at least a few miles I'll give you a call, Gig!
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    Jan 21, 2009 2:06 AM GMT
    Please note that pizza has saturated fat from cheese, as well as from shortening, and sugar, and is many times gobbled down with sugary drinks, as well as being topped with high fat desserts , in far to large of quantities for a single meal. I haven't seen that advocated here.

    Carbs like brown rice are nice and slow, and great for sustained energy, especially if you add a bit a fat with them.

    For refueling (post workout loads), simple carbs are superior for their uptake properties in the hour or so post workout. This has been well documented for years.

    Regulating insulin response is really more the issue with putting visceral fat into place. It's the insulin and the fat that causes the issues, and not so much the carbs themselves.

    It would be incorrect to say that carbs are bad. Carbs are essential (your body's preferred choice of energy), are protein-sparing, and generally inexpensive.

    Post workout, in a gylogen depleted state, simple sugars are indicated for carb replenishment and "loading" during the golden hour post workout.

    Carbs are essential to a sound diet, good exercise performance, mental clarity, and sound recovery.

    An absence of carbs will turn your body into a fat-storing machine, with a much slower metabolism.

    This is why diets like Atkins diets fail miserably. They encourage a famine response, and ultimately muscle wasting, metabolic rate reduction, and ketosis. Training just above ketosis is a great way to save muscle, while losing fat. Ketosis is easy to understand, and can be measured with Ketostix, available from any pharmacy.

    In order to keep the flame burning hot, and the energy up, one generally needs to UP his calories, (carbs included) as he trains with a heavier workload. I'll typically add as many as 3000 additional calories per day when I go to lean out.

    Different foods are indicated at different times in the day, and in training periodization.

    E.g,, post workout it's completely appropriate to do fast carbs, along with a fair amount of protein.

    Please also note that sacriplasmic hypertrophy accounts for most muscle size.

    Science remains science, even with the innuendo and some misinformation / misunderstanding put forth here.

    To learn more about hypertrophy, here's an article to read.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_hypertrophy
  • DiverScience

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    Jan 21, 2009 2:12 AM GMT
    SARCOplasmic

    not sacrioplasmic

    as in sarcoplasmic reticulum.
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    Jan 21, 2009 2:25 AM GMT
    Glad you're doing better, Diver.
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    Jan 21, 2009 4:02 AM GMT
    Chucky i dont disagree with anything youve said. So far youre completely accurate and youve probably been at this a lot longer than me, despite the fact that im going to school to be a personal trainer and nutritionist and this conversation alone gets my nipples hard.

    I however never said carbs were "bad". when you talk about sports nutrition, you have to tailor your nutrition and workout to exactly what it is youre trying to accomplish. This includes the types of protein and carbs you consume. You have a bodybuilders physique (and a quite impressive one might i add), but how many road races have you run and tell me if the diet plan you follow in a typical bulking and cutting cycle was appropriate for the task. Im gonna guess its not.

    Post workout, eat whatever you want to eat (within reason) cause its true your body will need most of it to recover. This is especially true if you really push yourself to the limit during your workout. But what im talking about is when you hit mile 10 of 13 or 15 of 26. For better or worse the type of carbs and or protein you consumed PRE workout is going to come back to you. Now do you care that you had pizza or brown rice?

    The proper carbs are great and can serve as a buffer during extended workouts, i.e. distance runs and such to help see that you dont start burning up your hard earned muscles. But its all about regulation in your diet. Like i said its tricky but it can be done.
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    Jan 21, 2009 2:34 PM GMT
    I would like to address two points raised in this discussion.

    The first being the question by Chewey re: Why I am unable to strength train more than two days a week? This just becomes a logistical nightmare besides the fact that right now I am putting the focus of my workouts on training for the marathon. Let me explain... I work a full time job and run 5-6 days a week. Yesterday this was how my day went. Up at 4:50AM to be at work by 6:00AM work until 4:00PM and then stop by home grab a quick snack before I hit the treadmill (right now in MI it is too cold to run more than 3-4 miles outdoors) for 6 miles. Clean up at the gym and head home. Make dinner and then eat around 8:00PM and then chill for about an hour and off to bed to start the day again tomorrow. For those of you who have never trained for a marathon before, it is a very time consuming process. You also need to factor in a day of rest/recovery and making sure you get enough sleep for recovery also. As and aside, professional athletes don't usually have to worry about working a full time job. Their job is their training.

    Now to address the second point made by Runsupport which was that these two "philosphies totally contradict each other". I agree if you are talking absolutes. The question that Diver raised was whether he could endurance train and strength train at the same time.Of course. This is possible if you are not trying to make either your main focus. If you are trying to become a balanced athlete (which I completely condone and recommend) then this is how you do it. If you are trying to mostly gain mass (i.e bodybuilding) or mostly run faster/longer (i.e distance runner) than it is very difficult and these two disciplines oppose each other. Gigadu is right when he talks about multi-sport athletes and their well rounded physiques.

    I am not even going to go into the nutrition needed for either of these disciplines. That is a different beast and thread all together. LOL!!!

    This post was not meant to be confrontational nor condescending. I feel that clarity and understanding allow us to make better decisions. My best to all who have posted.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 21, 2009 3:06 PM GMT
    Thanks BSS

    And no, the philosophies aren't totally opposed. They're divergent, but from what I can tell not directly opposed.

    By doing both it looks like I won't be as efficient at either, but as long as I don't care about that, it doesn't look like a problem.

    Interesting how, even with the specification that I'm not interested in size or, really, efficiency, people still go to that presumption.

    My goal: Move stuff, and be *able* to run a half-marathon.

    NOT: Get big, win a half marathon, run a full marathon, lose weight, gain weight... etc.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jan 21, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    DiverScience said
    chuckystud saidGoogle sacrioplasmic hypertrophy.


    ::cocks head::

    sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is specifically the kind of muscle size increase I don't care about...


    You expected any better form Chuck-he also thinks getting testosterone injections are the cure for everything. " You need to have your testosterone levels checked!" NOTicon_lol.gif