Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Little Dilemma

Here's the deal. Like many of you-- I am absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, in love -no- infatuated with running. It's become such an addiction I struggle to take a day off. My aches and pains seem few and far between and I truly enjoy the sport. The problem is-- I also want to gain some muscle-- but HATE weight training. Hate is a strong word-- I dislike weight training and feel like it gets in the way of my running. I feel some major guilt for not embracing the weights like I do the pavement.

As some of you may know-- I am training for a half marathon which is less than 18 days away. I am working hard on increasing my distance-- My current Max mileage is 8-- working on making it to 12 before the big day.

I say-- Keep my focus on the half-- worry about the weights after that. Some people are born to cross train. I, clearly, am not one of them. Your thoughts?

Also-- How much are your abs worked during a 3-8 mile run??? Will running help sculpt? or just burn fat?

Thanks for your help.


  1. I have severely neglected my cross-training/weight-training/ab-work so I may not be the bets person to ask... but I would not recommend incorporating weights back into your program so close to the race. In fact, I've read that people who DO weight train should reduce in the weeks before the race - to conserve energy, restore muscles, etc.

  2. I know what you mean about hating the weight training. I'd say train for the half, though, and then worry about it! I've run as much as 12.5 miles, but I haven't had the courage to sign up for any races yet.

  3. I used to really like weight training (because it was so uncardiovascular).

    Once I started running, weight training became boring. I do believe it is very important, though. I'm sure you've heard that cross training and core strengthening reduces the likelihood of injuries and can make you a stronger, faster runner. That being said, it is very difficult to do it all and still find time to run.

    As far as toning your abs while running, I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the cardio work (like running) is good for reducing fat in the abdominal region, but it's the core exercises that make the muscles defined. You can't really have one without the other. But, like I said, I could be totally wrong about this. :p

    In any case, I agree that you ought to wait until after your half-marathon before starting any new strength training routine. :D

  4. Weight training is great for injury prevention. I'd say it's pretty pointless to start it this close to the half marathon, though. So, just continue with your running and worry about it afterward. Don't neglect it later, though.

  5. Hey Patrick - I'm not sure if this is an old wives tale, but I heard once (source unknown, so maybe take it with a grain of salt) that the only way to get a six pack was to reduce the fat on your tummy and the only thing that will do that is running - doesn't matter if you do 500 sit ups a day, the running is most important. I would imagine a combo would defo do the job! Good luck!

  6. I agree with Brian above - wait until after your race. And when you do start - remember - light weights high reps. You don't want to bulk up as much as strengthen and tone what you have.

    For abs - check out some of the ab workouts for runners on Runner's World. They go a long way to strengthen core. Strong abs for runners can't be underplayed. When you get tired late in a race, strong abs/core allow you to relax a little more without lower back tiredness/soreness.

    There is another way to get a six pack though. Go to the store and purchase your favorite adult malt beverage, lay on your back on the couch, and place the multiple containers on your stomach while watching NFL or MLB. Oh - sorry - that was the way I got my 12 pack.....

  7. Weight training this close to a half? Nah, I would just focus on miles on the street. You won't get any benefit for the race. After the race, though, you might enjoy weight training more if you think about how it benefits running-strong abs and upper body means better form which means better running. I hate weights and I go through periods where I don't do them, but I try.