Lifting + Running = more calories. CHECK!

Lifting + Running = more calories. CHECK!

So you're trying to be a great long distance runner but still have biceps, pecs and 400lb deadlift? You're crazy! (silence) umm...Is that even possible?

The short answer is I don't know.

I've only started to take up running again. I'm currently tweaking my own programming adjusting under the bar volume, milage on the road and macros in the kitchen.

But I firmly believe this goal is very possible. Here are a few of my observations so far.

Strong legs in the gym= strong legs on the road too

The biggest thing I've noticed when running 8+ miles is not that my legs get tired; I got the legs just not the lungs for running faster. I recall back in high school and college that my legs would routinely get tired performing anything above 6 miles, add in any kind of considerable incline and my legs were fried.

Years of squatting and deadlifting have made my legs much more resilient to fatigue. This is interesting considering they're technically calling upon different fiber types: slow twitch vs fast twitch and different energy system: aerobic vs anaerobic.

No Cramping or Side stitches

Another common problem runners have is related to poor breathing mechanics. This often results in getting side stitches or cramps in their oblique area. 

As a weightlifter I understand how to properly maintain a certain level of tightness to ensure a stable midsection. This is a result of proper breathing mechanics to ensure not exhaling fully because this will destabilize the trunk (think a relaxing yawn, you draw in A LOT of air followed by fully exhaling). 

Also having a core strong enough to perform 20+ reps on a trap bar with 350lbs is a pretty strong transverse abdominis, it should be able to hold up to the fairly easy pounding running transmits. Here's Dr Quinn Henoch demonstrating a PRI technique of how to breathe using the diaphragm. 

How This Might Work For You

I suppose it's important to cover who this type of training WON'T work for:

  • If you struggle with the core lifts of squatting and deadlifting, and you perform zero unilateral work. (Struggle like you can barely perform your bodyweight on these lift without looking like you're performing it during an earthquake)
  • If you think a one minute plank is REALLY hard. (again without looking like there's an earthquake)
  • If you're a physique athlete, you'll lose SOME muscle therefore distance running is counterproductive to your goals. (and there are better ways to whittle away that last remaining amount of fat) 

Related: Screw Cardio! Four Complexes for a Shredded Physique

Any lifter with a few years under their belt and a decent command of the core lifts would be fine and might even benefit from added C word...Cardio (GASP). 

Sunday: OFF

This is in anticipation of a BIG lifting day on Monday morning. 

Monday: Heavy lifting session

Here is where I push the envelope on my core lifts. I work up to a heavy single and back off for a decent percentage depending on how I'm feeling 70% ( I feel terrible)- 90% (I have the POWER!!).

I squat and deadlift on the same day. I bookend session with a superset of a chest supported back movement/rear deltoid movement along with anti-flexion core work.

I may or may not perform a light run afterwards, 3-4 miles at a sub-maximal pace 60-70% Max HR. 

Tuesday: Lighter lifting session

I'll typically perform hip thrusts on this day, weight is dependent on how I'm feeling of course. I'll typically superset 6 movements, move at a decent pace since I'm not looking to really move the needle on weights. Core movements include anti-rotation like payoff presses.

I will take the day off from running. 

Wednesday: No Lifting

Having not run the day before, this is usually my longest run of the week. So far it's been 8 miles. If there's a day where I want to push the distance it's on Wednesday. I move this along on a pace I deem fit, so far it's been slow and steady as to allow my joints to get used to lifting and running. 

Thursday: Upper Body

I'll perform 3 supersets consisting of a variety of pressing motions always with a pulling motion. Example: Incline dumbbell bench press and Chest supported incline dumbbell row, dips and a single kettle bell racked walk or standing dumbbell military press and inverted rows. Flexion based movements like reverse crunches and hanging leg raises comprise my core work today. 

No running.

Friday: Lower Body

This is my accessory day, depending on how my week went , I'll evaluate if there something that needs strengthening. Here I'll almost always perform some type of unilateral lower body move like split squats to start then move onto technique drive movements like Paused Squats and 1 1/2 rep style deadlifts.

Again I'll perform some type of back work. If Thursday had a lot of vertical pulling, I'll keep it to the horizontal variety on Friday or vice versa. Core is often more dynamic in nature like bear crawls, unilateral farmer's walk or a valslide body saw.

Running: Moderate milages if my low end is 3-4 and high end is 7-8, I'll perform a 5-6 mile pace run where I'm trying to lower my mile pace. If my 7-8 mile run is performed at 8:10, I'll attempt to perform these 5-6 miles at 7:55-8:00.

Saturday: No Lifting

I will run again, usually a really easy sub maximal 3-4 miles. Mostly a recovery run.  

Final Notes:

  • Leading up to deciding to run again, I was performing some kind of squat pattern movement 4x a week and deadlifting 2x a week.
  • I have upped my carb intake, around 3g per lbs now per day and upped my fat intake by 50%. I may play around with this and lower my carb intake. I'd like to see if I'm able to maintain performance and not have to eat 1-2 cups of starchy carbs at every meal. I LOVE rice but after a while, it's a bit much. 
  • I still play Basketball occasionally. Ball is Life bro...
  • I'm performing a crazy amount of soft tissue work to maintain proper muscle length and try to avoid injury considering the amount of added stress to my body. Hence the slow progression of adding in miles. Big milage is often associated with injuries in runners. 
  • Speaking of recovery, if I don't sleep at least 8-9 hours on lift+run days, I'm a zombie the following day. This makes it even harder considering I'm working all day too.