Running But Not Lifting?
Gordon Pirie was a three time British Olympian, a Silver Medalist in the 5k, who competed back in the 1950s and 1960s, when weights were not part of most athletes' training and certainly not for runners. His weightlifting partners were throwers. Here is what Pirie had to say about how weights helped his running way back then:
"Before I began weight training, I was a long distance and cross country runner who could grind it out with anyone, but a constant loser in a sprint. A diet of hard weights, however, turned me into a complete competitor, one who could pour on the pace and still sprint madly at the finish."
This very desirable effect of lifting weights, forging oneself into the "complete competitor," is still difficult to get many runners and their coaches to buy into. But looky here: where do you need your kick the most? Towards the end of the race. Which is exactly where runners who do not weight train look for, but can't find, something left to kick with.
Jordan Hasay, who had one of the fastest debut marathons in the history of USA marathoning and is currently the second fastest American female marathoner ever lifts weights three times a week. Sometimes more. She deadlifts more than double body weight for reps, so obviously the young woman is bulky and huge. (sarcasm) Lifting has helped her come back more quickly from injuries and, like Pirie, she notes how weights help her finishing kick.
One of my sports performance athletes, Marlena Preigh, is a high school senior this year and the current Colorado 5A 800 meter champion. She has been lifting with me close to 4 years now and she comes in twice a week to lift. And yes, she lifts in-season for x-country, indoor track and outdoor track! Since you want your strongest performances to be at the end of the season when the most important meets are held you need to lift in-season maintain that strength when you need it the most: for the Championships! Masters runner, USATF photographer and official Barbell Strategy "lens-master" Dave Albo, has a whole album on his photography site of Marlena Lifting Things (Dave lifts things too)
Haiden Freeman, who is pictured on the title page of my blog performing an overhead squat, is a runner and triathlete who also started lifting with me around 4 years ago. If you think lifting weights is only done by short, squatty people with stumpy limbs or that it will make you inflexible and musclebound, please check the photo again.
Finally, this last winter Jason Fitzgerald of Strengthrunning.com released an online strength program he and I collaborated on. Here is Jason's blog post about the program. Strength Running Strength Program
Stay tuned, there are more posts about lifting and running to come. I have a book in mind at it will likely take shape here.