Goals for Strength, Power, and Endurance

Like no one can serve two masters, you can't have two primary goals. You could have a primary goal and a couple of secondary goals, and a handful of minor goals, so long as there are no direct conflicts. In general. There might be some exceptions.

Recently on a Facebook group I belong to for Ultra Runners (running a distance greater than a marathon, typically 50k, 50 mi, 100k, 100 mi) someone posted about slow tired legs after doing a strength/weight training workout. I commented about setting your goals and using the right protocols for training.

If running is your primary goal, then your strength training should support your running and not interfere with it.

  • 3 sets of 10 at moderate weights uses some endurance specific muscle fibers and has the potential to detract from running training
  • 8 sets of 3 at heavy weights uses strength specific muscle fibers and normally won't interfere with running training
  • 5 sets of 5 at moderate weights does use a mix of muscle fibers and can be recoverable or not depending on failure and rest.
  • 4 sets of 25 at light weights is a high volume training protocol that can improve training efficiency if used with moderation, even though it uses almost exclusively endurance specific muscle fibers.

RDL (Romanian Dead Lift) from my "Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual" coming soon.

The caveat to these is that normally the first is a bodybuilding protocol so you would be going to failure with at least the final set. Normally the second is a powerlifting protocol and you'd avoid the negative and rest as needed to avoid failure. The third is a general do-it-all protocol and you'd rest as needed to avoid failure.

Failure is a bodybuilding protocol. If you don't go to failure you somewhat reduce the chances of getting big muscles. Big muscles are generally a no-no for any distance more than once around the track (400 meters). With sprinting short distances, your muscles all work together to generate speed, so you do generally end up with larger muscles as you are faster. This is a chicken/egg situation. Sometimes sprinting a lot gives you big muscles. Sometimes having big muscles leans you more toward sprinting as a specialty.

Springtime Trail Running includes mud, ice, slush, snow. Enjoy.

If your goal is to run fast 100 meters, then by all means train hard and heavy with a variety of protocols. If you have a secondary goal to do a 400 pound raw squat, then by all means go for it. These two goals will not interfere with each other, and might even supplement each other with a synergistic effect.

If your goal is to run a marathon, then you should probably stick to 8x3 or 5x5 for most of your training, and never fail. You might only be able to do body weight bar loads for these, if even. It might take a couple years of training for an average runner to achieve that load, but it is well within their ability, in general. As an example, if you're an average runner at 170 pounds, you could do:

Squat: 5 @ 170 x 5
Bench Press: 5 @ 170 x 5
Dead Lift: 5 @ 170 x 5
Romanian Dead Lift: 5 @ 170 x 5
Pull-up: 5 @ BW x 5

And that would be a great workout.twice a week. If I were writing up that program, I'd add it in on cross training days, and the day before rest day, such as the Hal Higdon training programs include like this one at [CLICK HERE]

1Cross3 m run5 m run3 m runRest5 m pace8
I would have my trainee do their two weight sessions on the Monday Cross Training Day, and the Thursday Run Day. The Friday Rest Day will be plenty of time to allow for rest before the Saturday Pace Run Day.

So as you can see, it's all about your priorities and goals and how you want to train to make them happen. If you need help learning how to prioritize your mixed training goals into more synergy and complementary training objectives, please sign up for my Lose Weight Gain Muscle Newsletter [CLICK HERE] for weekly updates on how to make it all work together for the best success in the least time.