Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to avoid fatigue by building strength

I have noticed over the past few half marathons that I can run strong for most of the race, but the last mile or two is a struggle.  Many of my marathon running friends talk about the dreaded “Wall” that occurs around mile 20.  This is typically due to fatigue.  I recently ran across a great article from Runner’s World Magazine, “How to prevent marathon fatigue” and wanted to share it with you.

While I don’t run marathons yet (my first will be on December 6th) I figured that this article would also be useful in training for half marathons.  The basic premise is that you can prevent your muscles breaking down at the end of a race, marathon fatigue, by adding strength training to your weekly schedule.

When adding strength training like lunges and squats, it is best to start with 3 sets of 12-15 reps (light weights) which will add to your endurance.  As it becomes easier, you can increase the weight and change to 3 sets of 6-8 reps to increase your strength.  The article also suggests doing your weights after you run.  That way you are training your legs to work harder when they are fatigued.  You should take a rest day after that workout to allow your muscles to repair themselves and get stronger. 

I have been doing this workout for the past two weeks.  I run 3-4 miles at an easy to moderate pace and end my run at the gym for 3 sets of squats, dead lifts, and box jumps.  While I have been doing a circuit training (Body Pump) class each week, combining the running and weights has provided results immediately.  I feel stronger and recover faster from hills. 

The article also suggests adding threshold runs to your routine.  I will be writing a blog post next week that addresses threshold runs and how to add them to your routine.  I hope you like this workout half as much as I do.  What is your favorite cross training workout?

Note:  I am not a doctor; these are my personal opinions based on research.  Consult a running coach to assess what should be added to your running plans.

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