This post is no doubt going to leave me open to those who disagree and tell me that you should have a clear linear periodisation plan that first builds strength then converts it to power etc.
Put your toys back in the pram and your periodisation textbook back on the shelf. Science is great, real world results are better.
Just to prove how powerful this can be, I yesterday ran 8.25 miles in 58 minutes which included 8 x 50m STEEP hill climbs up and down on grass at half way and a fairly steep road hill at about 7 miles.
Whilst this is not anything that special to a 'runner' I run once per week because I have to get ready for an endurance event I am doing in July.
I hadn't run until February.
I have also maintained my muscle and kept body fat at about 7% rather than ending up like a stick thin Sunday Shuffler / Pavement Pounder.
I can also...
- Deadlift 2.5 times my bodyweight
- Squat 2 x my bodyweight
- Perform a single leg squat with a 32kg kettlebell
- Perform 15-20 single arm push ups
This isn't a brag and there are many people who could outperform that, however the point is that people tend to believe that you can only have good endurance OR be strong OR maintain muscle.
Consider that I also have kind of bodytype which qualifies me for the Grasshopper Olympics and has had me labelled 'lanky streak of ****' by my Grandad and 'gangly' in local newspaper sports reports.
If you want to be the BEST at any of the above, then no this training isn't ideal, but the vast majority of us out there want to be capable of many things all at once - it makes life much more enjoyable and gives us much more potential!
My training philosophy is to build lean athletic bodies which, whilst they won't win bodybuilding competitions nor half-marathons, are capable of holding their own in ANY competition.
They are capable of sprinting faster than most, running 10k faster than most and looking better than most.
Clearly the need for such abilities will fluctuate but the point is you have a great base of everything so that you can be ready to specialise for any event as required.
So what does a training week look like for me at the moment?:
Monday - Anaerobic Conditioning
A challenge such as 5 rounds as fast as possible of:
30 extreme kettlebell swings
15 burpee-pull ups
10 kettlebell jerks
10 sprints across my studio
Repeat until 5 rounds are complete
Tuesday - Strength
4 x 5 reps 45 sec rest
Superset of 1 leg squat with 2 kettlebell press
4 x 5 each side 60 sec rest after press
Superset of 1 arm push up with pull up (using weighted vest)
4 sets stoppping 1 rep short of failure
Wednesday - Anaerobic conditioning
Treadmill on steep incline (or find a nice hill outside - I live in the city centre!)
8 rounds of 45 seconds at high speed - 90 seconds rest between each interval
15 minutes steady run at 75-80%
Thursday - Rest
Mobility and flexibility work )e.g foam rolling and developmental stretching
Friday - Strength
1 arm dumbbell clean and press
Superset of barbell front squat with weighted pull up
4 x 5 reps - 60 seconds rest after pull up
Superset of 1 arm dumbbell chest press with single arm row
4 x 5 reps each side - 60 seconds rest after pull up
4 sets to 1 short of failure
Saturday - Rest
Mobility and flexibility
Long run (at the moment due to requirements for Tough Guy event)
This is just one week.
4 times per week is core work using varied sets, reps and exercises.
Each week certain variables will change.
I might do one arm pull up strength practice or side-to-side pullups.
I might do kettlebell snatches instead of dumbbells.
I might use isometrics and complex training (not complexes) to increase strength and power.
Sometimes I'll do more strength and less conditioning.
Please do not take this as a 6 week program or anything like that, it is purely to demonstrate how to mould strength training with conditioning without burning out.
What if I can't train that much?
If you only have time to train three times per week you might do 15 mins heavy strength work at the start of a session followed by 20 minutes conditioning.
There is no set way of training so don't get caught up in performing the same sessions every week just so you 'get better at it'.
If it hurts, makes you sweat, is balanced in terms of muscles used and gives certain energy systems enough recovery time, it will work.
And don't forget to eat well!