The thing about training for strength and endurance is you can’t. I know it’s not fair, but you can’t. That’s not to say that endurance programs don’t have a strength component (they do) or that strength programs don’t have a cardio component (they do) but you have to pick one. Endurance training doesn’t work with strength building because you tend to burn through any muscle gains. But you can include strength so you maintain your existing levels at least. And if you are looking at pure strength building your only running is going to be sprints.

I’ve seen many a new runner on body building forums complaining about why running doesn’t build muscle the way strength training does and why endurance training is counter-productive to strength. And I totally get that. When you really enjoy both, it is hard to choose. And the conundrums are endless. I have to run first because I find it hard to run afterwards, but if I run first, I probably won’t be at full strength for my lifts.

So you do have to prioritise one. And it is hard. The struggle is REAL. I loved doing the short distance running because that was well suited to my strength training with Move It Elite, and in that time I was consistently getting PBs for my lifts, especially some of the strict ones that I’ve always been weak on. But I missed my long runs. I realised now that I’ve started doing them again that I have so many ideas and thoughts that just never had a chance to come to the surface when I wasn’t running long. And particularly at this time of year, it is just beautiful running weather. Where I live the winter is pretty mild and so it’s crisp and lovely. Summer on the other hand, I struggle to love running. When you have to get up at 4am to get your window of not 30 degrees but still disgustingly humid it’s a hard discipline to love.

It can feel like you are always cheating on one. Which is why I’m now working off a seasonal plan. I’m doing one last marathon training cycle this year to take me up to the Melbourne Marathon, and then I’ll switch back to short distance and strength building. A fact I am sure I will thank myself for when it is 26 degrees at 5am and the humidity level is at an all time ewwwwwwwwwww level.

So I guess you can have both, just not at the same time.

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: Zoey Dowling

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  1. It is hard to accept but it is right. I had to change my training for the Boston marathon. I couldn't keep pushing my body in all directions. I did some targeted strength but I couldn't do everything. It paid off. I think it is representative of life in some ways. You can only have one true focus in an area at a time. All the best with your marathon training Zoey!

    • Zoey Dowling

      I am relatively certain it is the pushing in all directions that led to my injury a few months ago! So I'm being smart this time and modifying workouts at crossfit to take the impact off my legs, so I can save that for running! Thank you Nic! I really love the Melbourne course, so I'm really excited to be doing it again this year.