Monday, July 15, 2002

Weight training puts runners ahead

Personal trainer

By Dave Patania
Enquirer contributor

        Question: I am training for a marathon relay on Columbus Day and my dad told me I shouldn't do weights because I am using my legs too much. Should I worry about that?

        Answer: Columbus Day is three months away. Get back in the weight room and get strong. Weight training is great for runners as long as you train with your sport in mind.

        Knowing that your sport requires strength and a whole lot of endurance, make sure your lifting sessions are geared for that. Keep the weight moderate and the reps in the 15-30 range, concentrating on getting a great burn and pushing through that burn by keeping a smooth rhythm and pace. Rhythm and pace are everything in running, so keep them in mind when you lift.

        I have runners doing moderate weight, high repetitions and they get great results. What I try to do is re-create a tough run where the cardiovascular system is working hard and the legs are burning. Then I encourage the person to use the mind to keep the pace and finish the set. This is similar to what happens in a race because when it all comes down to it, you must use your mind to stay with the pace and push through the fatigue.

        This technique has helped many of my runners crush the hills and difficult sections of runs that used to make them “hit the wall.”

        I train runners like runners — not bodybuilders — so keep that in mind when you hit the weights. The trick is to pay the price in training specific to your needs and reap the benefits in competition or action.

        One thing: Taper off the weights seven to 10 days before the race and stay limber.

        Contact certified personal trainer Dave Patania at


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- Weight training puts runners ahead
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