Strength Training During Marathon Training

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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GAH!!! 😯

My head is spinning. There’s a lot happening on the work front this week. It’s all good stuff, but woah. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed. Sorry for the negative intro. I guess I just don’t deal with stress well.


Mid-morning, I took a break from the madness at my desk and munched on a cinnamon almond Raw Way Bar that the folks from OpenSky sent me to sample. I loved it!! It had lots of flavor, great texture, and tasted delicious. It reminded me of a Larabar mixed with a KIND bar”” best of both worlds.

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A couple of hours later, I took a short break away from my computer for an early lunch. I made a salad with a big scoop of veggie hummus on top and flax oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. On the side, I had some crackers.

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After lunch, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a dark chocolate Adora disk with peanut butter and then a handful of chocolate chips.

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It’s only noon, but I’ve already eaten breakfast, lunch, and a snack. It’s funny how stress makes me want to EAT! Maybe a walk with the pug will help my anxiety levels?

Marathon Training & Body Pump

Recently, I’ve received a number of questions about marathon training and Body Pump/strength training. It seems to be a hot topic, so I decided to answer some of them in this post. As always, I am happy to help in anyway that I can, but please remember that I’m not a fitness professional.

How do you balance your strength training and running?

My long runs are typically on Saturday mornings, so I schedule my strength training around it. My goal is to attend two Body Pump classes each week, so I usually take them on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. (My gym doesn’t offer BP on Thursdays.) I prefer to take the Monday and Wednesday Body Pump classes, so my legs are ready for my long run on Saturday. However, when I take the Friday Body Pump class, I use lighter weight on my legs (squats & lunges), so they aren’t sore for my long run the next morning. (I use my usual weight on everything else.)

If I can’t fit two Body Pump classes in during the week, I usually attend a yoga class that focuses on building strength and core muscles, such as Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, etc. Yoga seems to be a good alternative and the class usually helps with my flexibility and balance, which is also important for running.

Do you feel like Body Pump interferes with your long runs at all?

Yes, it definitely does, and it took a little getting used to at first. When I trained for my first marathon, I skipped a lot of strength training workouts, but now I find it helpful to plan my workouts for the week on Sunday afternoon, so I can balance my running with strength training. It takes a little coordination, but somehow I make it work. My current training plan demonstrates how I balance these different workouts.

I know I am supposed to be cross-training and/or strength training on my off-days, but I am typically sore and want to save my legs for our next training run. Do you think I am doing myself a disservice by not doing anything on my off-days?

Possibly. If you’re really sore, I won’t strength training. But, if you’re not super sore, I’d definitely incorporate strength training into your cross training days. Building muscle helps you run faster, burns more calories, and prevents injuries!

Do you think I should do some weights and cross-training on my off-days, or do you think that with less than a month left until the race I shouldn’t incorporate anything new into the training schedule?

Personally, I wouldn’t do anything different. I’d just keep doing what you’re doing in preparation for race day. After the race, however, I’d fit some strength training into your weekly workouts!

OpenSky Giveaway

A reader left a comment about the Toddy Cold Brew System on my blog this morning, and I thought it was really cool, so I asked OpenSky to do giveaway for it. I love iced coffee, so, of course, I want everyone else to love it too!


All you have to do to enter the giveaway is follow me on OpenSky. If you already follow me, you’re entered to win.

The Toddy Cold Brew System also goes really well with an upcoming deal for one of my favorite products ever! Oh, yes, get ready for a sweet deal on the stainless steal straws!!! Just make sure you follow me, so you can get in on the deal!

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  1. This was such a timely post for me! I’m trying to figure out how to add 2 BodyPump classes a week to my half marathon training. What does a typical week look like for you Tina? You say you do your long runs on Saturday, BodyPump on Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. What days do you do your other training runs? Do you also run on your BodyPump days/ How many rest days do you give yourself a week?

  2. I try to incorporate strength training into my workouts as much as I can. I wish I could go to BodyPump though, or any sort of strength training class. I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing sometimes, especially if I don’t use the machines. I saw in the comments you’re going to do a post on strength training so I am looking forward to that!

  3. When I first started training for marathons, I worked with a personal trainer who was also a runner. He was the perfect trainer for me because he focused my efforts on ST that would benefit my running and help me avoid injuries. It was expensive but well worth it, as running is a muscle burning activity and you’ve got to put in the effort to keep your muscle tone intact when the miles get up there!

  4. Glad I found this post! Not only am I going to my first Body Pump class next week, but I was wondering if it would be enough to count as “strength training” for the half I’m about to train for. I’m a little injured right now, and know that strengthening my hamstrings and quads will really help me to stay injury free for the duration of my training. Thanks for the tips!

  5. Hey Tina! Just found this post when googling marathon training/strength training, and found it really helpful. I JUST signed up for my first marathon (!!!) but am nervous because I really love lifting/yoga, and am afraid these will have to fall by the wayside in order to train properly for the 26.2. Do you think you could point me in the direction of a plan that incorporates enough miles but strength stuff as well? (Or just any advice!) I’m convinced lifting is what helps people get faster, too… Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Laura! Congrats on signing up for your first marathon! Very exciting! As for strength training, I took Body Pump classes 2-3 times a week in addition to my marathon training. Nowadays, I do CrossFit, but if you have access to some group training classes that focus on strength training, they’d be a great way to keep you on track while marathon training. Hope this helps and good luck with the marathon! 🙂

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