Why Weight Train While Training For Long Distances

Hey friends!

How are YOU?! If you haven’t yet, you still have time to ENTER the Adora Chocolate Disks Giveaway! <–chocolate & calcium combined? Bring.it.on.


On another note, have you ever choked on a chip before? Yesterday while ‘ahem’ multi-tasking, I ate a scoopful of black beans on a tortilla chip while talking to my little sister. Well, I tried to answer her question and didn’t exactly chew part of the chip entirely, and it got STUCK sideways in my pipe.

I thought I was going to die. <—I could still breathe, but it hurt to swallow & I could feel it STUCK there. Ouch.

{okay, I am a drama queen, but seriously, it was scary!}

I tried everything: I drank water, I tried gagging, I tried throwing up, I even considered giving myself the Heimlich (which wouldn’t have worked). By this point I had hung up with my sister (hurriedly, I might add), and finally calmed down for a second & thought about the chip.

“If I were Mr. Chip what would I do?”

Well DUH! The chip would either need to get pushed down OR disintegrate. The water wasn’t working, so I quickly put a small sponnful of beans into my mouth, chewed, and swallowed……

and WAHLAH! The chip went right down.

So: if you’re ever alone & a chip gets stuck, just shovel soft food in, and say ‘goodbye!’ stuck chip.

I amaze myself sometimes. Really.



Alright, on a more serious note, in 10 days I will be a (half) IRONWOMAN.

That is kind of a scary thought.

Okay, you’re right. That is a VERY scary, overwhelming, freaky, heart-stopping, totally exciting thought.

I have trained a lot & hard for this, and to be completely honest, I am SO glad the race is soon. I am kind of over the extremely early wake-up calls, the hours & hours spent on a bike, the chlorinated hair, my off & on again aching foot, my constant exhaustion, my almost-always sore body, and the anticipation of it all.

I am SO grateful I have done the training (and am excited to race), and have really enjoyed this fitness experience, but I don’t think that kind of training on top of my normal fitness teaching schedule + full-time job & being a wife is really that maintainable for long periods of time.

Ummmm yah. It’s not.

{How do those Olympic athletes do it then?! Oh right, they train for YEARS.}


In fact, I even cut back a class–I dropped a Zumba class I had been teaching, in early July, and it was THE best thing I could’ve done.

Actually-that is a lie. The best thing I did during this Half IronMan training was keep up with my weight training.

Why Weight Train While Training For Long Distances

Some might call me crazy. Or stupid. Or both, for having trained for a Half IronMan while still teaching 6+ fitness classes per week, with 3-4 of those being BodyPUMP (a full-body barbell weights class).

But honestly, it was AWESOME. Especially having the BodyPUMP classes. (The Zumba classes were tougher <–just because I have been doing SO much long-distance cardio).

Of course I was often sore, and yes there were some classes I just did.not.want.to.teach. But overall, it was a fabulous decision to stay with weight training.

{BY the way, the foam roller and lots & lots of sleep helped with the soreness and/or tiredness. Just FYI.}

And here is WHY I did, and why I suggest that anyone training for a long distance (cardio) race stick with at least 2x/week weight training sessions:

  • Weight training helps you maintain muscle. Long-distance cardio can actually deplete muscle mass, which in turn makes you weaker. When we weight train we cause small tears in the muscle tissue (among the muscle fibers/cells), and then those cells rebuild<–stronger & better. We want muscle to help power us through those long distances. So it’s actually counter-intuitive NOT to weight train while working on increasing endurance for a race.
  • Consistent weight training can help reduce the risk of injury. Strong muscles help keep our body in alignment, and when trained/used properly, can aid in correcting any imbalances. This of course is crucial to long-distance racing! The stress put on the knee joints, ankles, feet, and even the arms is immense. Strong muscles (come from regular weight training) supports those various connective tissues & joints, thus reducing injury risk.
  • Weight training is a great cross-training activity. If you run too much, bike too much, or swim too much, it is highly likely that you’ll get bored, injured, or frustrated with it. Weight training is the perfect solution for that issue –consistent weight training adds in a new dimension of fitness that will work your brain & muscles in new ways, will help support healthy bone & tissue function, and most likely improve your racing skills.
  • Weight training is an essential part of any fitness plan or training regimen. Every single Olympic athlete, I am sure, lifts weights and/or weight trains (aka resistance training via body-weight). The swimmers, the divers, the gymnasts, the horse-jumpers, the sprinters. ALL of them. Their plans are varied, of course, but none of them JUST swims or bikes or dives.

I think that last point kind of hits it home for me.

Especially as I watched the Olympians compete. They are strong on the floor, in the water, on the track, and all over the field or beach because they work & train there, but also because they spend hours & hours in the gym training those muscles to be stronger so they can hit, dive, stroke, run, jump, and sprint stronger, faster, and more efficiently.

Now, there really isn’t any question, now is there?

If you’re training for a race, I highly recommend (per doctor’s recommend of course) at least 2x weight training (even pushups, squats, or lunges at home counts!) throughout your plan.

Now, what are you waiting for?! There are PRs & PDs to be had & races to be raced–so hit the gym (or home gym)! :)


Have a GREAT day! <3

Do YOU weight train throughout training for long distances races?? What is YOUR way to train?? Have YOU ever choked on a chip before?? Have YOU heard which athletes lift what & when??

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  1. So so you teach at a Y? My Y (where I work part time) has all the classes you are talking about. I love BodyPump….although I did get a little bursitis in my shoulder at one point but I am over that now. 😉 Got to life properly and good thing for good instructors!!!

    Now, on to the chip….a couple of days ago I was eating licorice and it got stuck in the “wrong pipe”….I too tried every thing you spoke of and it actually kind of “burned” (ok it sucked) I tried to eat/drink but since it was in the wrong spot it didn’t work…..what did I do??? I had to suck it down through my nose?? Gross huh? TMI? HA! Sorry….yep, treated the bad boy like it was snot and sucked it back…..my hubby about died but hey, It worked and I felt a ton better.

    (I am sure they will ask me to post that story in some important medical journal soon…ha!)

  2. I haven’t done a long distance race in a long time, but I have trouble finding time to strength train and maintain long runs…. Which is probably part of the reason i’m taking a break from long distance races right now because I am so very much enjoying strength training!

  3. I HAVE had a chip get stuck and even though I was still able to breath I did feel like I was going to die- the pain was pretty intense although brief. When I ran my marathon I didn’t train on weights at all but your points are convincing.

    On another note, what a great accomplishment to even train for the Ironman (half or full!). I can’t wait to read your race report!

  4. But how do you balance how much weight to use while upping your program? I tried doing speed intervals on the treadmill a few weeks ago and my runner’s knee flared up because I got feisty and put too much weight on the leg press….I have trouble balancing strengthening with cardio increases! I want to get stronger and faster at the same time!

    • I try to not lift heavy on my legs if I have a tough run or bike the next day. It’s a balancing game, and I don’t always do it ‘right’ b/c I have to teach, but it’s not good to drop weights all together when training for a race :)

  5. I have in the past always dropped strength training during endurance training, but I believe you are right the two actually go well together, right up until maybe taper and then I drop it off a bit. Excited to see how it helps me maintain muscle while the miles grow

  6. Weight training is so, so vital and I wish more ladies did it. I go to my local Y, and I am one of two females in the entire gym who lift. I’m currently training for my second marathon and continue to lift upper, lower and core each twice a week. It makes for a bit of extra planning, but it’s well worth it to keep myself healthy and ready to go. :) By the way, I did competitive gymnastics for over a decade and we did body-weight conditioning daily. At times, we’d even squat and lunge with a teammate on our back, haha. Three cheers for weightlifting!

  7. You know I am all over in support of this topic!! Stopping weight training is not the best move. Scale it to be able to still do other training, but you gotta have that muscular strength and balance to power through long distances and stay injury free. Great post!

  8. I’ve incorporated more weight training as I’ve been upping my running mileage, but I find it easily gets pushed aside. Since my workouts revolve around my runs, I seem to forget how important weight training is and sometimes don’t even do it. I know it helps with running and such, but I really enjoyed reading your reasons why to do it. Sometimes you just need a reminder like that to stay focused!

  9. I really need to take your advice on this. I teach 4 zumba classes per week and I barely have time for weights, and I know it’s crucial I DO THEM… I have been thinking I may need to drop a zumba class (TEAR!!!) in order to get in more weights. however, this fall, I am adding a 5th class of zumba.. how many zumba classes per week do you teach? I really think adding this 5th one means I need to drop 1 or 2 of the other ones I teach..saddens me deeply tho :(

    • I hated dropping a class, but I needed to. I teach 2 right now (I used to teach 4), but I know what’s best for my body!

      I also fell more in love with it if I didn’t teach it as often<--every day, etc., because it brought the magic again. Sometimes it's tough to bust out the energy when u just don't have it. Hah! Would love to take a class of yours someday! <3

  10. SUCH a great topic! I do not run long distances, but I have several friends at GPP who do. They all have been able to train less (running-wise) and just do GpP workouts and achieve better race results. Super cool.

  11. Oh my god- that’d just rip up your throat eeeeek! You definitely have reason to be dramatic. I hate it when occasionally as you eat lettuce it gets stuck in your throat and you do a mini freakout/choke haha! Oh and can residents outside America go in the drawer for those choccy disks? I’d defs be Ms. Popular round Australia because I don’t even think they are available here! Oh and speaking of foam rollers- I am thinking about investing in one and I saw one for quite a good deal ($30) but I’m not sure if it’s any good and if it’s worth getting. If you’re interested it’s this one- http://www.physiosupplies.com.au/fitness/EVA-Foam-Rollers-10cm-x-90cm.html

    • oh wow, that looks like a nice one!

      I got one for Christmas, thanks to the husband (it is PINK and I love it) I think it was around 20$ ish??

      And so sorry, the Adora giveaway is already over, & I think it’s just for U.S. :(

  12. I’ve been trying to weight train 2-3 times a week but it was really hard to keep up as my running mileage increased, I had less and less time before work! Luckily I’ll be back on my student schedule soon with more time to workout!

  13. I found this post from Tina’s blog and I couldn’t agree with you more. I have neglected strength training in the past for endurance training, but it really complements & enhancing the long-distance cardio work. Have a great race!


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