By BENJIE OLIVEROS
There is a debate among runners whether weights training and running could go together. I would like to add my voice to the debate. However, I do not claim to be an expert. I would just express my opinion based on my experience and some readings I have done about running.
Some runners would stop weights training when preparing for a race, especially long distance races: half and full marathons. They say mixing weights training with running would make a runner heavier and slower. They also say weights training is beneficial to sprinters, who need explosive power in their legs, but not to long distance runners.
It is true that weights training, particularly lifting heavy weights, makes one heavier.
When I began weights training in 2003, I was at 120 lbs. Now I am around 150 lbs. And running with 30 lbs more weight really impacts on one’s running speed, not to mention the additional punishment that the knees and ankles suffer with long distance running. That was why before I had a knee injury and was running regularly, I had to lose weight during training to improve on my personal record and to give my knees and ankles some relief.
However, there are also those who recommend weights training to complement running. They say weights training could help develop the muscles necessary for running: the gluteus, hamstring, gastrocnemius or calf muscles, and quadriceps (for uphill running). But of course, the weights training would be limited to these muscle groups and would not involve general bodybuilding. Some would limit it to resistance training.
I think Kenyans have the ideal body for long distance runners, with their thin frame and long legs. That is why Filipino runners rarely win against Kenyan runners in local races.
So I tend to subscribe to mixing targeted weights training with running. But one should be careful not to bulk up and gain more weight.
However, while I subscribe to this belief I hardly follow it. For one, I have no ambition of achieving a podium finish because my body structure is not ideal for running and I am on the short side. Plus, I began running only recently, a little more than a year, and I am not young anymore.
But I still want to run for its cardiovascular benefits and for clearing my mind. And
I want to do it while not giving up my weights training. Vanity? Well, it has been
said that if you are not an athlete, the only way you could be motivated to exercise
regularly is to have some measure of vanity.