Strength for Competitive 1-Mile to 10K (6.2 Mi) Runner

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by bill5xc, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Hello, StrongFirst Community!

    I am a currently uninjured male. I have been injured before (Achilles), but I am cleared for full physical activity (and even if I wasn't [something about contraindication])

    I am currently a seventeen-year-old male who stands 5' 9.5" inches tall and weighs 145 lbs. I'm not going to offer a guess as to my body-fat percentage because I don't want to get it horribly wrong and give you guys the wrong idea.

    I would like to add--because males mature at different rates--that I seem to be less physically mature for my age (e.g., baby face, little acne, sparse facial/body hair, not-deep voice, etc.).

    My only physical limitation (other than the typical desk-sitter mobility issues) is that I cannot kneel and sit back on my heels because of an Osgood-Schlatters bump remnant of my growing days.

    I have never had a functional movement screen; however, I feel that most of my joints are in good working order and that I move like an athlete.

    My sport of choice is competitive distance running. I ran cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track in high school, and I plan to continue all three in college and the D3 level. I am also dabbling in gymnastics, though not as competition. I simply would like to teach myself at home to do "cool tricks", if you will, and to be "fight strong", should the situation ever arise.

    What are my goals right now? Well, my primary goal is to lose the 12ish extra pounds I have gained. Before someone slams me for trying to lose weight because of my low BMI, I assure you I am not anorexic. I used to be 132-134 pounds on the daily, but I fell prey to depression and comfort eating, causing me to balloon to my current weight.

    Once I have lost the weight, my goal is to strength-train in a way that improves my sprint ability, which is severely lacking.

    My tertiary goal is simply to practice gymnastics/cool bodyweight exercises. Also, I want to be be a pushups animal.

    Currently, my strength training is as follows:

    Wrist Prep

    5x20 sec Planche Leans

    8x8 sec Frog Stands

    *5x(2 pistols, 10 20lb KB swings)

    3x3 sec torture twist

    GTG weighted (12 lbs) pushups (15 at a time for 200 total)

    Wrist Prep

    5x20 sec Planche Leans

    8x8 sec Frog Stands

    *5x(2 pistols, 10 20lb KB swings)

    3x3 sec torture twist

    GTG weighted (12 lbs) pushups (15 at a time for 200 total)

    Wrist Prep

    5x20 sec Planche Leans

    8x8 sec Frog Stands

    *5x(2 pistols, 10 20lb KB swings)

    3x3 sec torture twist

    GTG weighted (12 lbs) pushups (15 at a time for 200 total)


    * I struggle to keep my non-squatting leg in the air, so I've been standing on a step.

    Because I train at home and my parents would not like me to "waste" money on a gym memberships or buying more equipment, this is what I have available to train:
    • (1) 20 lb kettlebell
    • (1) 8 lb medicine ball
    • (1) ab wheel
    • (6) 3 lb weight plates
    • (2) 15 lb weight plates (no bar)
    • some resistance bands

    Could anyone provide me with recommendations? I am open to either modifications to my plan or to a completely new plan.


  2. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Sorry, that should say nothing about contraindications.
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement and Forum Admin Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @bill5xc, welcome to the StrongFirst forum.

    Your proposed program seems complicated to me. I recommend you find something simple and follow that. If you plan to compete in college, then let your college coach provide you with specific guidance, but for now, stick to the basics.

    E.g., our program Kettlebell Simple and Sinister - you could start it with a single kettlebell although you'll need heavier than 20 lb. Have a look at this thread to see the results people have achieved:

    "I Achieved S & S Simple! Here's My Story"

    sizzlefuzz, bill5xc and 305pelusa like this.
  4. 305pelusa

    305pelusa Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    It doesn't seem complicated to me personally. Perhaps the formatting just makes it unnecessarily dense. This might be a better formatting for people to give you feedback ^_^


    -Wrist Prep
    -5x20 sec Planche Leans
    -8x8 sec Frog Stands

    -5x(2 pistols, 10 20lb KB swings)
    -3x3 sec torture twist
    -GTG weighted (12 lbs) pushups (15 at a time for 200 total)


    Anywho, I don't follow with the Torture Twist. You just hold for 3 secs per side and that's your set?
    bill5xc likes this.
  5. Jak Nieuwenhuis

    Jak Nieuwenhuis Strong Member of the Forum

    welcome to the forum!

    if you want to get good at gymnastics, then this is a pretty supportive community,

    however I believe most people on this forum will tell you that you should stick to an "easy strength" style plan if you would like to focus on your sport (running).

    I'm just saying, that you could dominate in running if you made yourself "generally strong" through rather basic movements, as opposed to a rather specific gymnastics routine. do you realize how many people are not doing this? how many runners you could smoke because they aren't as strong as you?

    don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you that you shouldn't pursue gymnastics, I'm just saying that your goals will become more and more contradictory as you move into the college level, where most of your time will be spent on studies and sport (running)

    as you move further into gymnastics you also approach some potentially injurious movements that arguably build equal or less strength than basic compound movements... just something to think about

    not try to seem negative mate, I'm glad you're here for support, I just think you could do better at running if you simplified your strength training a bit

    good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    bill5xc likes this.
  6. AndyMcL

    AndyMcL Strong Member of the Forum

    To be honest, you do not need a ton of strength for running; particularly distance. Access to a barbell would be nice for deadlifts, but you can get by with KB and bodyweight. The plan you proposed looks pretty good for gymnastic strength, but I do not see it doing a lot for your running.

    Simple and Sinister is a solid entry point to begin KB training, and the main two exercises would be beneficial for your running. Definitely get someone to check out your swing form if you can. If not, I would recommend posting a video here for analysis.

    Some exercises that I like a lot for running:
    1Leg KB DL
    KB Swings
    Goblet Squats
    Lateral Band Walks/Monster Walks

    You could structure them over two workouts like this:

    Lift A
    Push Ups
    Goblet Squats
    Pull Ups
    Lateral Band Walks

    Lift B
    KB Swing
    Ab Wheel
    Monster Walks

    I would just alternate between the two on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Following a set rep scheme of 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (higher on the swings). As the weights get easier, increase. Never to failure. You do not want strength training to interfere with your running training.

    I would not worry too much about losing weight. You're 17 and likely growing/adding muscle. Getting stronger and faster are the metrics you should be pursuing. If those keep improving, then your body composition is too.

    For running, what is your current training plan? Current speed and goal speed?
    bill5xc and vegpedlr like this.
  7. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you for simplifying that. I had everything in a table, but I lost the formatting when I pasted it over.

    The torture twist is an exercise Allyson Felix's coach, Barry Ross, uses. It looks like this:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  8. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    I'll answer the last part first. For track season, I am a 10:23 two-miler, who would really like to dip under ten minutes. I've had some personal issues that affected my training, so that is not my goal right now. My next real goal is making varsity for my college cross country team. I would likely need to be in the 16:30 range for a 5K (5:19 per mile). Currently, I'm not doing much of any running because my Achilles started hurting again, and I firmly believe it is because of my weight, though I do agree with you that "getting stronger and faster are the metrics you should be pursuing."

    Do you think I should get S & S and start with that before moving on to the routine you created? Also, I will have access to a barbell once I'm in college.

    Thank you!
  9. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you for a dose of realism.

    My gymnastics-type training is more for a "cool" skill factor than any actual carryover to my running. Right now I am trying to progress to a planche (though I still have a ways to go. I cannot complete a straight-arm frog stand yet).

    So to clarify: Do you think I should simply wait until a later time in my life to work on these bodyweight skills, or is there a feasible way to work it into a routine?

    Also, do you like the routine @AndyMcL proposed for general strength?

    P.S. StrongFirst really gets it. I thought I was gonna get slammed for posting as a runner, but you have better (more correct) information than 95% of most runners.
  10. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you. Would I have to purchase the book for best results, or is it possible for me to scrounge information from the internet? Also, do you have recommendations on finding the proper kettlebell weight?
  11. Jak Nieuwenhuis

    Jak Nieuwenhuis Strong Member of the Forum

    Most people here are very friendly and love to give out advice, a lot of which is top notch!

    It depends what you want to do, as far as gymnastics is concerned. I don't think a little bit of skill practice on planche would completely derail you, but working it into a routine that will also make you strong for running is beyond my capabilities. Maybe ask your running coach?

    @AndyMcL posted a good routine, however I would suggest reading "easy strength" and eventually learning how to make your own routine to compliment your running. it is a book based on how to make track and field athletes, as well as fighters, stronger while leaving them energy for sport practice
    bill5xc likes this.
  12. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement and Forum Admin Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Get the book and read it through before attempting anything.

    bill5xc likes this.
  13. AndyMcL

    AndyMcL Strong Member of the Forum

    Sorry to hear about the Achilles! Hopefully some intelligent strength training will help prevent future injuries. Those are solid high school times and hopefully you can reach your goals in the near future.

    I think S&S is a very good starting point, and complements higher volume low intensity endurance training.

    I would also get in touch with your future coach during the summer and see what they recommend.
    bill5xc likes this.
  14. Matts

    Matts Helping Make Others Stronger

    @bill5xc your running goals dictate one thing- tons and tons of miles. I've done your goal times, and they don't come easy unless you're born with some kind of freakish pump.

    I'd very seriously doubt your weight was an issue with you Achilles tendon...dollars to doughnuts, it's a combination of poor training and poor form. If you don't have a coach, you need to get one, and a good one. Check at schools you're thinking about, local track clubs, whatever, but get someone who can help you with your form and program before you do real damage to yourself. Very few people have decent form, and the more you push it with speed or distance, the more it becomes an issue.

    When I ran a lot, I always kept a lot in the bank, and did some dips and pullups after as part of cooling down. After some time, I could do muscle-ups almost by accident. Don't underestimate what a little bit will do if you're consistent and in otherwise great shape.

    Right now, with you tendon acting up, S&S would be great for all-around conditioning and later for filling in your running program. Didn't have it around when I ran, but it would have been very good to keep the hips and legs looser and avoid the extreme specialization you get from that much running.
    bill5xc likes this.
  15. vegpedlr

    vegpedlr Triple-Digit Post Count

    Runner/cyclist here, though off road and for much longer distances. Like Jak suggests, I like Easy Strength, and following Dan John's advice on training the basic human movements, the hip hinge, squat, push, pull, and loaded carry. If you cover those moves with whatever equipment you have or like, you're good. The book has plenty of good stuff but I think Dan John's articles since then make it much simpler. There are some threads here, and more over on Dan's forum. What I see missing from your routine is pulling. Something I've recently incorporated that is paying off is TRX pulls. There are various TRX style suspension trainers available, or DIY. Without trying very hard, I've improved my position in the bike with those pulls, and I think most folks would benefit as they help counteract sitting posture.

    I haven't made a serious run at S&S, but I have enjoyed alternating periods of Easy Strength in the gym with periods of KB/BW in the park.
    bill5xc and Stefan Olsson like this.
  16. pet'

    pet' Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum


    Working on pistols may serve you well to a certain extent, as it works also the core. Of course, there is no real "need" of maximal strength when it comes to running. If you have access to bell, A+A swings or snatches may be pretty interesting (for both conditioning and strength).

    Kind regards,

    bill5xc likes this.
  17. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Yes, that is more what I'm looking for. I love too read, and I have a 600+ to-read list, but I'll put Easy Strength at the top along with S&S.
  18. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks for your advice. I keep finding myself surprised that the people at StrongFirst get it. TBH, I expected, a forum full of strength/conditioning to espouse a low-mileage/high-intensity approach, but--no--you guys again utilize principles of proper physiology. I shouldn't be surprised because, if one draws parallels, this aligns perfectly with the rest of SF's teachings.

    I think my form is above average because I have paid lots of attention to it over the years. If you want to take a look, this is a video of me winning my Western Massachusetts Division II Meet last year (I'm seeded fourth in the green). The main difference between then and now is that I have a quicker cadence.
  19. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you for your advice. Keeping in mind the equipment I have available, I will start with S&S and continue with that until next year at college. I will also wait until I am able to obtain a copy of Easy Strength.
  20. bill5xc

    bill5xc Double-Digit Post Count

    The idea of A+A is intriguing to me, and I was hoping someone would mention it. But, first, I would like to respond to the "'need' of maximal strength when it comes to running." I believe that maximal strength is very important. Good distance runners cannot win races unless they can sprint. So after a strong aerobic base to get the runner to stay with the lead pack, I think maximal strength is the second most important thing.

    I am woefully weak in this area (I run a 100 in 14.5-15"), and every distance runner I have ever raced again in a sprint beats me. In the video above, I only won because I made a long drive for home.

    Back to A+A: I feel like this would improve my aerobic capacity and strength endurance for running; however, I think developing my maximal strength would be more important first because it gives me more room to work with, and it gives me a tangible skill to develop.

    Would you like to weigh in on this?

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