Couch to 5K
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Back to the gym for strength training

Hi All!

I stopped strength training back in April when I began C25K and know that if I want to improve my speed and endurance I need to start this again.

I am fortunate that at work we have a gym and a personal trainer that we can book an appointment with for free. The last time I saw her was this time last year when she gave me a health and safety induction at the gym before I was allowed to use it. I used the gym from November 2013 to April 2013 and then started C25K and pretty much abandoned the gym!

When I saw her today she asked me if I was here for a health and safety induction. I reminded her that she met me last year and had already given me the induction and that I was here for some advice regarding strength training to compliment my running. She was a bit embarrassed to have forgotten me but I told her that I had lost about 26kgs since last year so that might be why she doesn't recognise me! She then asked me what I did to lose the weight, its lucky I wrote my blog on it over the weekend because I was able to repeat it quickly! I mentioned all the running I had done since April and I now wanted her advice on strength training.

She provided me with a training plan and made me use the weights machines that she wants me to use. She made me do a few abs and back exercises on the exercise mats. While I was using the machines she was asking me more about my weight loss and running.

She did warn me that in the short term my speeds would probably taper off because of the extra strain that this training would have on me, but in a few months it would pay off and I should see the benefits in my running. I am hoping for a sub 22 min 5km by year end and a sub 20 min 5km sometime next year.

So my plan now is:

Monday – Strength (about 30 mins)

Tuesday – Speed session (8km)

Wednesday – Strength (about 30 mins)

Thursday – Speed session (5km)

Saturday – Parkrun (5km)

I am overseas for work next week so I will begin this programme the following week. She asked me to see her again in the new year to change the plan so I can make it more difficult, so hopefully I stick with it in the meantime!

Happy running all!

11 Replies

I am in awe of your progress Aftabs! Very impressed. My mate Lou, who was also at Brentwood, seriously recommends the strength training. I like your regime but am not sure when I will pick up on the speed myself. I think I am probably in a short phase of reflecting on things but not having time to do so!! Keeping up with the long-ish run on Sundays and have done a few 5k and 4k easies midweek. I have mentally booked this month-end for the next Parkrun and got a boost by finding an ex-colleague has done a couple at my local Parkrun recently. Keep up the good work. Brilliant timing on that last 5k of yours. Hope I can crack the 24 then 23 minute barriers!! Keep on running.


Thanks James! I have been putting off the strength training because I enjoy it a lot less than running, but I know I have to do it if I want to progress further. Good luck with your Parkrun and if you have the time try to go regularly because it is a great atmosphere and you can get hints and tips from the more experienced runners. Let us know how you get on!


Cheers Aftab I'll do that.


Interesting about speed with strength training. I have always done weights rather than cardio. So the running is the new addition for me. Good luck with your strength and I will have to warn you strength can be as addictive as running when you get into it.


I have to try not to get addicted to this too, my wife thinks I run too much already!


I do 5 weight sessions a week, I'm lucky enough where I live to have outbuildings and I've put together a small gym for myself mainly from other people's discarded or sold cheaply unwanted gym equipment via sources such as Gumtree.

I now run for an hour each weekday morning 6:00 am (I know there are lots of people that say you should not run consecutively but it's at the moment working for me)

I then after 15:00 hrs do my strength training, which gives a good 8 hours between the Cardio Session and the Strength Session.

I have 2 routines, upper body and lower body, upper takes me just over an hour to complete, lower body around 30 minutes, so..

Mon - Upper

Tue - Lower

Wed - No Strength just the morning run

Thu - Upper

Fri - Lower

Sat - Upper

Sun - Rest

Then the following week I start with Lower on the Monday, so I get 3 sessions of one each week and 2 of the other, then Rest and Repeat.

It's taken a while but I'm now seeing a real noticeable difference in appearance and also in running performance. According to our composite scales, my body Fat % is sub 7% and my muscle is a tad over 47%, I don't read too much into these as I'm unsure of the accuracy of our scales but I have over time seen a steady improvement since monitoring it.

My Tip for your Gym session is to make sure you are well fueled, I've found if I push myself to have a little more to eat lunchtime it's really reflected in my strength workouts, especially my upper body session (which can get tiresome, especially training alone). For example I recently switched my low fat lunchtime yoghurt to a full fat one and found that really helped with my workouts.

Goodluck with Aftabs


Thanks for the detailed post. I hope after a few months of strength training I will see the benefits in my running.

I was thinking of getting a composite scale but wasn't sure of the accuracy. There is a specific one that is linked to Garmin and would feed into my statistics on Garmin Connect but the price was extortionate and it didn't even have a screen. The stats fed into your Garmin watch, which would have meant no-one else in my family would have been able to use it.

Thanks for the fueling advice, I have been increasing what I eat to help me with my runs and I guess now I will have to think through what to eat when I am a strength session coming up.


We have these

Most argue the best are Tanita ones but they can be really expensive;


Thanks! I'll have a detailed look this evening. The Garmin associated scale was from Tanita and it was very expensive.


I use the gym two to three times a week only doing upper body & I've definitely found that exercising the arms helps my speed.

I'd (personally) be cautious doing a speed session the day before a parkrun as speed runs can knacker you out and presumably the Parkrun is where you want to time your progress?

Having seen your results recently though, I'm hardly in a position to advise!


Thanks for the advise. I agree that a speed session a day before a Parkrun isn't the best idea, that is why my speed session is planned for Thursday :-)


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