how could this stuff work with a training plan where there are really hard workout days? in the past i've tried lifting on my easy/recovery days but always worry in the back of my head that it's not letting my body recoverThis is a bit of tricky thing to answer, because it depends on the individual, the training plan, and the long-term goal. With that cop-out established, here's what I've picked up in my reading:
- Don't attempt a hard run the day after lifting weights. This includes long, tempo, speed, and interval work. You need at least one easy or off day to keep your legs fresh.
- As a general rule, I'm not in favor of doubling up workouts to run and lift on the same day.
- You can probably run hard the day before lifting. Your weights may suffer a little bit, but your hard running workouts are more important, so that's okay.
- Take at least one day per week off from exercise.
If you followed all these guidelines, your program would be highly restricted. You'd have two days per week of lifting, one off day, and only four days left to run. If you have only two hard workouts, like a long run and an interval day, it could work like this:
- Long run
If you want more running volume, or a third hard workout, you'll have to modify the plan.
You could go to one day of lifting per week, freeing up a day for another hard run. Alternately, you could drop the lower body exercises (except the mobility work) for one of your workouts, so that you only train legs once a week. Here's a more aggressive plan with three hard workouts per week:
- Full-body lifting
- Easy / Upper body lifting
- Long run
This has an easy run and upper body lifting on the same day, but it should still work for recovery.
Remember that lifting is only assistance to your running. If the quality of your runs suffers you should drop or change exercises that cause you problems -- allowing for an initial break-in period if you're new to weights. Squats, in particular, can really kill your legs.
Finally, don't be afraid to drop lifting completely during high-mileage or peaking phases of your training. Cut back on lifting during your tapering period, and don't lift in the week before an important race.
Now that you have all the information you need to get Truly Huge, make sure you observe proper gym etiquette.