Gym work for a marathon?

May 20, 2019

Q: Is a gym session essential if I am training for a marathon?

A: Is a seat belt essential for a Formula One driver? 


 Neither of the two examples above are 'essential' for success in the sport but I guarantee that every Formula One driver wears a seatbelt. It makes the experience a lot better and needless to say, safer. 


You can run a marathon and not go to the gym or do any strength workouts in the comfort of your own home at all. However, if you are going to run a marathon where you are testing the limits of your performance, why would you not want to be as strong as possible?


I never was much of a gym rat. In fact, I was very reluctant to work out in the gym because I thought it would be detrimental to my running performance. After all, if I gain all that muscle from lifting weights, it would make me slower, right? …wrong.


High-reps-low weight vs. Low-reps-high-weight

Why would you go and train cardio in the gym when you are already doing that in your outdoor runs, my former colleague (and official gym-rat) asked me? This was when he saw me doing a set of low-weight-high-reps of the deadlift. What you need is a strength program that actually builds muscular strength. You need low-reps-high-weight (aka lift heavy s***). The absolute opposite of what I had been doing.


If you put in a weekly strength set and incorporate mobility and stability work, you will not only be able to absorb the ‘load’ of a marathon better, you will also reduce the chances of injury. Ask yourself what would give you more marginal gains, an extra run (of which you have already been doing a lot, I presume) or the once-a-week fitness gains from a strength set. I know which one I would choose if I had to.


Here is a strength set that I love doing in the gym and highly recommend for any runner. It even has you working on speed on a treadmill so you may not even think of it as a strength workout!


Warm up for 5 min easy run on the treadmill


Main set:

20s sprint, Barbell (BB) rows x 5, Barbell Overhead x 5 (3 sets)
2 min Rest Interval (RI)
20s sprint, BB curl x 5, BB tri extensions x 5 (3 sets)
2 min RI
25s sprint, BB clean x 5, BB high pull x 5, (3 sets)
2 min RI
Finisher: 2 sets of 20 burpees


Enjoy and run strong!


Please reload

Recent Posts

Please reload


Please reload


Please reload


  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Healthstax
  • Twitter



Sukhumvit Rd, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Thailand

©2016 by Health Matters. Proudly created with