Tag Archive for: running

When I don't Lift, I Run

Contrary to common belief — and the jokes of my staff — I can run (and not just to chase down my next big-game meal).  This August I teamed up with ASICS and AskMen to get Jeff Halevy- ASICS + Askmen. Check out this video, which runs the gamut from beer miles to Reservoir Dogs:

Jeff Halevy Askmen+Asics RunningTeaser from the awesome @asics and @askmen #gelquantum360 piece where we delve deep into #NYC #running culture Get the whole experience at: http://hlvy.co/ASICS15 now!! #fitfam #runner #marathon

Posted by Jeff Halevy on Friday, September 25, 2015

Are you overreaching or overtraining?

This is a great guest post by new Halevy Life Staff Coach Jake Roswell on an often misunderstood and avoided topic: overtraining.

Are you overreaching or overtraining?


Here we go again, everyone wants to get into shape for the summer and for some reason, the best way to do this in the minds of millions of Americans is to start competing in running events! According to Runners USA, the combined number of events for 5 and 10k races in 2012 totaled up to more than 18,000, with the number of participants exceeding 7 million. After a long, cold ass winter these 7 million strongly motivated runners will take to the roads, treadmills, and if they’re lucky enough, beaches to log the miles needed to “get in shape” for these races. Some will run competitively, some will try to beat their previous PR’s, and many will simply get involved as a means to have something to train for. I am a huge advocate of fining a reason to get in shape, become healthier and push the limits of what you think you can do (hell, I wanted to go through Navy Seal training at one point), but there does come a point when training can turn into “overtraining,” and the line between the 2 can be extremely variable based on the individual, and a tough one to spot. Overtraining is not something that should be taken lightly. It is a syndrome that has been known to cause a multitude of problems and even halt the careers of many professional athletes.

Overtraining is hard to identify, and in fact remains an indefinable syndrome in the realm of sports science to date. As with any athlete, the physiological factors of fatigue and poor performance are inevitable. The best way to crack the mystery of overtraining and identify when you might be teetering on the edge of increased performance/overtraining is to track performance.


I have been an athlete all my life, played soccer and competed in the 100m, 200m and 400m track in events in indoor and outdoor track in high school. I went on to play soccer in college, was a 4-year starter (and if you ask me I was also the best player on the field at all times), and have always trained hard for these sports. After 4 years of college my soccer career was over. No more summer soccer, no more 3 a days during preseason, and even more importantly, no more preparation going into preseason. What was there to look forward to? Naturally, as a competitor I needed to find a reason to continue to stay in shape, so I decided to start training for 5k and 10k races.

I started out running 25 miles a week in the beginning of the summer, my times were just as I had expected (6:15 min. mile). I would increase my overall mileage per week by 3-5 miles while maintaining or bettering my pace. As the weeks went on, I was competing at least every other weekend in a race and continuing to increase my mileage and splits until I was up to 60 miles/week at an average pace of 6 min./mile. Mornings became tough (it was hard to roll out of bed), I had little to no energy to perform simple tasks, and according to my girlfriend my mood was pretty crappy all the time (she is now an ex-girlfriend…).

As this became a recurring theme, my split times during track workouts continuously worsened. So, as much as it hurt me, I decided to rest. After a week of no running I decided to test myself. Still bad split times! It pains me to say this because I have never quit at anything before, but after the worsened times, bad mood and complete lack of energy I gave up altogether.

So why were my times decreasing? Why was my mood changing? Why did I have no energy? The answer is overtraining – a reduction in performance that takes place when the body is pushed beyond its ability to recover. Common symptoms related to this mystery tend to be fatigue and constant mood swings (makes sense now). The problem was I wasn’t letting myself sufficiently recover through proper nutrition, sleep, and programmed rest days. Yeah I had great workouts initially, but without adequate recovery, the performance improvements declined to the point where I was getting worse. This is to all the exercise enthusiasts out there who have ever seen a model or diagram where there is overreaching and overtraining.

Overreaching is the point in which enough stress is put on the body for adaptation to occur. In no way is this bad! It’s all about realizing where you are in your training and knowing when to back off. Poor Programming is a result of going beyond overreaching. Here are some more ways to avoid overtraining:

1) Individualize your programming: Not everyone is the same! Don’t expect to get a one-size-fits-all program from the top results of “running program” in Google. Everyone recovers differently. Self-monitoring how you are adapting to training (i.e. improved performance), muscle soreness, fatigue, and stress level must be taken into consideration.

2) Sleep: A lack of sleep during training can decrease performance from a physiological standpoint, and can also psychologically decrease performance due to the causation of a sense of confusion as well as mood swings. Physiologically, during sleep periods we secrete anabolic (muscle building) hormones and decrease catabolic (muscle wasting) hormones. When insufficient sleep is taking place we are not mobilizing the anabolic hormones enough for adequate recovery(Ripptoe, Practical Programming of Strength Training, 2009).

3) Diet: Proper nutrition during training plays an important role. What most athletes and novice lifters alike tend to overlook is ample caloric consumption during intense training periods. I’m not saying you should eat as much as humanly possible. Proper caloric intake means your calories in = your calories out, in order to maintain performance. Fueling your body is comparable to fueling your car. If you were to put 20 miles worth of gas in and try to go 50 miles, your car simply won’t do it. The human body is no different: if you only fuel up for a particular amount of energy expenditure, how can you expect to go beyond that point without sacrificing stored energy and ultimately breaking down other tissues (such as muscle) to reach your goal? One of the biggest mistakes made by people who begin a new exercise program is inadequate carbohydrate consumption (Mother, this one is for you). You need to get over that road-block ASAP. Carbohydrates are essential for muscle glycogen and provide the quickest source of energy production. If there is depletion in carbohydrate intake, the result is a decrease in performance and an increase in muscle deterioration.

All-in-all overtraining can more properly be titled “under recovering.” You can train as hard as you want if you make sure you are accounting for the 3 things listed. If you have any questions on overtraining hit me up on Twitter @JRoswell3, and enjoy the race season!

Should you lift weights to be a better marathon runner?

With the ING New York City Marathon just weeks away (…after some of us fought hard for last year’s marathon cancellation due to Hurricane Sandy), I figured now is as good a time as any to revisit a misunderstood and often controversial topic about marathons: lifting weights as part of your training.

I figured there’s no one better to turn to for insight on this one other than Halevy Life’s own Director of Programming and Education…AND marathoner, Nick Johnson.

Lifting for the Long-Haul: Should Runners and Marathoners Lift Weights?

By Nick Johnson


I want to start off by saying I am by no means a “runner” nor do I particularly enjoy running, at least in the beginning. I have however “competed” (relative term) in a few races and have spent much of the last year training for them. Like many people attempting to tackle their first marathon, I assumed reading was the place to start as far as developing a training regimen and get in shape. I read every article and “free” program I could get my hands on, and with all reading said and done I came to the simple conclusion that I needed to run, and run, and run some more. So that is what I did. I completely ceased my training routine in the weight room and hit the road.

I started training on a regular basis for marathon one 6 months prior to the race date, slowly building up my miles with 1 long run a week. From everything I had read, this was the way to do it. As race day drew nearer (1 month away) I started to develop pain in my knee. Went to the doctors office and was told it was simply “runners knee.” I have had a history of leg injuries and figured if I took it down a notch I would be fine; From an endurance perspective I was in the best condition of my life. Finally race day came and I started off at a good pace. Then came the fun at 10 miles in, first with hamstring cramps, then eventually cramping all throughout my legs. I had a 3:30 pace going before this happened and was pumped, like I said, best shape of my life. I ended up finishing in just less than 4 hours, which wasn’t horrible by most standards, but definitely not up to my expectations.

After that terrible experience I swore I would never run another marathon. I didn’t run for a month or so, until I was approached by a co-worker and asked if I would run one with her. Naturally my response was “of course” (female, couldn’t say no). So 4 months from the race day I came up with a new plan. I would continue my strength training routine, just scale down the frequency and intensity, and do 2 shorter runs accompanied by 1 long run a week (down from 5 runs/week). My second marathon time was 3 hours 20 minutes, and I felt great afterwards, with some still left in the tank. I directly contribute this success to continuing with my strength-training program through the marathon training.

Here are the 3 reasons why you should lift when training for endurance races:

1. Prevent Overuse Injuries
​Too much of one thing is almost always a bad thing (i.e. food, as in diet and nutrition; a well balanced diet is necessary to meet the body’s nutritional demands). The key to success is variation. Yes, you need to be running if you are planning on competing in a running event, but those training for running events have a very high susceptibility to injury. A 2007 study done by Fredricson and Misra in the Journal of Sports Medicine showed that two thirds of runners will sustain an injury every year and 90% of those training for a marathon will suffer from an injury. This can be attributed to overuse and weakness. Most lower body injuries from running are caused from weakness in the hip muscles, especially the hip abductors. What could possibly be one way to counteract overuse and weakness? LIFT!


2. Improve Your Time
​One of the best ways to improve your time is to produce a powerful stride both quickly and efficiently. It makes sense right? The more power you can produce with each stride while using minimal amounts of energy, the faster you can run. You will not see increases in power from running long distance, therefore a supplementation of resistance exercises is essential. Let me take a second here to talk about what type of lifting you should do. Running a marathon is an endurance event right? That means we should train for muscular endurance, correct? Yes! But you do this when you run. Research has shown that rep ranges of 12-20 do not increase muscular endurance any more than a 6-8 rep range (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787090). The best way to work on running economy is lift to compliment your running, so get in the weight room and perform large muscle recruitment, heavy exercises (deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, etc.)


3. Make Running Easy
​Lifting will create neurological adaptations that you won’t get from simply running. Your body will be able to recruit more muscle fibers with each contraction, translating directly into better running economy. The August edition of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has a study in which participants were divided into 3 groups; no lifting, light lifting (2x/week, 3 sets of 10 at 70% max), and heavy lifting (2x/week, 4 sets of 3-4 reps at 85-90% max). After 6 weeks only the heavy lifting group showed improvements (6% running economy).

Whether you are looking to improve your running time and cut down on your chances of getting an injury I would highly suggest adding a balanced resistance training program of 2-3 days a week to your running routine. If you have any questions as to what I did or what I would suggest doing to improve your marathon time hit me up on twitter @HL_Nick.