when strength is your forte | 80/20 Endurance

when strength is your forte

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    I’m new to 80/20 and to Training Peaks and all the intricate metrics… (but I am an experienced weightlifter/bodybuilder with a very strong aerobic base (spinning, jogging, kettlebell work).

    A former x-country runner (many years ago)), I am aiming to build up my running endurance with the modest goal of running a 5K (maybe a 10K) feeling strong. I have no race specific in mind at this time (I live in Bangkok, where running outside is very difficult, not least because of the covid situation…)

    I bought the 5K ‘starting over’ plan (level 3, to account for a good deal of fitness).

    Question: I spend between 4-7 hours on weight training each week (depending on where I am in my weight training program). Leg training can be particularly intense because one day a week (1 to 1.5 hours) is focused more on endurance range-reps (12-30) to account for a lack of equipment (gyms are closed… I have dumbbells up to 24 kg (sets of 2), and a weight vest at 9 kg).

    I usually hit each body part 2x/week, with one day more strength or hypertrophy focused, and one day more endurance-focused.

    How should I account for these in my training peaks programming? For example, the 80/20 program for the 5K offers 35 minutes of ‘cross training’ at 30 TSS (still trying to figure out how to measure this)… What happens if I go over? How does the system measure the TSS of my weight workouts? How should I record these in Training Peaks?

    (*FWIW, I’m still trying to figure out all the terminology, acronyms, and my proper zones… I’m using heart rate (via Apple Watch) until my Stryd arrives.Also have an ICG5 bike (better than PTON, IMO), and I’m fairly familiar with my heart rates and translation to power zones on the bike.)

    I may have missed material that addresses this. If so, please point me in the right direction?

    I realize that I’m not a typical 80/20 client (not focused on ‘slow twitch’ endurance sport, but I’m very eager to use the protocol to improve/restart my running….I will be moving to a more temperate climate mid-2022, and am very much hoping to be able to run sustainably outdoors when I get there. I am using this time with 80/20 to build a base, while also staying strong.

    Thank you, in advance.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    You’re an interesting case!

    My first piece of advice is that you accept from the outset that your weightlifting is going to interfere with your running, and vice versa, to a certain degree, no matter how you try to combine them. That’s just reality.

    The best way to minimize this interference is to do your leg strength sessions on the same days as your most challenging runs, after the runs have been completed. This will be all the more important after you graduate from the starting over program and move on to a real 5K plan.

    Don’t worry about the TSS projections. That’s all they are. I recommend that you do them as nonimpact or low-impact cardio activities such as indoor cycling or uphill treadmill walking.


    Hello and THANKS for the feedback. I have a couple of follow up questions:

    1. I imagine that spinning will also interfere with running plan (vice-versa)? I’m rather attached to my spinning workouts (2-3x/week, with at least one all out HIIT in there). I’m a bit reluctant to put these aside for now… What do you recommend, bearing in mind that I am not doing a lot of endurance running. After all, I am just doing the starting over plan for 5K (admittedly, this is more endurance running than I am used to).

    2. I discovered deep pool running in July, when I was nursing a broken metatarsal (3rd on my right foot.. misdiagnosed for a while so it took until now to heal). I grew to really love it. Can I substitute a deep pool running with a run on my 80/20 plan 1x-2x a week?

    3. As mentioned, I live in Bangkok. We’re not allowed to run outside without a mask ($600 fine if you do). Plus, it’s wicked humid and hot. So, I choose to run on a treadmill. Should I be substituting an outside run 1-2x a week for the indoor runs? Can I mix and match?

    Thank you, in advance. Yet again.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Spinning doesn’t interfere with running per se, but high-intensity spinning does interfere with the 80/20 intensity balance, at least when you start trying to do high-intensity running as well. I understand your attachments, but you can’t have it all. Establish clear prioritize and recognize the cost they come at with open eyes.

    Treadmill running counts as running. You can do it all indoors if need be. Don’t overlook uphill treadmill walking as a cross-training modality.


    Matt, Thank you. I will prioritize the runs for now. I will do low intensity spinning with 1 very short, interval session each week to keep my fitness in that.

    Got any thoughts on pool sessions?

    Have a great day ahead.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Yes, pool running is a perfectly acceptably cross-training choice.

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