Strength Training

Ask the Coach: Strength Train on a Schedule

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

What is the best way to integrate strength training into a busy schedule?

– Josh Fields, Claremont, New Hampshire

I live with the queen of time management, two-time Way Too Cool 50K winner and Stanford medical student Megan Roche. Many weeks, she works more than 80 hours and runs more than 80 miles. She also does strength work—daily. During one of her rare days off, I asked how she does it. She outlined three principles.

1. Get it done early. Megan describes the bleary-eyed lethargy that can hit later in the day as “the opposite of a performance enhancer.” If you are operating on a sleep deficit, putting off workouts means you will miss workouts.

2. Block off as much time as you need to finish your training in a single session. Megan focuses on being a professional athlete for two hours each morning, during which she runs and strength trains. Then she showers, put on scrubs and doesn’t think about running again until the next morning. By blocking off a single session each day, she ensures that strength training doesn’t get eclipsed by other priorities.

3. Make the most of your time with circuits. Megan does five exercises in rapid succession after every run: leg swings, lunges, planks, push-ups and hip-mobility work. Circuit training heats up your fat-burning metabolism while ensuring that your body stays loose between sets, diminishing injury risk. Keep the circuit quick—no more than 10 minutes—so it doesn’t cut into your running time.

David Roche works with dozens of adventurers through his Some Work, All Play coaching service, including top-five finishers at prestigious trail races like the Way Too Cool 50K and the North Face 50-Mile. Have questions for Coach Roche? Send them to

This article originally appeared in our June 2016 issue.