Pump & Run! My 5K Training Plan for the Arnold Sports Festival!
By Roger Lockridge
At the start of every year, many of us make some form of New Year’s Resolution. Some of us refer to them as something else like “goals” or “plan” because the word “resolution” has long been associated with failure to maintain the commitment and something you do for fun as a part of New Year’s Eve. At the end of the day, it all means the same thing. We want to do something great and the start of a new year is as good a time as any to make that commitment.
I wanted to push myself as an athlete. I’ve been training for 18 years and I’ve been contributing to the fitness industry as a writer since 2009. I wanted a challenge and a reason to push myself; something new that would make me work hard and push myself to be better. That reason presented itself when I was invited to take part in the Arnold Sports Festival’s “Pump & Run”.
For those of you that aren’t aware, this event calls for you to bench press your bodyweight (or a percentage, depending on your gender/age) for as many reps as you can up to 30. Each rep you get equals a 30 second bonus which is applied to your 5K time which everyone runs afterwards.
I’ve been going to the Arnold every year since 2010 but it’s always been as a member of the media or to take part in other events in different roles. To be competing at the Arnold as an athlete was a big deal for me. The thing is though, I’m not someone who runs a lot. I had knee issues growing up, so I always opted for different forms of cardio. To run a 5K would be quite a challenge, so I completely committed to my training for the Pump & Run. The result was losing over 15 pounds in 8 weeks and improving my run time by over 7 minutes. Once I finished the event and evaluated the results, I decided that I wanted to share my program so others who may be interested can benefit. I’m grateful that Muscle Media Magazine is allowing me to share this on their platform.
On January 1st, 2017, I weighed-in at 233 pounds with clothes and shoes on (which is how I would have to weigh-in on run day). I would also have to “round up” my weight for the bench. That means that I would have to bench 235 lbs. I got 15 reps with 235 on my first bench test. I then drove around my neighborhood and measured 3.1 miles on the odometer which is equal to 5 kilometers. Once I returned home, I set my timer on my phone and went on my first run for this program. As I referenced before, running isn’t my specialty, so there was walking for a good portion of it. My time would be 38:45. I wasn’t proud of that. But, I knew I would improve, so I did my best to maintain a positive mindset.
When I created my training program, there were several factors I had to consider. First, there would be no need to train for power. The bench portion is for max reps, not max weight. Therefore, training with low reps wouldn’t be necessary. Also, while the bench press is primarily associated with chest, the shoulders and triceps are also involved so my movements for those areas should support my bench efforts. On chest days, I would do my last set of bench press with my bodyweight and lift until failure. I would incorporate 15-20 second rest-pauses and resume lifting until I completed 30 total reps. Rest between sets on all movements was minimal, but no more than 1 minute.
When it comes to my legs, I would train them with the basic movements like squats, hack squats, stiff legged deadlifts, and leg curls. But, I need to keep my volume down so I could commit the most energy to the run. Running would be twice a week, and the days would depend upon the weather. It would obviously be cold since it was winter. But, I wanted to run on the days it wouldn’t snow and temperatures were at the highest. When I ran, I would alternate 2 minute walks with 1 minute runs. This is known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and I found this to help me improve endurance. I would also walk twice a week to support weight loss efforts. My training split is below and I used this plan for the entire eight weeks.
Monday – Chest & Run
Flat Bench Press – 3 work sets of 30, 20, Rest-Pause Set to 30 reps. Rest-pause set is with bodyweight on the bar.
Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Dips – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Pushups – 3 work sets to failure or 30 reps.
Tuesday – Shoulders, Arms, & Walk
Seated Barbell Press – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Seated Lateral Raise – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Cable Face Pulls with Rope – 3 work sets of 30 reps.
EZ Bar Curl – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Close Grip Bench Press – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Superset: Incline Curl/Neutral Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 supersets of 30/30, 20/20, 10/10 reps.
Superset: Hammer Curl/Rope Press down – 3 supersets of 30/30, 20/20, 10/10 reps.
Wednesday – Legs
Squat – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Hack Squat – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Stiff Legged Deadlift – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Lying Leg Curl – 3 work sets of 30 reps each.
Seated Calf Raise – 3 work sets of 30 reps each.
Thursday – Off
Friday – Back & Run
Pullups – 3 work sets to failure.
Two Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
T-Bar Row – 3 work sets of 30, 20, 10 reps.
Straight Arm Pulldown – 3 work sets of 30 reps.
Rack Deadlift – 3 work sets of 30 reps.
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Saturday – Abs & Walk
Hanging Leg Raise – 3 work sets of 30 reps.
Rope Crunch – 3 work sets of 30 reps.
Side Bends – 3 work sets of 30 reps each side.
Sunday – Off (I would stretch and foam roll for recovery).
2 Week Tests
Every two weeks I would commit that Sunday to performing another bench and 5K test. If my plan wasn’t working, I wanted to know sooner rather than later so I could make adjustments. I consistently saw improvements, so I didn’t change the plan (except I did my last test two weeks out so I could focus on recovery and preparing for run day).
For my nutrition plan, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I did five meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner which I made my last meal before bed were whole food. In between I did protein shakes. I kept my protein at 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight so I could keep and possibly build muscle. Protein sources included whole eggs, chicken, turkey, tuna, Greek yogurt, steak, and 90/10 ground beef. My carbs were also 1 gram per pound and I had the majority in the morning and early afternoon to support my training. This would include oats, whole wheat bread, fruit, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta. Dinner was always high protein, vegetables, and healthy fats which may be nuts, sunflower seeds, the yellows in my eggs, olive oil to cook with, or natural peanut butter. To keep variety and prevent myself from being tempted to cheat too much, I allowed one cheat meal per week of whatever I wanted. Besides my shakes and supplements, water was the only thing I drank throughout the entire program and I drank at least 1 gallon a day. A sample day of my diet looked like this.
Breakfast – 1.5 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup oats, grapes, and strawberries.
Snack (Pre-workout) – 2 servings Infinite Pro Shake, 2 bananas.
Lunch (Post-workout) – 4 scrambled eggs, 2 slices whole wheat toast.
Snack – 2 servings Infinite Pro Shake with peanut butter added in.
Dinner – 10 ounces chicken with broccoli.
*If I was hungry before bed, I would have another Infinite Pro shake.
I’ve been friends with the team at Infinite Labs for several years now and I know that they make quality supplements. So, it made perfect sense that I should use their supplements throughout this program. I’ve already mentioned the Infinite Pro protein in my nutrition program. Obviously, there were others that I used as well. I needed a good pre-workout to prepare me for the workouts, an amino formula that supported me throughout the training, CLA to support weight loss, a multivitamin for general health, and I knew I needed to drop water weight for the weigh in. To support my training and nutrition program, my Infinite Labs stack looked like this.
Men’s Multivitamin (multivitamin)
CLA (weight loss)
Infinite Force (BCAA, recovery)
Infinite Pro 100% Whey Protein (protein)
Oxidane-X (water balance, only used the last 5 days).
On Sunday, March 5. I weighed-in at 217.6 pounds with clothes on. The Thursday I left for Columbus I weighed 212 without clothes. I was hoping to break 215 but I didn’t quite make it. This means I would bench 220 pounds (which I got for 18 reps). I made the mistake of using a wider grip than I was used to and it cost me a few reps. As for the run, I was hoping to break 30 minutes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up and greeted us as we started. Unfortunately for me, at the 1.5K mark, a photographer lunged in front of me to pick up a memory card he dropped and I had to jump up on a sidewalk to avoid him. When this happened, I hurt my knee and had to walk it out. I still finished the run at a time of 31:14. Counting my 9-minute bonus from the bench portion, my official time is 22:14. It wasn’t quite what I hoped for because of mistakes I made or bad luck but it was certainly much better than when I started eight weeks prior.
Whether you’re a lifter like me that wants to take up a running challenge or are simply looking for a balanced weight loss plan, I believe you can get something from this plan and it can help you like it did me. I appreciate the Arnold Sports Festival and Run Ohio for the opportunity to realize a goal of competing as an athlete at the Arnold and thank Muscle Media for allowing me to share my results and program with all of you.