5 Tips on Balancing Strength Training and Running

Hi everyone! I’m Patty and I blog over at Reach Your Peak. I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and avid runner. Which leads me to today’s topic: balancing strength training and running.

I’ve ran 2 marathons with my mom, and a few half-marathons, and each training round it never got easier to balance both of those things. Strength training can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and who wants to do that after a run? But strength training is also a crucial component of training for races.

Lifting can help you get stronger, get more powerful, and prevent injury. Your glutes and hips are especially important. According to a few studies quoted in Runners Connect,

Weak hips can often be the cause of IT band pain, patella tendonitis
(runner’s knee), piriformis issues, sciatica, and a myriad of other
common running injuries.

 As you can see, it’s important to maintain a strong core. Core doesn’t mean just abs, but also includes your hips and gluteals.

So how should you balance both lifting and running? How can you make time for both? Here are 5 ways to do just that.

1) Schedule lifting days on your hard running days. Another study found that after lifting, your body needs 24 or more hours to recover. Meaning if you lift, then want to do a track workout the next day, you won’t be at your best. That’s why you should lift after your hard days. You might be tired after a tempo run or long run, but those are the best days to get some strength training.

2) Keep it short. We want to maximize your time, especially if you’re lifting after a run. Focus on key muscle groups and don’t take long breaks. An example of a quick workout you could do could be 3 sets of 12 reps of these exercises: Pushups, dumbbell rows, dumbbell step-ups, dumbbell deadlifts, medicine ball twists.

3) If you only have time for one thing, make it running. Running is what will make you better at running. Yes, it’s a bummer if you can’t lift that day either, but getting in the run is the most important. If you’re short on time, at least do 3-4 sets of an ab exercises.

4) Listen to your body. If you are just starting with incorporating strength training, start slow. Start with 1-2 days a week and work up to 3 days a week. If you feel really tired or sore, don’t worry about taking a rest day or taking it easy the following day. You’re working your body hard!

5) Incorporate it all into a workout. If you’re short on time, why not try doing a speed workout with strength involved? For example, sometimes I like to run 400 meters at 5k pace, then do 20 squats. Rest, and repeat.

If you can get in 1 quality strength day during the week, then you’re on your way to building a strong, injury free body. Shoot for 2 times a week if possible.

Make sure to follow my blog for weekly workouts I post, both running and strength training related!

Do you lift AND run during training? What tips would you add?


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