Combining running and strength training is a great way for runners to stay injury free and improve their performance. However, adding strength training to an already packed training plan can sometimes feel impossible.
How do you combine running and strength training?
Just about every runner knows the importance of completing some form of weightlifting or strength training along with their running. However, creating a plan to combine them can bring up a variety of questions.
Some runners choose to dedicate an entire training day to their weightlifting workout, but most find that they don’t have enough flexibility in their plan to give up a run. Due to these time constraints, many runners choose to combine running and strength training by following a strength training plan.
Should I do strength training before or after running?
If you find yourself needing to complete running and strength training on the same day, you’ll want to be careful about how you combine the two.
It is best to complete one of your short, easy runs on the days when you strength train as well. Most runners prefer to run first, and then complete their strength training exercises.
Following a running and strength training schedule provides helpful guidance for those days.
Working your way through a strength training program for runners helps prioritize those strength exercises without requiring you to completely overhaul your training plan.
As mileage increases, it can be tempting to skip out on the extra workouts and exercises to make up for the increased time spent running. However, strength is crucial for runners – to avoid injury, stay strong, and increase your performance.
Benefits of Combining Running and Strength Training
Regular strength training has so many benefits for runners. Completing strength exercises or weightlifting on a regular basis does so much more than simply increase muscle mass. Here are some of the biggest benefits of running and strength training.
- Helps prevent injuries
- Can improve endurance
- Increases strength and muscle mass
- Evidence of increasing bone density
- Helps prevent muscle imbalances
- Boosts mental strength
- Can improve running form
- Enhances running efficiency
How many times a week should runners strength train?
The answer to this questions depends on a couple of factors – namely, how involved your strength training workout is as well as the intensity and frequency of your running.
Most runners find that they only need to strength train once a week. However, when doing so, it’s important that your strength workout targets all of the main muscle groups and does so very thoroughly.
Another option is to follow a strength training program for runners. These plans combine running and strength training by breaking up a typical strength workout and spreading it out over multiple days.
Sample Running and Strength Training Schedule
Many runners find that it’s easiest to stay to consistent by completing a few minutes of daily strength exercises, as opposed to one lengthy workout. This type of schedule frees up time for running and other cross training workouts, since no day is taken up with strength training.
Here is a sample schedule to provide you with an example of how you can combine strength training and running in this way each week.
- Monday: Easy Run + Bridge, Clamshell, Donkey Kicks, Fire Hydrants
- Tuesday: Speed Workout + Plank, Side Plank, Bicycles, Russian Twists
- Wednesday: Cross Training + Squats, Lunges, Step Ups, Pistol Squats
- Thursday: Easy Run + Bicycles, Windshield Wipers, V Sits
- Friday: Easy Run + Leg Lifts, Hip Thrusts, Superman
- Saturday: Long Run + Bicep Curls, Tricep Dips, Arm Extension, Push Ups
- Sunday: REST!
This strength training schedule is straightforward and easy to follow. Completing 20-40 repetitions of the listed strength exercises takes less than 15 minutes each day. By the end of the week, you will have completed exercises targeting muscle groups throughout the body.
This sample schedule is a great way to get started strength training, or simply stay consistent while following a high mileage training plan. Once you have gotten used to wrapping up your daily run with a few exercises, challenge yourself to complete 30 days worth of strength training and running.
This program incorporates all of the most beneficial strength exercises for runners by breaking them down into manageable “add-ons” each week. Rather than completing a full strength training workout, you’ll spend about 10-15 minutes each day completing the designated strength exercises.
Download this strength training for runners program for free as a PDF!
In this 30 day challenge, you’ll complete your runs and workouts as scheduled in your training plan without adjustment. Each day, after your scheduled run or workout, you’ll finish up with about 10-15 minutes of strength exercises.
Strength Training Exercises for Runners
- Squats (+ jump squats)
- Lunges (+ jump lunges)
- Planks (with taps)
- Side Planks (with leg lifts)
- Bridge (+ hip thrusts)
- Single Leg Bridge
- Push Ups
These bodyweight exercises are perfect for runners. No equipment is required for a great strength workout that targets all of the major muscles used when running. If you’d like to increase the intensity, you can incorporate weights with each exercise.
How to Complete the Strength Training for Runners Program
This Strength Training for Runners Program is a beneficial challenge for runners. For 30 days, you’ll complete a set of 4 strength exercises each day. The program is designed to naturally allow your muscles to rest, as the daily workouts alternate between various muscle groups.
One day might target the quads and glutes, while the next day targets the hips and calves. Over the course of 30 days, you’ll strengthen your feet, ankles, calves, shins, hamstrings, quads, hips, IT band and glutes.
This program makes combining running and strength training easier and more straightforward than ever before. Simply incorporate the designated strength exercises in your post-run routine or first thing in the morning.
Download the running and strength training program here for free!
Challenge yourself to 30 days of strength training and watch your running improve. As you gain strength, you’ll find that your running form corrects itself, endurance improves and power increases. 10 minutes a day is all it takes to build runner’s strength.