Scheduling strength around running

The timing of when to perform strength work and when to run is an often pondered question.

Answering this mainly depends on how difficult the run is and how much residual fatigue will come from the strength session.

  • We will break the type of strength session into two categories
    • 1) Sessions that do not induce fatigue or soreness.
    • 2) Sessions that leave the body fatigued

The type of session will determine when the most appropriate time to perform it is.

1) Easy Lifting & Strength Work

This category can include anything from lunges, squat jumps, push-ups, to drills or weight lifting. Basically, anything that will not leave you with delayed onset muscle soreness, which could negatively affect proceeding runs.

Non-fatiguing strength work before a run can help prepare the body for the following workout by serving as a warmup. Doing drills or lunges prior to a race or run can be done daily without any fatigue buildup.

2) Heavy Lifting & Dynamic Strength Work

These include activities such as heavy squats, deadlifts, or long drill sessions that could leave your legs or body a bit sore or fatigued the next day.

Many people prefer to lift on days that are rest or recovery from running. However, some would argue that it is more appropriate to lift heavy on the same day as a hard run, before these recovery days.

The reason to lift heavy on the same day as a hard running workout is to reserve your rest/recovery days for rest and recovery, not hard lifting sessions.

Research has even suggested that aerobic running before lifting triggers a greater testosterone response in men, rather than doing it the other way around. This hopefully results in greater muscle growth and recovery to both the run and strength workouts.

Depending on the running session, you can perform the lifting right after the hard run or you can do it hours later.

Keep in Mind

Your body does not care about numbers. It does not matter to your leg muscles if you squat X pounds 10 times or if you can only manage 8 reps after the hard run. Effort and stimulus is what matter. Yes, stepping into the weight room after a run may leave your numbers a bit lower, but the mental and physical stimulus for adaptation is still there!

Plus, you get to follow it up with an easy running day

All of this being said, you must do what works best for you and your schedule. If you cannot fit a run and lifting into a single day, then don’t stress out about it!

How have do you schedule your strength training around your run workouts?

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