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How to Balance Running and Strength Training

5.23.19

Finding a good balance between running and strength training is hard. Many runners struggle with how to schedule their running and strength workouts. As a runner, it’s important to find that balance. If you increase your strength, you’ll also increase your joint stability, which reduces the risk of injury. Balancing both running and strength training has been a part of my routine for years now. I’ve learned that strength training is supposed to help, not take you away from your running.

After several marathon training cycles, I have learned to keep my easy running days easy and hard running days hard. What do I mean by this? Separate your hard and easy days- so that you can better recover from your toughest workouts.

For example- in the past when I had a speed or tempo workout scheduled I would pair those with strength training. On days when I had an easy or recovery run scheduled, I would pair those with mobility and maintenance work.

Keep in mind- this was all if I had the time. Sometimes doing both running and strength training is A LOT for one day. If I was in the middle of marathon training, running was the priority. But I made a very strong effort to get to the gym for my strength workouts. If I couldn’t fit both in, especially when my speed or tempo runs were 8-10 miles, then I just ran that day.

If you’re training for a race, my recommendation is to run before strength-training. If your schedule allows, run in the morning before work and weight train in the evening after work.

Also, if you have a long run scheduled for the next day, don’t lift heavy or train legs the day before. You want to save your legs for your long run!

On top of running and strength training, mobility should be done 1-2x week as well! I know you’re probably thinking- now I need to add mobility in on top of running and strength training? YES! I didn’t know this either. I didn’t go out of my way to do any mobility work while training for 6 of my marathons. Whoops! No one ever told me it was important- so how was I  supposed to know? But now I realize the importance of mobility work.

Most runners have tight hips so in order to run more efficiently (and without pain), it’s important to open up and strengthen the hip flexors. The best way to do this is to add mobility and a dynamic warmup into your workout routine. 

As runners, we are only running in a straight forward motion. Mobility work helps increase our range of motion and loosen up tight areas, such as our hips.

Some of my favorite exercises that I include in my mobility routine include:

  • Pigeon (yes the yoga stretch)
  • Frog Stretch
  • Kneeling Lunge
  • Hip Extensions
  • Cat/ Cow Stretch
  • Crossovers
  • Figure Four Stretch

More to come on mobility and stretching!!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me @becksliveshealthy!

Happy RUNNING!

Photos by: @jessrochowphoto