How Do You Combine Strength Training And Running Program

How Do You Combine Strength Training And Running Program?

Combining strength training with a running program can have numerous benefits for runners. Strength training helps build muscle strength, improves running economy, and reduces the risk of injuries. However, incorporating both types of training into your routine requires careful planning and consideration. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can effectively combine strength training and a running program to maximize your performance and overall fitness.

The Benefits of Combining Strength Training and Running

Before diving into the strategies, let’s briefly discuss the benefits of combining strength training with a running program:

Improved running performance: Strength training helps enhance running economy, which refers to the amount of oxygen required to maintain a given pace. By strengthening muscles and improving overall body mechanics, you’ll be able to run more efficiently and sustain your pace for longer distances.

Reduced risk of injuries: Incorporating strength training into your running program helps build stronger muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can better withstand the demands of running. Stronger muscles also provide better joint stability, reducing the risk of common running injuries such as shin splints, IT band syndrome, or stress fractures.

Enhanced power and speed: Strength training can improve your power and speed, especially when combined with explosive exercises like plyometrics. By developing greater lower body strength and power, you’ll be able to generate more force with each stride, resulting in increased speed and better race performances.

Better overall fitness: Combining strength training and running provides a well-rounded approach to fitness. Strength training helps build lean muscle mass, improves bone density, and boosts metabolism. This comprehensive training regimen benefits your overall health and well-being.

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Now that we understand the benefits, let’s explore strategies for effectively combining strength training and a running program.


Strategy 1: Balance Training Days

One approach is to designate specific days for strength training and others for running. This allows for proper recovery between sessions and ensures that both types of training receive adequate attention. For example, you could allocate three days per week for running and two days for strength training. Alternatively, you can incorporate strength exercises into your running routine by including a short strength training circuit after your runs.


Strategy 2: Alternate Training Days

Another option is to alternate between strength training and running days. For instance, you can run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while dedicating Tuesday and Thursday to strength training. This approach allows for regular and consistent workouts in both areas without overlapping or overtaxing specific muscle groups.


Strategy 3: Combine Workouts

If time is a constraint, you can combine strength training and running workouts on the same day. Begin with a dynamic warm-up, followed by strength exercises targeting major muscle groups. Then, proceed with your scheduled run. This approach is effective when you have limited training days available or want to consolidate your workouts into a single session.


Strategy 4: Prioritize Recovery

Regardless of the training strategy you choose, it’s essential to prioritize recovery. Recovery days allow your body to rest and adapt to the training stimulus. Plan at least one or two rest days per week to promote muscle repair and prevent overtraining. Additionally, include stretching, foam rolling, and other recovery techniques in your routine to reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility.

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Studies Supporting the Combination of Strength Training and Running

Several studies support the effectiveness of combining strength training with a running program. Let’s explore some of the research:

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the effects of strength training alone, running alone, and a combination of both on running performance. The researchers found that the group that combined strength training and running experienced the greatest improvements in running economy and performance compared to the other groups.

Another study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports examined the effects of a 16-week concurrent strength and endurance training program on recreational runners. The results showed significant improvements in running economy, time trial performance, and lower limb muscle strength compared to a control group that only performed running training.

A research article published in the Journal of Sports Sciences investigated the impact of a 6-week strength training program on running economy in trained distance runners. The study revealed that the runners who incorporated strength training into their routine demonstrated enhanced running economy, suggesting that strength training positively influences the energy cost of running.

These studies highlight the advantages of combining strength training and running, showcasing improvements in running economy, performance, and muscle strength. The evidence supports the notion that integrating both types of training can lead to substantial benefits for runners.


Tips for a Successful Combination

To ensure a successful combination of strength training and a running program, consider the following tips:

Seek guidance if needed: If you’re new to strength training or unsure about proper techniques, consider working with a qualified strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer. They can design a program tailored to your specific needs, guide you through exercises, and help you progress safely.

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Focus on compound exercises: Incorporate compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and push-ups are excellent choices as they engage multiple muscles and promote functional strength.

Prioritize form and technique: Proper form and technique are crucial for maximizing the benefits of strength training and preventing injuries. Start with lighter weights and focus on mastering the correct form before progressing to heavier loads.

Include specific exercises for runners: Incorporate exercises that specifically target the muscles and movements used in running. Examples include single-leg exercises like step-ups or single-leg squats, which help improve balance and stability.

Don’t neglect recovery: Allow sufficient time for recovery between strength training and running sessions. Adequate rest and sleep are essential for muscle repair and growth. Consider incorporating active recovery activities, such as light jogging or low-impact cross-training, on your rest days.

By following these tips and considering the research supporting the combination of strength training and running, you can design a training program that maximizes your running performance and overall fitness.



Combining strength training and a running program is a powerful way to enhance your running performance and overall fitness. By balancing training days, alternating between workouts, or combining exercises on the same day, you can effectively integrate both types of training into your routine. Prioritizing recovery is crucial to allow your body to adapt and avoid overtraining. Remember, consistency is key, so make sure to establish a sustainable routine that works for your schedule and fitness level. With the right approach, you’ll reap the benefits of a well-rounded training program, improving your running performance and becoming a stronger, more resilient athlete.

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