Updated: Jan 5
Lifting and running are a great combination to improve speed and endurance as well as change your body composition. Here is everything you need to know about programming lifting and running to successfully gain muscle and improve as a runner.
Is running and lifting a good combo?
Running and lifting is a good combination. There are countless studies that show the benefits of strength training for runners. It improves running form, running economy, and endurance. It also reduces the risk of injury.
This is because a strong, stable, coordinated, athletic body does not break down as much as a weaker body. A stronger body produces more power output, and is more resilient in their training. In general, runners who lift weights have better running form and are less prone to injury, because their bodies are stronger. And this is not just because your muscles are stronger, but the tendons, bones, and everything else is stronger too!
This is largely because strength training improves your run form. With improved running form, you will suffer less of those overuse injuries because you’re moving your body in the proper way!
Some studies have shown that strength training programs enhance running economy (oxygen and energy use) by 2%-8%. They also show that time trial performance improved by 2%-5%, which is the equivalent of a minute or two off a 10k race, even more for a half marathon or marathon.
How can I lift heavy and run faster?
Lifting heavy and running faster is a matter of balancing your goals and time commitments. If you are training for a goal race, the focus should be on the runs with lifting taking a back seat. If you are building a strong base or not focused on a goal race, you can balance the two. Following a periodized plan for lifting and running will help you increase both your speed and your weight lifting capacity.
A periodized plan is an organized training plan with recovery periods built-in to allow the body to recover and continue to build on the gains you’ve built in previous mesocycles.
Studies have shown strength training programs should include lifting challenging weights 2-3 times a week, 30 or more minutes for at least 6 weeks to show improvement in running paces.
How do you program running and lifting?
Hard days hard and easy days easy is my general rule of thumb. That means either making sure your easy run days are very easy paced with no lifting and stacking your hard run days OR for someone just starting out combining lifting and running it means less workouts per week.
For a person who’s just starting to lift and run, I’d recommend 2 days of lifting and 3 days of running with 2 rest days. You can check out a free downloadable PDF of the below image with links here.
Is it OK to run and lift on the same day?
It is absolutely OK to run and lift on the same day! As I mentioned before, make sure you know your focus – is it training for a race or building strength? And you need to know your schedule, are you doing one workout per day as in my example schedule above or are you doing a run and a lift workout on the same day?
In the case of two workouts in a day AND the focus is training for a race, you’re going to want to make sure that you do the run first on the day and then lift after, whether that’s right after or later in the day, both are fine. If the focus is on building muscle or strength, you would do the strength training first and run second.
The reason for this is you want to make sure your muscles are fresh for whatever your focus workout is.
How Do Runners Start Lifting?
If you’re new to lifting, start with a lifting program created by an expert trainer rather than trying to figure out something on your own. You want to make sure the program is going to help you with form as well as progressively load the muscles so you continue to see strength gains.
I recommend starting with the Beachbody program LIIFT4 and continue on to Beachbody’s newest program of 2022, LIIFT More. Both are 8 week lifting programs that are the 30+ minute workouts and can be modified to 3 days a week in order for you to see that growth in both pace and body composition we mentioned earlier.
Do you have do to LIIFT 4 Before LIIFT More?
You do not have to do LIIFT 4 before doing LIIFT More. I recommend starting with LIIFT 4 if you are new to lifting and running, but if you have lifted before, you can absolutely start with LIIFT More.
What is the difference between LIIFT 4 and LIIFT More?
LIIFT More has 5 workouts per week and LIIFT 4 has 4
LIIFT More has 2 leg workouts per week and LIIFT 4 has 1
LIIFT More has no all HIIT days, LIIFT 4 had around 1 per week
LIIFT More has two 4-week long periods while LIIFT 4 had a 6-week build period and ended with a two week long peak phase
LIIFT MORE and Half Marathon Training
Can you train for a running race with LIIFT More?
If you are training for a race, anywhere from a 10k to a half marathon and want to do LIIFT More, you absolutely can! I am combining it with my training for the Revel Big Bear half marathon in November. You will likely be pretty sore in the first week of the program so I recommend working your run schedule around that and adding in more easy runs and planning on lifting lighter than you usually would!
If you are training for a half or full marathon, I recommend extending LIIFT MORE to a 12 week program rather than the 8 weeks because of the extra time and stress on muscles. This is how we are going to schedule LIIFT More into the Run the World Marathon and Half Marathon Virtual Training Club training plans (enrolling now if you’d like to join us!).
LIIFT MORE Results and Transformations
Here are some before and after photos and testimonials from the test group for LIIFT More!
Join my LIIFT & Lattes Challenge Group
Joining a community of other women doing the same program is going to help you stay committed–add in tips to improve your morning routine and weekly starbucks card raffles and you can’t lose! I will help you get the results you want from either LIIFT program!
To get info on this challenge group and join the waitlist for my LIIFT & Lattes Challenge Group starting August 22nd, fill out the form here.
If you’d like to do LIIFT MORE with your half or full marathon training, fill out the form here to join the Team Run the World Run Club (held on Facebook).
If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org