Are strength training and running a good combination? Well, for strength training running, kinda yea and kinda no. Getting the right mix for results and happiness is personal - and difficult.
Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!
So, come my friends and we shall find the perfect mix of running, smart, basic strength training, and athletics for you!
Whether to combine strength training with running is an inherently personal decision. How long you've been training, what your own recovery rate is, and how much sleep you're getting - all of these play an important role in determining what level of training you can sustain.
And for strength training, you need that recovery time. If you're working your legs hard with both strength training and running, then you should allow even more time to recover.
Light Running, Yes…
Light running can help your strength training. If you do a little jogging it should actually help you recover faster. Why?
Well, running will…
Keeping your muscles warm makes them feel better. I know that on the day after working out, when I'm super stiff, doing some light jogging or dancing really helps.
You get more movement out of your muscles, and it's easier to move around. And as long as you're not going super intense, your muscles will be fine.
Strength training and light running together makes a great combo since you get your blood flowing through the muscles. This helps remove waste products (like lactic acid), as well as deliver nutrients, protein, and oxygen to your recovering muscles.
And moving takes your mind off how your body hurts! Being sore isn't any fun, but sitting around and letting your soreness keep you from fun activities is even worse.
Intense strength training running, though, isn't a good combination. Or, more specifically, not if you do them intensely and frequently.
See, if you're doing legitimate strength training then you will be doing significant damage to your muscles. And that does not go with intense running.
Frankly, there's no need to do running in addition to any kind of strength training. For both improving strength and your health, high intensity training (HIT) done infrequently works better than long, steady state exercise like jogging.
Look at Mike Mentzer's high intensity training, or the new book Body by Science. Both show that you can make significant strength gains with just one intense workout a week.
And more workouts might actually hold you back. Strength training running has the potential to overload your body and cut into your strength gains and running performance.
So, if you're looking for the best way to get stronger or healthier, do strength training a few days a week and maybe some light jogging with your recovery. Going headlong into intense exercise every day of the week is a really stupid idea (I know).
If you're doing strength training once or twice a week to complement a hard training schedule, and you've timed your resting so that you're making progress, then you're fine. Likewise, a little light jogging to give you a break from an intense weight training schedule can also work. But…
"He who chases two rabbits catches neither."
Oh, and if it's for cross-training purposes, that's B.S. The concept of 'cross training' was popularized in the 70's by Nike, mostly in an effort to sell people more different kinds of shoes.
For your best results, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on a good beginner weight training program, or a good running program.
Or just be a careful when you mix strength training and running. Being too intense can really come back to bite you in the rear.
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
Why Strength Training Running Ruins Most Workouts
1. McGuff, Doug, and John R. Little. 2009. Body By Science: A Research Based Program To Get The Results You Want In 12 Minutes A Week. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 220.
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