Advice for balancing lifting and running

Hi,

I am struggling because I'd like to do both lifting and running each week but I find my legs are so sore for a few days after lifting that I can't get myself to run. I'm doing StrongLifts and I enjoy it, and I am also nearly done c25k and found running to do wonders for my mental (and physical) health.

Just wondering if anyone has tips to managing both.

Replies

  • Talan79
    Talan79 Posts: 782 Member
    I only get DOMS after a lifting break. My legs and upper body no longer get soar after lifting unless I go up in weight. Are you new to lifting? Maybe your body just needs to adjust. On leg days, I walk before & sometimes after. I don’t run so that I don’t strain. I run on my upper body days.
  • MaltedTea
    MaltedTea Posts: 6,287 Member
    Talan79 wrote: »
    I run on my upper body days.

    🙋🏿‍♀️ This!

    I ran this morning knowing that I have an upper body routine tonight. Two-a-days aren't a long-term strategy (not for me anyway) but for short, defined programs like C2K, that's how I'd fit it into a progressive resistance routine.

  • Duck_Puddle
    Duck_Puddle Posts: 3,227 Member
    edited July 2020
    Strong lifts has you doing heavy squats 3 times a week (every workout). And the intention is that you add weight with every workout. That’s a lot of heavy squats - particularly if you want your legs to feel “fresh” enough to also run 3 days a week.

    It sounds like you’re new to both the lifting and running? If so, it may improve over time some as you become more accustomed to the activities. But heavy squats 3 times a week is still a lot for someone who wants to also run 3 times a week. Stronglifts is designed for people who want to lift.

    If you don’t find that things improve in time, search for a lifting program that doesn’t have you doing heavy squats 3 days a week. It is easier to run when you are not perpetually a day or two days after a heavy squat workout.
  • kperk91
    kperk91 Posts: 225 Member
    I lift 4 days a week with progressive overload:
    Mon/Thurs: upper
    Tues/Fri: lower
    I have 3 different loops in the neighborhood that I run. The one that is 2 miles, I will run on my upper days. The second is about 1 mile which I run on lowers days. The last route is 3.1 miles (5K) that I will do Saturday mornings before it gets too hot or random storm (Hello, Florida)

    It keeps me moving without being too much. Also, my pace is about a 9:50 mile since I just got back into running.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    Hi,

    I am struggling because I'd like to do both lifting and running each week but I find my legs are so sore for a few days after lifting that I can't get myself to run. I'm doing StrongLifts and I enjoy it, and I am also nearly done c25k and found running to do wonders for my mental (and physical) health.

    Just wondering if anyone has tips to managing both.

    I'm in the same boat! I had been doing both, and it seemed to help to run in the morning, lift that same evening, skip a day of running, then repeat. So this only allows for running every other day. I've recently drifted away from StrongLifts as I've been focusing more on running lately, but I'd like to get back to the lifting.

    Another idea might be to modify the StrongLifts program to be your own, and either only do two days per week, or increase the load more slowly than the program indicates. (I know--for the purists out there, this would no longer be "StrongLifts" :smiley: )

    I do believe the squats are good for running, so I personally don't really want to give those up. Please update if you figure anything out!
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,148 Member
    edited July 2020
    Been there, done that......I did stronglifts while I was training for a half marathon and as the squats got heavier and the runs got longer I simply didn't have enough recovery time.

    My solution was to only squat heavier 1 x weekly and do either goblet or sumo squats with a lighter dumbbell on the other two days.

    You could also consider going to a program along the lines of a push, pull, legs to allow adequate recovery for your legs.

  • mothermoose116
    mothermoose116 Posts: 20 Member
    Thanks for all of the responses!

    I had done StrongLifts for a year or so and really enjoyed it but ended up getting exhausted with the really heavy weights. I fell off the fitness train due to life changes (and gained 30 lbs over three years!). I started couch to 5k in January and for the first time in my life started to enjoy running but have had multiple interruptions (COVID/related stresses). My lifting has been sporadic which probably explains the DOMs as a pp alluded to.

    I think I will have to decide what to prioritize- it may be that I prioritize my running capacity and look at a different lifting program that isn't so squat heavy. Or maybe I will focus on running this summer to build endurance capacity and then focus more on weights in the winter months.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,847 Member
    Strong lifts has you doing heavy squats 3 times a week (every workout). And the intention is that you add weight with every workout. That’s a lot of heavy squats - particularly if you want your legs to feel “fresh” enough to also run 3 days a week.

    It sounds like you’re new to both the lifting and running? If so, it may improve over time some as you become more accustomed to the activities. But heavy squats 3 times a week is still a lot for someone who wants to also run 3 times a week. Stronglifts is designed for people who want to lift.

    If you don’t find that things improve in time, search for a lifting program that doesn’t have you doing heavy squats 3 days a week. It is easier to run when you are not perpetually a day or two days after a heavy squat workout.

    ditto. There are other workout plans where you alternate squats and deadlifts (only doing 1 or the other in a session).
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,847 Member
    Hi,

    I am struggling because I'd like to do both lifting and running each week but I find my legs are so sore for a few days after lifting that I can't get myself to run. I'm doing StrongLifts and I enjoy it, and I am also nearly done c25k and found running to do wonders for my mental (and physical) health.

    Just wondering if anyone has tips to managing both.

    I'm in the same boat! I had been doing both, and it seemed to help to run in the morning, lift that same evening, skip a day of running, then repeat. So this only allows for running every other day. I've recently drifted away from StrongLifts as I've been focusing more on running lately, but I'd like to get back to the lifting.

    Another idea might be to modify the StrongLifts program to be your own, and either only do two days per week, or increase the load more slowly than the program indicates. (I know--for the purists out there, this would no longer be "StrongLifts" :smiley: )

    I do believe the squats are good for running, so I personally don't really want to give those up. Please update if you figure anything out!

    Ditto. My DOMS/fatigue is worse the next day versus later the same day, so I (when we still had gyms back before March) always lifted in the mornings that I needed better performance cycling later in the evening (as opposed to the next day). I also deload everything and lower to 2 sessions/week if I'm training for a race of heavy into the cycling season.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    edited July 2020
    Hi,

    I am struggling because I'd like to do both lifting and running each week but I find my legs are so sore for a few days after lifting that I can't get myself to run. I'm doing StrongLifts and I enjoy it, and I am also nearly done c25k and found running to do wonders for my mental (and physical) health.

    Just wondering if anyone has tips to managing both.

    I would just find a better program than SL that incorporates auto regulation if you are experiencing recovery issues. SL on average isn't made to run more than a couple months any way so no skin in finding a more appropriate program that allows you to recover better with "life" in mind.

    The program's suggestion of deloading and thinking that will solve the issue is probably the biggest flaw of the lack of volume and pounding intensity increases.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    I don't run but I do bike in the summer. I find I need to cut back on lifting leg work during the biking season.
  • annshandle
    annshandle Posts: 68 Member
    Runner's World has some strength programs for runners that you could google. It's not heavy weights, but it might be enough to satisfy your strength craving.
  • Tonydevolanii
    Tonydevolanii Posts: 658 Member
    Why are you doing strong lifts
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
    You are getting the right answers from Duck Puddle and others.
    It is extremely hard to run and lift at the same time.
    I find it harder to run the day after heavy deadlifting than squatting. But squatting is tough too.
    In my opinion, you need to accept that fact that it is much harder to try to progress in two programs than it is to progress in one.
    Hence, you need to prioritize. You must decide if lifting or running is more important to you right now, and then cut back a little bit on the other one.
    That is, if you chose running, maybe run 3-4 times a week and lift two, with a day of rest. Or, if your priority is the lifting, then lift three times a week and run one or two days.
    Don't worry. That particular priority does not have to be forever. Just because you prioritize strength training right now, doesn't mean you cannot switch next year and prioritize running next year.
    I am a runner mostly. But I have done the Stronglifts program rigorously a few times. I really like it. It is simple, efficient, straightforward and produces great results! But no one can do it, and expect to go out the next day, the day after heavy squatting and/or deadlifting, and expect to run well. The whole point of a program like that is that you are beating up and fatiguing your muscles, and that they need a day or two in between sessions to recover. Good luck.
  • LeanButNotMean44
    LeanButNotMean44 Posts: 852 Member
    I lift M, W, F using a push/pull/legs program and run T, Th, & Sun. Friday is leg day and since I lift early in the morning, it gives me plenty of time to rest before my Sunday long run.
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
    I agree with @GiddyupTim and others. You have to decide what is your top priority, but you can switch it around too. I have struggled with this dilemma for many years. Ultimately, my main goal is to be a better runner. As I grow older, I have discovered that strength training plays a critical role in enabling me to do this. When I am in a training cycle, I do mostly body weight exercises or light weights for lower body in order to keep my legs fresh for my runs. Currently I am taking advantage of a down period in training (since pretty much all races have been cancelled) and working on my strength training with heavier weights.

    Because I am still wanting to run around 20-25 miles per week, I have found that I prefer to do my lifting on the same day as my running, splitting them between morning and evening. This allows me to give my legs better recovery on my off days. This may not work for everyone, but I have found those total rest days (which include long walks and yoga) to be very helpful for me. Just something to consider.
  • mikedee_nyc
    mikedee_nyc Posts: 136 Member
    I was trying to juggle both as well and it wasn’t working out. Thinking of putting Stronglifts aside for awhile and just focusing on running.