Running While Powerlifting

Powerlifting can enhance your running, but take care to balance your training. To get the most out of each, you must control the volume and intensity of both sports. Extreme endurance training, such as running a marathon, can present difficulties for a powerlifter. Combining an endurance sport and a power sport may give you some proficiency in each, but when you train to excel in one, the other often winds up suffering. Consult a health care provider before beginning any athletic program.

Starting blocks on a track (Image: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images)

Well-Rounded Program

To start, you need to have a balanced program, such as powerlifting three days a week and running three days a week. If you train on a basic five-by-five powerlifting program, in which you squat for five sets every workout, followed by benching for five sets, it is somewhat easier to set up your program. Lift on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Your heavy squat workout will be on Monday when your legs are fresh. Your only deadlift workout occurs on Friday, so schedule your shortest or lowest-intensity runs for Saturday.


A basic powerlifting program revolves around squatting and bench pressing. Perform your heavy squat workout on Monday with a weight that you can control for five sets of five repetitions, followed by benching with a weight you can control for five sets of 10 repetitions. On Wednesday, squat with a weight you can control for five sets of eight repetitions followed by benching for five sets of five repetitions. On Friday, squat for five sets of 10 repetitions followed by deadlifting for a single set of five repetitions. Follow this with benching for five sets of eight repetitions. The last repetition of each set should be extremely difficult to complete, but you should be able to manage it.


Following your heavy squat session on Monday, your legs may be fairly sore, but running should be manageable. If you are training for speed, make your Tuesday workout a moderate running volume workout in which you rarely exceed your goal distance. Make Thursday your speed day, during which you work on shorter runs for burst speed and technique. This is a good time to do runs that build power and technique, such as running uphill, which teaches proper foot strike. On Saturday, following your combined squat and deadlift day, and after five consecutive days of training, you should be tired and sore. Make this day a light, easy running day to simply increase your training volume and relieve some of the stiffness and soreness. Even walking is acceptable if running is not possible. If you are running strictly for recreational purposes, simply run on your off days and enjoy yourself.

High-Volume Training

If you plan on increasing your running volume, it may be at the expense of your strength. The easiest way to limit this is to train twice a day on your lifting days. Lift in the morning when you are fresh and schedule your lighter runs in the afternoons or evenings of the same day. Your heavier running days will be on the days you do not lift. You will need to asses your progress in each area, both lifting and running, and determine where to make adjustments. This depends upon your individual goals.

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