Both running and lifting weights give you benefits for fitness and health. You can run in the morning and hit the gym in the evening to lift if that suits your lifestyle and fitness goals.
Running increases your cardiovascular endurance, while lifting weights develops your muscular strength and increases your lean muscle mass, according to Georgia State University.
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If you are primarily a weight lifter, you may run to lose weight or decrease your body fat percentage. A runner often lifts weights to build muscle strength but may not be interested in developing large muscles.
Cardio and Weights Same Day
Doing cardio in the morning and lifting at night gives you a complete workout in one day. If you can only train three days a week, this schedule allows you to complete both a cardiovascular and a weight training workout on a consistent basis.
Regular cardiovascular exercise such as running helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduces your blood pressure and resting heart rate. The lean muscle mass you build through weight training can help your metabolism, develop strong back and core muscles and improve your posture. The American Council on Exercise Fitness has an opinion on cardio and weight training on the same day: Do whichever exercise suits your lifestyle and goals first.
Easy Running Days
If you run long distances or run fast intervals, the exertion required can leave you too fatigued to effectively lift weights on the same days that you run. To combine running and weight lifting on the same day, you should use the weight lifting days as easy running days. Reduce your normal mileage substantially, or run at a slower, easy pace. Avoid overexertion, says the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. You don't want to tax yourself into a position where you consider giving up exercise altogether.
Your same-day weight lifting workout should be shorter than you would perform if you only lifted weights on that day, to avoid injury from improper form or muscle fatigue. Over time, your body will adapt to the twice-daily workout schedule, and you will be able to run farther and lift heavier weights.
Devise a Running Strategy
Run first thing in the morning, after you have a light breakfast, or indulge in a session of fasted cardio in the morning and weights at night. Set a goal of running for 30 to 45 minutes to give yourself a good workout that burns calories but does not overly fatigue your muscles. One of the benefits of morning cardio means you can spend the rest of the day at your normal activities such as office or house work, school responsibilities or social functions, which allows your muscles to have a chance to recover before your weight lifting session.
Make a Weight Lifting Schedule
Schedule your weight training session either directly before dinner or about an hour after dinner. Perform upper-body and core training on the days that you run and lower-body work on the days that you do not run, if possible. Your leg muscles will likely be slightly fatigued after your morning run, and you may find that you are unable to use heavy weights while performing squats or leg presses, or that you become fatigued during lunges. Use lighter weights for lower-body work if you do perform lower-body exercises on your running days.