How To Combine Running And Strength Training

how to combine running and strength training

A month ago I joined a gym because up until that point all the exercise I was doing was running 4 times per week.

Wait, ‘all the exercise …’ ?!

Cutting myself some slack here because I run 40-50kms per week and that takes up at least 4-5 hours of my time. 

how to combine strength training and running

My happy place.

I had reached a plateau after running 2 x sub 2 hour half marathons in July and August. Based on all the reading and research I did it was clear that to get to the next level I had to get stronger. Running by itself wasn’t going to get me there. 

I tried out a CrossFit class and I was so out of my comfort zone that I pretty much knew it wasn’t for me. Plus I saw an injury or three in my near future if I committed to it. 

Signing up for a gym membership appealed to me on many levels – air con, treadmills in air con (very important if you live in a tropical sauna), free PT sessions and the good old Les Mills classes.

How to combining running and strength training 

A few of you asked me to write about my experience on how to combining running and strength training and how I manage to fit it all in together. Well, you may have noticed the blog has been extremely quiet over the past month this is because I now have ZERO SPARE TIME.


Sadly, this includes my writing time too. 

My Typical Weekly Running Schedule:
  • Monday – 50 min easy run
  • Tuesday – rest day
  • Wednesday – 5km time trial with Darwin Runners Club
  • Thursday – rest day
  • Friday – intervals or hill work
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday – Long run.

strength training and running

I started off with having a PT session at the gym on Tuesday afternoons and I also discovered they have a fabulous Yoga class Tuesday mornings – see ya rest day. 

yoga and running benefits

Ahh Yoga! I missed you too.

Thursday – I decided this would be my second strength training session for the week as I like to have a rest day before my long run. There’s also a Pilates class in the morning and RPM classes every evening which I am yet to find time to try. I miss RPM. 

This past Saturday I may have snuck into the gym for a quick upper body workout because I decided that would not affect my long run at all. 

I did discuss this with my running coach beforehand and she suggested that Tuesdays and Thursdays would be perfect for adding some strength training. And of course if you have to double up one day – running first then strength training. 

benefits of strength training and running

Goal: 6 active training days per week and 1 rest day. 

Did I mention that HB has been marathon training all year himself whilst working 6 days per week?

man running at sunset

C R A Z Y 

It’s all about finding life balance and family always comes first. We both make that our first priority. 

Maggie (4) attends pre-school every morning and after the pick up and drop offs I have two hours (9-11) to do some exercise in the mornings and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this past month. Annaliese (14) is a fantastic big sister and if we run in the evenings together she is happy to babysit for an hour. We both do our long runs separately on the weekend so someone is always home with the girls. 

Our Run Europe trip is less than a month away and we are both beyond excited. It’s all we can talk about when we get a spare moment to ourselves. Post Europe I will be cutting down on the running which fits in perfectly with our brutally humid wet season and I will be building some muscle. 

I took a running break over last December and January and I seriously struggled when I started again in February. My aim this time around will be to keep a certain level of cardio fitness whilst increasing muscle mass. 

25 minute 5km

Benefits I have found by adding in some strength training:
  • I lost the couple of kilos I gained before the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July.
  • I feel healthy, strong and fit.
  • I finally improved my 5km time and took a whole minute off my previous PB (25:19). I have smashed my 8km, 10km, 12km and half marathon times this year, but not the 5km. A few weeks of strength training and I did it. It was hard work, but I got it done! 
  • Muscle tone is happening. I can see some definition but in reality it is probably not visible to the naked eye just yet. 

I have no idea how you ladies fit it all in with a full-time or part-time job outside the home?! Amazing multi-taskers. 

Hit me with your best tips on how to combine running with strength training?



  1. nat says

    Hi there…just starting out with some jogging and wondering how you build up time? At present I can manage a minute or two (don’t laugh!) and then puff out….any tips or advice? Thanks heaps ? p.s I find it especially hard jogging outside compared with the treadmill…..goal is to run outside/funruns/lose weight/getfittEr…the usual stuff ?

    • Sarah George says

      Hi Nat! This is how we all start out a few minutes of running non stop and slowly adding to it. Last year, I had to switch to Jeff Galloway’s run walk run method to get through my marathon due to injuries. When I started training again this February I was so used to RWR that I only thought I could run 2 mins at a time without a break. Not true! << this is a post I wrote in February and I have built up to non-stop running since then. I have gone from running for 2 minutes to 2-3 hours non-stop. If I can do this, anyone can! In the beginning, I started off on the treadmill ( you can search 2012 onwards for my beginner running posts), once I built up to 30 mins on the treadmill I switched to road running and it was a hard transition. Now I find treadmill runs hard work 🙂 Highly recommend turning up to your local parkrun and joining the local runners club too. You will find runners of all levels there!

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