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How to Build out Your Running and Strength Training Weekly Schedule

How to Set Your Running and Strength Training Weekly Schedule

exercises and drills strength training training smarts weight training for female runners Jan 19, 2024

I LOVE getting down to the nitty-gritty of biomechanics and talking about how to really make your strength training work towards running efficiently. Which is pretty much what all my other blog posts are about.

…but none of that matters if you can’t figure out how to make it all part of your week. Below I will walk you through some rules of thumb when it comes to balancing strength training with your running throughout the week (including a few sample schedules).

Before I dive into that some background:

Why should you strength train as a runner?

Strength training has been shown to improve running economy by 2% - 8% (1). I like to think of improving running economy, defined as the amount of oxygen your body needs to run at a certain pace, as making running feel easier at a given pace and allowing you to run faster without it feeling harder.

Of course, we can use purposeful pacing of our running to improve running economy, but if you aren’t also strength training you are leaving some serious performance (and injury resilience) on the table.


How should you strength train as a runner?

As an endurance athlete, it might seem logical to take the same approach to strength training with high reps and little rest. Instead, think of strength training as an opportunity to work on what you are not already getting out of your running.

You want a different stimulus to support your running.

What does that mean exactly?

Go for Max Strength:

Instead of trying to feel the burn with 15 to 20 reps with lighter weight, go heavy (whatever that means for you), reduce reps, and really challenge and grow your strength!

I usually start my runners at 3 sets of 10 when working on learning the new movements but work towards 4-5 sets for 5-8 reps with higher weight/resistance.

Build in Power-Based Movements: 

I love a simple pogo to start but don’t forget to progress to more explosive plyometrics, especially in your offseason (play with more variability and change of direction in the season).

For example:

The pogo works on springy feet…


The sit to quick step and jump is usually where I’ll start my runners beginning to introduce more power to that quick turnover…



Prioritize Rest Between Sets:

Resist the urge to jump around between sets for more cardio/calorie burn. Actually, rest!


Quality > Quantity

Intensity > Volume

Rest has value too!


If you are new to strength training, try and get your strength sessions in on fresh legs. Going into a strength session after a run can make it harder to execute the movements especially while you are learning (reduced quality). When it’s not possible to do strength and running on a separate day consider putting your strength session first. Go for quality over quantity with your lifts to keep some in the tank for your run.

Keep in mind. Strength work is not just something to add in on an easy or rest day either. Space out your hard runs and strength sessions. Strength training does not replace rest.


How to Balance Running and Strength Training in Your Weekly Schedule

There isn’t one way to do it, but there are some guidelines and general suggestions based on your history and goals, beginning with a few guiding questions.

What’s your training age?

If you are new to running and/or strength training, it’s likely best to train them on separate days (at least for now).

What’s your goal?

Training for an upcoming race? Prioritize your runs. Building strength in an off-season? Prioritize your strength.

Are you pairing strength with hard or easy running on the same day?

If it’s an easy run, you can get away with doing them back-to-back. If it’s a hard run (speed, tempo, track, etc.), try to space them out by 6 hours.


Here are a few examples of how you might do it:

My Personal Schedule:
I’m getting in two quality full-body lift sessions per week, 3 run sessions, and plenty of rest.


One workout per day is enough for me right now. I know my body, especially with other life related stress, needs to prioritize rest right now and focus on quality over quantity.

High Volume Running Sample Schedule: 2 quality full body strength sessions, 5 run sessions and one day for full rest.


This might work well when training for a big race while trying to maintain a good strength foundation.

More Strength Forward Sample Schedule: 2 quality strength sessions, 4 run sessions, and 2 full days of rest.


This might work well for really working on strength building while maintaining running volume.

Keep in mind, the more volume (reps & sets) your strength training has, the longer the recovery time needed, especially before a high-intensity run.  Many runners are afraid to lift heavy due to soreness affecting their runs. Of course, with a new stimulus, there will be soreness, but if lifting heavier becomes a habit, you can get more out of lower-volume lifting and recover faster for your runs. Win, win!

These are just 3 examples. Everyone is different.  There are general rules of thumb and many, many ways to apply them. Above all lead with how YOUR body responds, your life and your goals. This is where training age and experience help a lot, you have more years of data.

Here’s a little homework for you:

Take a few minutes to sit down and schedule your running and strength workouts into your weeks in a way that works best for YOU.

Once you have that done, check out my Runner's Lab Masterclass to gain a deeper understanding of the physics and physiology of running and what that means for your body and your training so that you can unlock your full running potential.

The Runner’s Lab is a 2 hour virtual masterclass, part powerpoint style education and part practice to move, feel, and experiment  in your body 

Education on your physiology, stress resilience, running biomechanics and my 5 essential skills for an efficient stride so that you understand the “how” your body works together and the "why" behind the exercises and movements in the practice.

Practice with tuning into your physiology and the 5 essential skills so that you can feel and seamlessly apply it to your body and overall training strategy moving forward.

Next on your reading list:

Running and Weightlifting: Avoide these 3 mistakes to Become a Better & Stronger Runner

5 Skills Female Runners Need to Master to Create The Ideal Running Stride

Muscle Imbalance in Your Legs: Symptoms of an Inefficient Running Stride



  1. Blagrove RC , Howatson G , Hayes PR. Effects of strength training on the physiological determinants of middle- and long-distance running performance: a systematic review. Sports Med 2018;48:1117–49

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