#WorkoutWednesday: Running, weight lifting and yoga workout program – How to fit it all in

IMG_6912I often get emails from people looking for advice about how they can fit running, weight lifting and yoga in each week without overdoing it, especially when you you have conflicting goals, such as training for a half marathon and doing your 200-hour yoga teacher training course at the same time.

The short answer I usually give is to just focus on one — whatever your priority fitness goal is at that time — and adjust your schedule as your goals change. Unlike training for a triathlon, combining running, lifting and yoga together is essentially concurrent training (where you simultaneously train for adaptations associated with resistance and endurance training), which can lead to overtraining syndrome and a decrease in performance. That said, there is a way to combine the three activities, depending on what your priority is at the time, to maximize the benefits of each and to stay safe in the process.

Running, weight lifting and yoga workout program – How to fit it all in

If training to run a race is your priority
I’ve written before about how to fit strength training into your marathon training program, and have several strength training programs you can use here, here and here. The general guidelines for training for a race and strength training are as follows:

  • You need at least one rest day a week, which means you may have one double workout day. Do your strength training in the morning and go for an easy run later in the afternoon or the evening after work.
  • Other than your double workout day, do your strength workouts on separate days from run workouts.
  • Have your rest day the day before your long run.
  • Do a full-body circuit twice a week to save time, and use one day to work on upper body strength, flexibility and core (day after your long run works best).
  • You only need about 45 minutes for strength training per session, including a 7-minute warm up and 3-minute cool down.
  • Do your lower-intensity, higher-volume resistance training (aka low to moderate weights lifted with 10-15 reps) during your “pre-season” (in this case, the first two months of a 17-week marathon training plan). In the five weeks leading up to your marathon, drop the volume of your strength training (the number of reps) and focus on power workouts (like plyometrics) and muscular strength (moderate to heavy weights with fewer sets repetitions).

Sample workout program for running, lifting and yoga when running is your priority

Yoga takes a back seat on this one. I would add two 15-20 minute sessions at the end of a run, or swap one run day for full 1 hour a yoga class every two weeks. A sample program might look like this:

Monday – Rest or upper body workout
Tuesday – 45 min run
Wednesday – Full-body strength circuit
Thursday – 1 hour run
Friday – Full-body strength circuit and/or 30-50 minute run
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Long run

If training to become more flexible is your priority
If yoga is your jam, you’re most likely doing three to four hour-long sessions per week. Since you do use isometric strength during yoga, one or two full-body 30-minute strength sessions per week are enough to be beneficial. I would focus on basic push/pull lifts like push-ups, squats, lat pull downs, rows, chest flyes, lunges and deadlifts, and save the core work for your yoga days. For running, two to three 45-minutes runs a week (you can even do one before a yoga class) will be enough to maintain your cardio. If you’re training for a half marathon or full marathon at the same time, drop the yoga down to three days a week and do four runs per week, with your long training day on Sunday. Here are a few sample schedules:

Yoga and run schedule (not training)
Mon – Yoga
Tuesday – 45 min run then 20 min yoga
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – 45 min run
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – RestSunday – Yoga or run (optional)

Yoga and run schedule (training for a race)
Mon – Yoga
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – 1 hour run
Friday – 45 min run then 20 min yoga
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Long run

Sample workout program for running, lifting and yoga when yoga is your priority

If getting stronger is your priority
Running and yoga take a backseat when gaining strength or muscle size and definition is your goal. Strength training will increase to four days per week using an upper/lower split program, and running can be cut down to one or two days per week. Save the yoga for after your cardio or do on a separate day. Here’s a sample upper/lower split lifting program and what your week might look like (which happens to be my current plan):

Monday – One-hour lower body
Tuesday – One-hour upper body
Wednesday – 30 min HIIT workout or 45 min run followed by 20 min yoga
Thursday – One-hour lower body
Friday – One-hour upper body
Saturday – Rest or 50 min hike
Sunday – 1 hour yoga or 40 min run followed by 20 min yoga

Sample workout program for running, lifting and yoga when lifting weights is your priority

I don’t recommend training for a race and trying to gain muscle at the same time, as you’re engaging two different muscle fibre types with competing goals. Although strength training can benefit running, running doesn’t help you gain muscle size or strength.

What are your fitness goals right now? Do you like to combine activities or do you focus on one goal at a time? What is your current workout routine?

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Linking up with the lovely:

Angelena Marie from  Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced , Michelle at Fruition Fitness  and Nicole from Fitful Focus