A common question I’m asked in regards to strength training for runners is how long and how often should one workout?
Though there are general guidelines to help, TBH, there really is no one size fits all response.
Each individual comes with their own unique goals and needs, thus training should be reflective of that.
Here are a few questions I ask athletes to help determine this…
What are you currently training for? Your run program looks different if you’re training for a 5k compared to a marathon, or if you’re in maintenance, so the same goes for your strength program. Strength training should be complementary to your running in order to enhance performance and decrease injury risk, so the amount of time you spend on it is dependent upon the frequency and intensity of your running.
What have you been doing? If you’re totally new to strength, you will want to get started with simple, fundamental movements, involving little to no weight, a couple of times per week. As the training becomes more progressive and depending upon what you’re training for, the volume may begin to increase, which will also increase the duration and potentially frequency of your workout sessions.
How much time do you actually have? Most of us have busy schedules that require us to get it done early morning, on our lunch break, after work or even later in the evenings. Time is a luxury for many of us so it’s important to be realistic with your schedule in order to set yourself up for success. But knowing it doesn’t have to be crazy involved or time consuming certainly helps, and if there is a will, there is a way.
What are your overall goals? All the above stuff is super helpful, but at the end of the day, identifying what you want out of your training for your body and mind brings the most value in scheduling your workouts. It’s ok to have goals outside of running that maybe involve you looking better in a bathing suit this summer, just as much as it’s awesome that you’d rather go after a huge PR. Keep in mind, training may look different for each individual goal so gaining some clarity as to what you want for YOU and being willing to honor that plays a huge role in determining how much time and energy you’ll be spending on what.
So no, I probably wasn’t able to simply answer your question of how much and how often, but offering you these questions, hopefully, you feel better equipped to answer it yourself.