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I'm currently trying to do the Stronglifts 5x5 weight training program and the Couch to 5k running program at the same time. I'm finding it hard to find time for both, especially with adequate rest. My experience tells that if I work out hard every day, or close to it, my immune system suffers and I get sick within 2 weeks.

Both the Stronglifts and the Couch to 5k programs prescribe 3 workouts per week. I'd like to change that to 3 days of Stronglifts, 2 days of Couch to 5k, and 2 days of doing nothing. I know theoretically that I could run and lift weights on the same day, but I haven't found that to be practical.

My question is: Can I do Couch to 5k (or any running program really) 2 days per week and still get good results? What is the minimum running frequency to achieve the desired results? Obviously progress would be slower, but would I still get there?

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How would you define "good results"? Are you just shooting to run 3.1 miles, or do you want to do it in a certain amount of time, etc? –  Ryan Miller Jun 14 '11 at 17:53
    
How far into the Couch to 5K are you currently? –  Ryan Miller Jun 14 '11 at 17:55
    
@Ryan Miller Um... Day 4. :-P Yeah, not far. I used to be able to run pretty far but I was pretty sedentary over the winter due to illness and other factors, so I recently started from the beginning. I'd say my two-fold goal is to be able to run 1 mile in 8 minutes, and also to be able to run 3 miles (about 5k) in 30 minutes, not during the same session. –  Joshua Carmody Jun 14 '11 at 17:59
    
@Ryan Miller - For weight training I'm aiming for 270 lbs squat, 300 lbs deadlift, 200 lbs bench press, 180 lbs barbell row, 120 lbs overhead press for 5 sets of 5 reps each. Timeframe: by the end of the year. I re-started Stronglifts on Feb 1 and have made good progress. Just squatted 227 lbs for 5x5 yesterday. –  Joshua Carmody Jun 14 '11 at 18:02
    
From my experience, C25K is a ridiculously slow program for running training for almost everyone. Its a good program for something like biggest loser, where an individual has quite literally never exercised in their life, but otherwise you should be able to push yourself much harder. As for lifting the same day, I would lift in the morning and run in the afternoon, this way you don't compromise your lifts and have enough time to recover for running. –  crasic Jun 16 '11 at 19:26
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You're right, you should still get results, albeit slower.

However, you might consider lifting twice and running three times a week rather than the other way around. Given enough intensity (and proper rest), it is easy enough to see progress with lifting on just two sessions a week.

Or you might switch between blocks with focus on lifting (3xlift 2xrun) and focus on running (3xrun 2xlift). 2-4 weeks would be a good length for such a block.

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I think alternating would be a great solution, because you get a bit more rest on either muscle group and you get sufficient training in the 3x week to gain something. –  Ivo Flipse Jun 14 '11 at 16:48
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I think you could do a running program consisting of 2 runs a weeks and still achieve "good results".

One run should focus on a shorter and faster effort after a nice brisk warm up walk. And the other run should focus on a longer and slower effort after a nice brisk warm up. The shorter run should be closer to your 5K pace goal. The longer effort could be as much as 3:00/mile slower than your 5k goal.

Make sure you do a nice ~10 minute brisk walk before running and a nice cool down session afterwards. And, please don't increase your mileage/time/effort running by more than 10% each week.

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