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I followed the Couch-to-5K training program several months ago in preparation for a 5K race but have not run at all since then. I'd like to get back into it by doing Couch-to-5K again. I'm doing StrongLifts 5x5 now, though, and wasn't doing any kind of strength training the last time I trained for a 5K (nor for a few years before that).

I've been on StrongLifts for about 8 weeks now with no stalling yet and would like to follow both programs concurrently without one causing problems for the other (or at least minimizing the impact). Both are 3-day-per-week programs, so I'm unsure of how to best schedule them.

Am I better off doing StrongLifts in the mornings and Couch-to-5K in the evenings on the same days, or alternating days between StrongLifts and Couch-to-5K? Is there another another arrangement that might be better?

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Does StrongLifts contain a lot of leg training as well? – Ivo Flipse Nov 29 '11 at 17:42
@IvoFlipse StrongLifts has you doing squats as your first lift, on every lifting day. – mike Nov 29 '11 at 18:10
I asked this question a while ago, which is kind of related:… -- I've since then settled into a three days a week routine with 5K (20 to 25 minutes) followed by thorough stretching (10 to 20 minutes) followed by StrongLifts 5X5. I've found that running first works best for me, possibly at the "price" of progressing a little slower with the weights than I potentially could have without running 5Ks just prior – Kim Burgaard Nov 30 '11 at 5:34
I actually believe you should do cardio (especially running) BEFORE weights. After weights you are tight. Running when you are tight can lead to a degraded stride or change in form/gait. Both of these can lead to possible injury. If you do run after the weights, ensure you are hydrated and stretched before running. – ngramsky Dec 1 '11 at 4:49
I run 3 days a week and do stronglifts 3 days a week. No idea if i'm causing issue to either. Don't really care really as i feel stronger and fitter than i have in years. In fact many guides to running recommend doing strength training to improve running. – Ange Jul 30 '12 at 5:30
up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you are on StrongLifts 5x5, a beginner program, then the problems associated with endurance training and max effort training won't be severe enough to worry about. First, a 5K takes less than an hour to complete. Second, you haven't gotten to the place in your training where you really have to choose which way you need to go.

Now, to keep your 5K training more in line with weightlifting in general, focus on interval training between running and jogging. But you should be fine right now.

  • Keep the Couch-2-5K training after lifting.
  • Manage your recovery, and if necessary get a quick carb to replenish energy before switching gears
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Hi Berin , stronglifts 5x5 or starting strength both are beginers programs. 3 day split programs , but both emphasize on a rest/recovery day in between. for an unfit/overweight person a c2-5k itself is high intensity. Does one do the running on alternate days of weights? if you take a 3 day split of weights.. or just cram the running schedule after weights and leave the rest day for complete rest and do nothing on those days. IMHO rest days are for muscle recovery, but i am not sure if muscle recovery times for running vs weights is any different . – Aditya P Aug 28 '13 at 3:25
The most important thing is not to overthink it. If your C2-5K program has you doing a run every other day, one week it will be after lifting and the other it will be on the days between lifting. In either case, you have to manage recovery. You'll discover rather quickly which works better for you individually. Low intensity jogging/walking is a pretty good active recovery option, which is something to keep in mind. – Berin Loritsch Aug 28 '13 at 12:04

Couch-to-5k isn't a super strenuous program so you should be fine doing them same day if you like. Most seem to recommend doing weight training first before cardio though if you have the option. Alternate days would probably be the best since the running/walking would help work out some of the soreness from squats. Just be sure to account for the cardio in your calories to make sure you are eating enough.

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