In today’s modern training age, many runners understand that to train effectively, they must do more than just run.
Cross-training is now accepted as the best universal strategy for improving athletic performance, mobility, and overall feelings of wellness. Taking on a cross-training routine means that your workouts will vary, you’ll target your heart rate, challenge different muscle groups, and engage both slow and fast twitch muscles.
Perhaps the reason the question, “Should I lift or do cardio first?” is not easily answered is because the answer depends on many variables:
- What are your overall fitness goals?
- What are you looking to gain?
- How do you want to improve?
If you scour all of your resources looking for an answer, you’ll likely be left with conflicting information. A recent article by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research even suggests that it doesn’t matter which type of exercise you perform first or last. They say you’ll experience a hormone surge either way.
For many, that may come as encouraging news. You can stop obsessing over the order in which you lift and run. However, it’s always helpful to gain a greater understanding of what your body is undergoing during exercise and what that means for health and weight loss.
What are your goals?
Many runners don’t have specific goals. Running is likely a part of your life because you enjoy what it does for you, the health benefits it provides, and how it makes you feel. That said, you’re likely seeking the “best” training plan because you want to get better in some way.
“Getting better” in regard to running means improving your:
- aerobic capacity
- muscular endurance
- leg strength and ability to generate power over a sustained period of time
- mobility and flexibility
- your overall sense of balance
It would be unreasonable to assume that everyone’s goal is to be a better runner. Perhaps your goals are to lose weight or trim your waistline of a few pesky pounds you accumulated over the winter months.