Should You Do Cardio and Weights On The Same Day?

Maximize your performance and recovery with our training scheduling tips for runners.

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Each athlete’s training plan will vary significantly depending on their experience, fitness goals, and availability.

There are also endless distinct methods that trainers and coaches explore, research, and use with their athletes. Training has become trial and error as each athlete performs and reacts differently to different training methods, stressors, and schedules. 

Consistent research has given us greater knowledge; however, it makes it more challenging when making decisions as we, as coaches and runners, need to sift through a plethora of information.

The most efficient and safest way to train for a race, whether a road 5K or a trail ultramarathon, is by professional guidance from a running coach and a well-thought-out, personalized training plan. 

The most challenging task for a coach or athlete is organizing and combining cardio sessions (long runs, recovery runs, interval training, speedwork, etc.), weight training, and rest into the perfect training plan. This is a giant puzzle to put together.  

A common question for athletes is whether or not they should do cardio and weights on the same day or on separate days; the truth is, it depends on your fitness goals.

Cardio and weights on the same day 1 2

What Exactly Is Cardio? 

Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is exercise that increases your heart and breathing rates for a period of time. This type of exercise will improve the function of your heart, circulatory system, and lungs.  

Cardio is not just running but includes many other types of physical activities. Some examples include biking, swimming, power walking, jumping rope, rowing, high-intensity circuit training, and dancing; the list goes on and on. If it gets that heart rate up and keeps it up, it’s cardio! 

For runners, most of our cardio is running. Still, some of our cardio workout sessions could be cross-training, such as biking, rowing, or elliptical, intending to reduce impact and, ultimately, the risk of injury. 

Cardio fills up most of our training program, but please remember how valuable weight training is for runners and athletes in general!

Cardio and weights on the same day

What Is Weight Training?

According to Merriam-Webster, weight training is a system of conditioning involving lifting weights, especially for strength and endurance.

As cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, weight training, resistance training, or “strength training” strengthens other muscles in your body.

This is done using a type of resistance such as body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, a great variety of weight machines, and fun gym toys! 

As runners, we should incorporate strength training into our weekly plan, ideally two sessions. This will strengthen our muscles, protect our joints, and improve our speed, running economy, and overall athletic performance. 

Some important factors to consider when weight training is to start slow, with either just bodyweight or light weights, perfect the technique and posture of the exercises you perform, and don’t skip the rests between sets.

Related: Working Out Twice A Day: Pros, Cons + How To Maximize Results

Cardio and weights on the same day

Should You Do Cardio And Weights On The Same Day?

Yes, you can do cardio and strength workouts on the same day. 

But let’s look at how exactly to make it work and why you should organize your training schedule this way.

Double Sessions

As we progress as athletes and runners, our training load increases, and time becomes tight. 

This is when we consider adding “double sessions” to our training program to fit everything in. A double session is a day where you train twice daily, ideally once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening, leaving a window of at least 6 hours between sessions if possible.

This practice is commonly used with triathletes who must work in at least three different sports plus weight training throughout their training week. Most seasoned runners also work in double sessions to increase volume and include strength training.

Suppose you run six sessions a week but must also fit in two weight training sessions and still have at least one full day of complete rest. In that case, you will have to make some adjustments, double sessions, to fit this into a 7-day weekly training plan. 

Cardio and weights on the same day 1 11

Should You Do Cardio Or Weights First?

When organizing your training plan, the best way to work in weight training sessions is to add them on the afternoon of the same day you run speedwork sessions (sprinting, tempos tuns, high intensity interval training, hill repeats, etc.)

Since running is the priority for runners, we want to be at our best for our endurance training and running sessions.

That being said, schedule your running sessions in the morning and weights in the afternoon, with an ideal six-hour rest window in between.

This allows you some time to recover from your run before hitting the gym and banging out your squats, deadlifts, lunges, and whichever other exercises you include to build muscle and strength to improve your running performance. 

According to sports training researcher Dr. Kenji Doma,1Dr Kenji Doma – Research Portfolio – James Cook University. (n.d.). Research.jcu.edu.au. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from https://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/kenji.doma/ studies show that running after weight training, even 6 hours apart, impairs running performance greater than running before weight training. 

Therefore, schedule your running session, ideally 6 hours before your weight training, to perform at your best the following day. 

The day following your afternoon or evening weight training should be a low-intensity recovery run, low-impact cardio, or rest.

It’s better to have a double session of hard running and weights in one day and rest completely the next rather than spread everything out on different days and constantly feel depleted.

Of course, if hypertrophy (muscle gain or muscle growth) and/or bodybuilding is your priority, you will want to do your weight training first thing in the morning to be at your top performance and perform your aerobic exercise as your second workout of the day.

Related: 5 Low Impact Cardio Workouts To Try

Let’s see how this looks mapped out.

Cardio and weights on the same day

Example Training Schedule For Runners

According to what we have discussed, the following is an example of the scheduling of a training plan for someone who runs six times per week with two weight training sessions. 

Depending on your fitness level and training load, the number of times you run per week and the intensity of your speedwork sessions will vary. Therefore, the main takeaway from this schedule is the double sessions and easy runs following weight training afternoons. 

As you will see, the days after the planned double sessions are easy-run days. This will allow your body to recover from the double stress from the day before. 

Training Schedule Sample

Day 1: 
AM: Easy Run

Day 2: 
AM: Speedwork Session (high-intensity cardio)
(6 hours between sessions)
PM: Weight Training (lower-body focus)

Day 3: 
AM: Recovery Run

Day 4: 
AM: Speedwork / Race Specific Session
(6 hours between sessions)
PM: Weight Training

Day 5: 
AM: Recovery Run

Day 6: 
AM: Long Run (low to moderate intensity)

Day 7:
Complete Rest 

What Are The Benefits Of Doing Cardio And Weights On The Same Day?

As mentioned, athletes can have busy training schedules, and trying to fit everything in can be a challenge. Doubling up can maximize your training time.

In addition, by performing two challenging sessions on the same day, you can maximize your rest and recovery by truly having an easy day the following day.

What Are The Cons Of Doing Cardio And Weights On The Same Day

Time Constraints

Training twice a day can be challenging for many as our jobs and personal lives can take up a lot of time.

Some of us may need to do one session immediately after another for time’s sake. If you need to do this, run first and do your weight training session afterward.

Doing these sessions consecutively will be hard on your body, and you will likely not perform at your best in the strength session. Still, it’s better than eliminating weight training altogether.

Cardio and weights on the same day

Adaptation to Double Sessions

If you are not accustomed to having double sessions in your training program, it will take some getting used to. Slowly work this scheduling into your life, and take it easy on the weights. 

If you plan on going to classes given at your local gym instead of lifting weights on the floor, remember that these sessions are most likely not “runner-specific.” These classes may be more of a HIIT style class, with the main goal being calorie burn, weight loss and fat loss.

If you are a runner, you already do plenty of cardio ever day. Ask the coach giving the class about running-specific exercises focusing on strengthening your muscles, with a limited cardio component. You don’t want to tire yourself out more than necessary for running.

Final Tips For Weight Training

Be Consistent 

Be consistent with your weight training. Inconsistency will put your body through a lot of suffering each time you pick up those weights again.

Weight training is known to cause soreness, and while we are no strangers to the DOMS, it will be more tolerable if your body is well-adapted to the workouts. This way, you can run the following mornings without a problem.

Cardio and weights on the same day


If you are a runner, your most important training sessions are running. However, we know that weight training is essential for strength and speed and to reduce our risk of injury, so we should work it in no matter what. 

It is, however, supplemental to our running, and it should not negatively affect our running days. 

If you feel you are not running at your best during your training sessions, look at your weight training schedule and how you perform your strength exercises. You may need to reassess the exercise type to ensure it is “running specific” and that you are not overdoing it.

Look at the amount of weight you are lifting. You may need to decrease your weight and/or reps, add more rest, or reduce the total session time. A 30-45 minute session twice weekly is more than enough, so be careful not to overdo it.

Cardio and weights on the same day

You need to consider these factors when adjusting your weight training to complement your running and ensure it doesn’t hinder it. 

Try out this setup and see if it works for you. It may surprise you how organizing the same sessions in a different order can improve your performance significantly!

Take a look at our weight training guide for runners to see what to focus on in your strength workouts:


Photo of author
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community, she is known for her ear-to-ear smile, even under the toughest racing conditions. She is a UESCA-certified running coach and loves sharing her knowledge and experience to help people reach their goals and become the best runners they can be. Her biggest passion is to motivate others to hit the trails or road alongside her, have a blast, and run for fun!

9 thoughts on “Should You Do Cardio and Weights On The Same Day?”


  2. I like your thinking. I am 76 years old all fitness seems to concentrate on the younger people. I do 3 x spin, 2 x gym weight, 2 golf and achieve 12,000 steps per day.
    Recovery is the main issue being retired gives me more time to fit the programme in.I would like to here from you on training for aged people
    Rex Wood0 Sydney Australia

    • Hi Rex. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I think what you are doing for your health is fantastic. Exercise is just as important for those in their 70’s as for the younger generations. What changes are the objectives.

      With aged people, maintaining muscle mass and bone strength are high priorities and the best way to do this is engaging in low to moderate intensity, low-impact activities. You have shown you do this with golf, spinning, walking and weight training.

      Even though the intensity of exercise should decrease as we become older, training frequency and duration should actually increase for optimum results. This helps us to maintain mobility and proper motor function. You seem to stay active 7 days a week which is ideal! Keep it up!

  3. I’m 57 years old, I’ve just started training again after hurting my back and I can’t run due to knee injuries. I’m doing weights in the morning for an hour and boxing in the evening for 45 minutes using Sunday as my recovery day. I want to build up my strength and cardio fitness. Is what I’m doing ok?

  4. As long as there’s a 6 or 8 hour space between cardio and weights, this should be fine. Your mTOR (energy positive/muscle building) sensory pathway won’t clash with your AMPK (energy deficit/fat loss) sensory pathway. That’s quite important.

    I’ll run for an hour in the morning then hours later after refuelling and drinking some more black coffee – weight training. This is for fat loss (I’ll be in a deficit and using IF) but for weight training and muscle gain I’d probably flip these and use a stationary bike later on as lower impact.


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