Is It Better to Run Before or After a Workout? – Let’s Find Out!

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Is It Better to Run Before or After a Workout

When planning out your workout routine many people new to fitness are confused about whether to run or workout first. With so much contradicting information on the internet, it can be confusing to decide which to do first. So, is it better to run before or after a workout?


It depends on your goals. If you aim to improve your running endurance then you should run first. However, if you plan to work on your strength and aerobic capacity, then you should consider running after you’re done with strength training or other exercises. When you do your cardio can greatly affect how your body reacts to it.


However, it’s not as simple as that. There are a lot of factors in play here and everyone wants something different from their workout routine. So depending on your goals and what you want out of your session, whether you should run first or last can change. So let’s see what happens to your body when you do each of these, and you can decide for yourself.


Running Before And After A Workout

As I’ve just mentioned, running before or after a workout can have different effects on your body. So, considering everyone comes to fitness with different goals in mind, here I’m going to talk about what these effects are. Then you can decide for yourself which approach is best suited for you.

Is It Better to Run Before or After a Workout

#1 - Working Out Before Running

If you work out before you run, then your body’s stored carbohydrates will usually deplete and your body will have to reach for the fat reserves. Thus if you’re wanting to lose weight, then you should probably work out before.


You will most likely have more energy doing the activity you’ll take on first, and for the latter, you’ll be a lot more tired. So if you want to focus on strength training and building up muscle mass, you should workout beforehand.


Try to start with energized muscles when focusing on improving your strength. If you start with an already fatigued body and then lift heavy weights, it can increase the risk of injury. Once your muscles tire out, you will likely have bad coordination and your stabilizing muscles will be weakened.


A light stretch and a 5-minute run are fine, but anything more intense than that can greatly affect your strength training outcomes. This, however, doesn’t mean you should skip out on running altogether. Running or any form of cardio is essential for a healthy body. So it’s best to finish your workout before you move on to cardio for the added health benefits.


#2 - Working Out After Running

On the other hand, if your main focus is on your stamina and you’re more into serious kinds of running, then you should try to run first. You are probably working out so that it enhances your aerobic capacity and improves your running performance. Not to tire you out and cause detrimental effects to your running.


Running beforehand improves your endurance and stamina, and it is especially helpful if you are planning on taking part in more long-distance races or running marathons. You can get the important part of your routine out of the way, and use the rest of your energy for some added resistance training.


If you work out first, then chances are your glycogen stores will be depleted, as mentioned before. And if your main focus isn’t losing that extra body fat, this can mean you’ll have much too little energy to tie up your shoelaces and head out for a run. This is why it’s best to get it out when you are energized and excited.


#3 - Mixing Both Approaches

These are very specific goals, and you might not fit into either of the previous two categories. Maybe you just want to stay fit and you like running. If that’s the case then there is no hard and fast rule for you. It all comes down to preference.


You don’t even have to stick to either one. You can mix and match and spice up your workout routine. The important part about working out is that you are consistent with it. As long as you consistently get both strength and cardio into your schedule here and there, then it should be fine.


Maybe focus on running one month, and then change it up and work out first the next month. See which one your body likes better. Also, keep in mind which of these two activities you enjoy more. Chances are if you like running first and you’re done with it, you might not end up working out at all.


So, do the hard part first, then move on to the fun activity as a prize. If you have a personal trainer, you can also ask them and take their opinion into account. The best advice is to just listen to your gut. With time you will be able to feel in your day-to-day life, which one works better for you.


Is It Safe To Run And Workout On The Same Day?

Yes, it is perfectly fine for you to run and work out on the same day. You might have heard warnings against doing cardio and strength training on the same day as they might limit the results. However, there is no science to back this up. You can do both on the same day without one affecting the other.


Swedish study was done in which the effects of stationary biking and leg extensions were observed; i.e. the effect of strength training vs a combined aerobic and resistance workout. The study found even after doing both cardio and strength training together, there is no difference in effect at the cellular level.


The researchers concluded that there was no “muscle interference” when aerobic and strength training is combined. This means you can do both on the same day if you want. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It depends on your goals and your body’s capacity.


Unless you’re training for a marathon or a specific role, you can pretty much do whatever you want and see what works best for you. However, try not to do intensive sessions for either back-to-back. Give your body sufficient time to rest in between.


When you do attempt to do both together, try to change up the intensity of each. Maybe pair an intensive strength training session with a light run or a more intensive running day with less emphasis on legs in a workout that day. Balance is key.


You can try a few workout sessions with running and working out on the same days. Then try out doing them on separate days and see which one you like better. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you what to do.

Is It Better to Run Before or After a Workout

Closing Thoughts

So, is it better to run before or after a workout? The answer remains tricky, but hopefully, now you know which one should work for you. Remember to always listen to your own body’s needs and design a workout routine that works for you. You don’t have to listen to every fitness enthusiast on the internet about what they think is best. Only you know what’s best for you!


Before deciding on running or working out first, you should determine your goals and plan you workout routine accordingly. Only then you’ll be able to reach your goals. Thanks for stopping by. I hope I was able to help you design your workout routine. And best of luck with your fitness goals.



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