Running in the Morning and Bike in the Afternoon

by Rob

I am currently trying to work-up to running a 5k but also lose weight. I run 3 times a week and bike 3 times a week. I want to increase that so I do cardio 2 times a day. Is this too much if I run in the morning and then do the bike in the afternoon?

Answer by Dominique:

running and cross training

Hi there,
Thank you for your question about combining running and bike riding.

In principle there is nothing stopping you from running in the morning and biking in the afternoon.

In the past, I have combined swims and runs on one day. I currently combine running in the morning with a weight lifting / strength training session in the afternoon twice a week, sometimes three times.

You may feel that your legs are a bit rubbery or like jelly in the second workout of the day! Clearly the second workout may suffer a bit from what you did the first workout of the day. Depends a lot on whether the first session is a quality (i.e. speed/hard) session on how long it goes for. You may expect some after effects.

But if you can combine the two you would reap some fitness and strength benefits from both.

However, what you do need to keep in mind are a few basics:

1. Increasing Your Mileage
2. The hard-easy principle
3. Losing weight - exercise AND diet

Increasing Your Mileage

When increasing the amount of exercise you do, increase it slowly, but steadily and listen to your body. When you are adding additional work to your training schedule, it is the time you are at higher risk of getting injured. So, do it slowly and if there are any niggles or issues, do not ignore them. Also check out the Increasing Mileage Safely page.

The Hard-Easy Principle

running and cross training

Make sure that you allow your body time to recover. Alternate between hard and easy days. Now hard and easy are relative measures. Easy may mean complete rest, but it could also mean an easy run, bike ride or some cross-training.

An example of what I do, to illustrate the point: Tuesdays I generally do a quality running workout in the morning. Could be intervals, could be tempos, depends on the stage of the training cycle and what I am training for. That's generally a pretty tough session that goes for 60-90 minutes. Then in the afternoon, I spend 30 minutes with my personal trainer who does not hold back on testing out my leg strength... :) So, Tuesday night I am spent. Tuesday is a hard day.

What you don't want to do is to follow that up on the Wednesday with a hard day again. What I generally do is do an easy run or sit on the exercise bike for a bit. Something that still gets the legs moving and the blood circulating, but at an easy pace, without pushing myself at all.

Also note that this generally works better than doing the quality running session on the Tuesday, followed by the strength workout and an easy run on the Wednesday. Then both days become hard. I am not saying it is impossible if this is the only way you can fit it in, but it would require careful scheduling on the Thursday and Friday to ensure adequate recovery. You always want to follow up hard work with rest / easy work.

Losing Weight - Exercise AND Diet

Losing weight is as much about exercise as it is about diet. Increasing the running and biking you do will help you burn more calories. However if you consume more as well due to the increased work load you are not likely to see any fitness gains. Eat healthily and modestly.

Calorie count for a while if you feel like it via a website / app like It will help you keep on track and you will become more conscious about what you eat and drink in a day. Also see the running and weight loss page where this topic is explored in more depth.

Hope that all makes sense. Best of luck with the preparations for your 5k race and your weight loss journey.

Kind regards,

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