How Can A Long Distance Runner Gain Muscle?

A conditioning specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science. His articles will help you!
Click HERE For The Main FAQ Page!
This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.

How Can A Long Distance Runner Gain Muscle?

I'm an 18 year old male. My current training is running 6 days a week and weight lifting. I am running 20 miles a week at the moment and plan to be running 60+ miles a week by the time I go back to college. I weight train everyday after I run. I am around 5'11" and weigh about 143, so my body fat is considerably low. My goals are primarly cosmetic when it comes to weight training. I just simply want my body to be more toned and cut up than what it is. I'm tired of being a skinny runner. I am wondering what kind of diet I should have and when I should run and when I should weight train during the day. Any help would be greatly apreciated.

The answer to your question is simple, yet you will probably not like it. As long as your endurance training is so great you will not be able to obtain a significant increase in muscle mass. I could give you the long drawn out science, however, I will simply point out the fact that you have never seen a well muscled long distance runner. This leaves you two options. The first is to significantly cut back your running and put forth more of a priority on strength training. The other, is to continue to struggle to put on muscle mass but to maintain your high level of endurance. This may be dictated upon the fact long distance running may be your competitive sport.

While you will not see huge gains in muscle mass with such high endurance training, you may see some through focusing on the larger lifts and muscle groups. Since your running will take a huge toll on your body I would recommend keeping the number of lifts in your workout to 3 - 4. It would also be wise to keep your repetitions in the range of 6-12. This would be simple, however, if you are also participating in cross country running then nonfunctional muscle mass will definately slow you down.

So, if you are a competitive runner looking for additional muscle mass I might suggest utilizing some of Charles Staley's principles of hypertrophy gains. You can adopt his Escalating Density Training principles to your own training. Try keeping your lifting to 3-4 days to also reduce your chances of overtraining.

Lastly, buying hundreds of dollars worth of supplements will not replace a good diet and smart training program. You have to make sure you are eating more calories than you expend with a special focus on protein. I would also highly suggest you take a large dosage of essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil. Based upon your bodyweight I might suggest something along 3-4 tablespoons a day. A great multi-vitamin/mineral complex is going to help keep you healthy. Glutamine is a great product to maintain a healthy immune system during a time of such high stress along with preventing you from losing some of that hard earned muscle mass.

Don't rely on supplements to replace your poor diet or lack of organization to your training program.

Click HERE For The Main FAQ Page!
This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.