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I Am A Skinny Runner. How Can I Gain Muscle?
I've always been into running and just recently finished my first year of cross country. Body fat has never really been a problem of mine. I'm about 5'9" and 115 pounds. Is there a way for me to bulk up and gain muscle mass without losing my running abilities? And is it possible without supplements too? If you have any info on this it would help me a lot.
My first question is why do you want to gain mass? Are you interested in gaining some size because you expect that you will perform better during meets, or is it more for cosmetic reasons? This is important to differentiate.
The problem you will face is that it is hard to gain significant size while being involved in such an endurance type activity. The body is often in a catabolic (breaking down) state and will not hold onto muscle tissue very well. This is easy to see when you examine the physical differences of a sprinter and long distance runner.
What might be wise however, is to take the early part of your off-season to work on power, strength, and speed development. It is very common for many endurance athletes to only focus on their endurance. They completely neglect other components of their performance. World renown sprinting coach, Charlie Francis, has a tremendous book on the organization of speed training. This information can be helpful for any athlete, but is more suited towards those that are more competative runners.
The key in the end is very simple. Decrease your amount of endurance training for a short time. Work more on sprint work along with appropriate sports training in the weight room. Of course, the other essential is that you eat plenty of food! I have listed in previous Q & As types of foods that are very helpful for gaining weight.