photo by: Ryan Mcguire
Running and muscle gains do not go hand in hand according to most. Many think that you either weight train to put on mass or you run which increases endurance and makes the body lean. The thing is, there are people that love running but also want to put on muscle. Getting the best of both worlds is possible. The secret to doing so is paying close attention to your training routine and designating time each week (3 days a week to be exact) for weight training. Also see "Know your sweat rate" to learn what your sweat rate should be while running.
If you want to gain muscle while running, the first thing you want to do is take part in one long run every week (longer than your usual long distance run). Many claim that longer runs break down muscle when they can actually maximize gains. Running longer does this by causing the body to secrete more human growth hormone (HGH). When you take part in a longer running session, HGH levels increase dramatically. Not only do these levels soar but this increase is longer lasting compared to the boost experienced during weight training.
You also have to activate more muscle fibers when you run. Rather than doing the usual 5 miles, try an interval run or make runs more challenging by tackling a few hills. If you do, more muscle fibers will be recruited which will result in muscle gains. Sprinting up a hill challenges leg muscles way more than any machine at the gym. Intervals and hill sprinting also teach muscles to exert more force.
Aside from running, crossfit programs or weight training is just as important. Hit the weights 3 days a week to ensure that you achieve the mass you want. To get the most out of your 3 days of weight training you need to follow three rules which are:
1.) Do not run before weight training.
You need every ounce of energy to train hard.
2.) Take a day of rest after weight training.
Muscles need a day to recover in order to grow.
3.) Never run on the day after you weight train the legs.
Over-training will hinder your progress.
Lastly, but most importantly, you have to eat to gain muscle while continuing to run on a regular basis. Running burns a lot of calories and muscles need ample fuel to grow. To increase gains you must eat more and more often. Aside from frequency you have to eat the right foods which are slow digested (complex) carbs, protein and healthy fats. Six to seven meals a day along with healthy snacks in between meals is recommended.