Maintaining Muscle with Running

How in the world do I do it? Shouldn't I have a pancake booty and completely non existent shape by this point? Runners are always stick thin right? They can't have muscle! 

Well, I beg to differ. I feel as if overtime a picture of a runner is shown, it's someone who only runs and does like ultras and is vegan. The epitome of a runner. They then proceed to show you a picture of a sprinter or a bodybuilder or someone who works SOLELY those muscle fibers. Here's an example: 

Muscles are in style right now. They are trendy right? Okay maybe not but kinda with the surge of the infamous instagram fitfam but everyone looks at this and thinks "Ew, I'm not running anymore. No no no" 

Okay, hold your horses. Let's begin. Today's lesson is going to be quite short. I wish I had time this week to do a full in depth post on this, but time constraints have me this week. I'll re-visit this very soon though. First, as I stated, sprinters are most likely weight lifting and runners are most likely not. People train for their sports so it's really obnoxious to see pictures such as these. 

I want to start this by saying that maintaining muscle mass while running is really not all that hard. If you are wanting to lose fat, steady state cardio is not always the A plus way to go. If you are losing weight while running long distance, you will most likely lose some muscle mass. This is not to say that you shouldn't run if you want weight loss because at the end of the day, refer back to yesterdays post of WHY I run.

The biggest most important thing for you to do is RECOVERY. How do you recover? You structure your workouts accordingly and you .... EAT. Eating is always fun but it's crucial for this. This is the only way to fully make up for the glycogen stores that are lost after your runs. If you work with me, you know that I will encourage 50g of carb per hour extra on top of normal macros for long runs. I make sure to always have a carb heavy meal after my runs. This is crucial to not depleting muscle.

For recovery, I also take BCAA's. Tanner takes them before and after. I have this really weird aversion to supplements (probably a little too hard headed about it) but I don't like it. I only take them after but if you are not weird like me, then the studies have shown that it's best before and after. 

Also to recover, I have to be intentional with my workouts. I can't blast my leg day and expect to be able to perform later. This is something that I really had to get used to. I went into the gym every single session to wake up the next day with my entire body hurting. However, when I'm trying to do long distance runs, I can't do that. LESS IS MORE. 

You have to be specific. This is an example of what a week would look like: 

Sunday-Long Run 

Monday-elliptical recovery (15 minutes), Shoulders/Chest

  • Sometimes I don't even do the elliptical but if I'm sore and want to keep fluid muscles, I'll do this. With living in Manhattan, I feel I get enough recovery type work on my legs just walking around.

Tuesday-Leg Day 

  • I prefer to do my leg day earlier in the week. My goal with my training is not to become too sore but lift with intentions each week to increase lifts and get stronger. If I do become sore, then I have almost an entire week to recover before long runs on Sundays (I go to church at night-I felt I needed to let you know that LOL).

Wednesday-Intervals/Back/Abs (all running done on treadmill)

  • I don't want to be changing going from the gym to outside running and it's much easier to do interval type work on the treadmill. This is NOT sprints. You do not want to sprint as this is just energy you don't need to expend. If you are doing a leg day, you are getting stronger for running faster.

Thursday-Mid Week Longer Run

  • Alex Viada would be mad at me for this run. It's "junk miles" as he would call them. These are miles that have no intention but to run them however I have found that this works for me. I have noticed that I need them for mental more than anything to be able to trust myself that I can in fact run longer than 5 miles.  

Friday-Tempo Run/Bis/Tris (tends to be my longest day)

  • I know that for some, this may seem like too much. This ends up being at least a 1.5 hour workout. I know that for time constraints, this may not be feasible for some. However, I really want to be a well known athlete, and I have practiced soccer or cheerleading almost every day of my life for 2+ hours per day so 1.5 hours in a workout is nothing. I do however try to keep most workouts to 1 hour.


  • I'm learning every week how important it is to rest especially with how hard I push my workouts during the week.

As you can see, this is 4 days of running per week. 4 days of lifting. There are many different combinations that you can do but this is just one split that I've fallen into recently that I love. 

The biggest key is eating to recover. Your body is not just going to melt away that you have built. You just have to be specific. Don't do workouts that you don't need. The times I perform the absolute worst are when I go skiing or when I go to a concert the night before. It's not rocket science. I'm just over utilizing and when you are already putting so much into your training, you've got to be particular. 

This just touches the surface, but I thought this would help explain a little of how I structure things. 

With love and running with strength, 


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