I've got into running and I love it! but the size of my legs ( the muscles that is ) is reducing every month.

What can I do to increase the muscle mass and at the same time keep running.

I run about 12 miles per week.

2 Answers 2


You'll need to incorporate weight training and/or intervals in order to maintain (or increase) your muscle mass. A blog post titled "The Running Body Builder" offers some tips:

How To Be a Runner and a Bodybuilder

Here’s how you CAN be gaining lean muscle mass through weight training AND do medium to long-distance running:

  1. Eat. Eat lots. Eat often. Eat slow carbs (for example, oats) and lean proteins. If you are lifting weights 3-4 times a week and running 3-4 times a week, you need calories. But don’t go for sugary calories.

  2. Stagger your running distances on different days. For example, I run 3 times a week: 6 miles, then 8 miles, then 10 miles. Once in a while, my 10 miler goes to 13.1 (a half marathon).

  3. Pick one run to be an interval run. Why? This recruits more fast-twitch muscles, burns more fat, and increases your overall speed. For me, it’s usually my 8 miler. I turn this into an interval run as follows: first 5 minutes is steady state, then I alternate with roughly this sequence: sprint for about 1 minute at about 90% of my max speed, then slow to shuffle (about walking speed really) for 1 minute, then get back to regular pace for about 2 minutes. Repeat until you are done, but make sure your last minute is a full-on 100% sprint. You’ll be astonished how quickly you tire out!

  4. Never run on the day after your leg-training day for weights. You need a day to rest after maxing out on squats. If you don’t, your leg muscles are not going to grow.

  5. Never run before weights. You need maximum focus and strength to get the most out of your weight training sessions. If you don’t believe me, try it each way for one week and you’ll see what I mean!

  6. Weights, Refuel, Run. After your weight training session, take a 30 minute break or so and get some protein and good carbs before you run. But make your refueling light so you don’t upset your stomach.

  7. Watch our stretching. Don’t do too much static stretching beforehand. There is some mixed science on this issue, but I recommend you do dynamic stretches before your weight training, and before your running, but do static stretches on your off days or after your workouts.

  8. Pay really close attention to your body. If you notice the start of any injury, back off a bit. I personally suffered from plantar fasciitis several years ago because I tried to keep running for weeks after it started. By then much damage was done. Remember – you’re trying to do two things you love (weight training and running) while improving your health and physique. Don’t be bullheaded and think you are superhuman.

  9. Change your socks. Always change your socks before you start a run. Your feet will appreciate it!

In short, you should probably:

  • eat right (slow carbs and lean proteins)
  • add weight training to your exercise regimen
  • add interval training (to help build muscle mass)
  • schedule your weight training and running appropriately (weights before running, no running the day after lifting, etc.)
  • get plenty of rest

You need to sprint rather than run for endurance if you're trying to build muscle mass. Work on getting up to maximum speed as quickly as possible and sustaining it for up to 400 meters. A common sprint drill is to sprint 100M, walk 100M, sprint 200M, walk 200M, sprint 300M, walk 300M, sprint 400M, walk 400M and then start again.

Take this image of an Olympic sprinter:

enter image description here

Compare it to this picture of an Olympic distance runner:

enter image description here

  • +1 But I still want to run 5 - 8 miles in a session, can I have both? :)
    – OscarRyz
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 13:47
  • 1
    Well, if you do the sprint drill above 8 times you'll have run 5 miles and walked 5 miles. You'll also probably be in a crumbled heap on the track. ;-) I don't honestly know if introducing exercises like squats and leg presses for mass will help or hurt distance running.
    – Jacob G
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 15:53

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