Want to gain weight but increase distance....?

13 messages
03/09/2012 at 16:57

Hi, aftre a break of two years i'm returning to long distance running, steadily increasing my mileage to between 50 - 80 miles a week (2 x 6miles 5 days per week and a long - 15/20 miles at weekend) and eventually hoping to get into ultra's.


Trouble is - purely for vanity - I want to build some lean muscle mass in my arms, shoulders and chest. I currently have an ok build for long distance - just over ten stone and 5'7" - but really want to bulk up. I'm 31 and have been running since I was 20. I've completed marathons and do a lot of hill work and trail running but as mentioned really really want bigger arms chest and shoulders. Am I peeing in the wind? I've increased my calorie intake to around 3000-3500kcal a day and have noticed my weight increasing am am plannin on supplementing running with some resistance work in the gym and a couple of hours swimming a week. Advice would be hugelu appreciated!!

03/09/2012 at 17:01

lift weights. simple as.

03/09/2012 at 17:33

Do body weight exercises - push ups, pull ups, burpees.. Toning & core work all in one; it will supplement your other training. Work on intensity rather than duration for best effect. And no boring gym required!

04/09/2012 at 08:49

Swimming will definitely help too though...

I had zero upper body muscle when all I did was run....now I have very muscly shoulders and arms (although i do swim about 5 - 6 hours a week)

04/09/2012 at 08:57

Cheers for the replies, seems it's simply a case of the obvious - crack on with the upper body excercise and running.

I am concerned about maintaining the calorie intake I'll need though, i've a quick metabolism and never had a huge appetite, so i'm eating 5-6 smaller meals as per much of the advice i've read and included high calorie foods such as nuts and pulses and dairy. Playing havoc with my guts though

04/09/2012 at 09:09

if you want to build muscle bulk you're best off using protein rich food rather than high calorific food.   this can come in the form of protein shakes and meats (or if you're a veggie, nuts, pulses, soya etc) to replace some of the carbs you're taking in.  getting the balance right with aerobic exercise can be tricky so you might be better off supplementing your normal diet with some protein drinks/shakes - the kind you see many meatheads drinking in the gym.

or you could go the whole way and use anabolic steroids...

04/09/2012 at 09:31

Cheers, i've got it in my head though that the body can only 'process' X amount of protein in an hour and anything else is excreted. Is it the case that as I put more demand on my muscle to grow it will require more and this X amount will increase? Sorry if i sound numb...

04/09/2012 at 09:45

it's a gradual thing.  sure you'll excrete more than the body can take up at any one time and the optimum time to take protein and carbs on board is when they are depleted after a good training session as you tend to lay down more then.  they key is not to overload but replace.  and it's not as if you are going to go from a skinny whippet to a bulked up meathead in a few weeks - it's going to be a gradual thing.

04/09/2012 at 09:56

Surely Karl with aspiration to compete as a runner (particularly ultra’s) you don’t just want to get bigger?

 Any weight you carry that doesn’t help you in terms of speed or form, will slow you down – VO2 is measured in litres per kilogram per minute – KG go up relative speed at the same effort decreases…

 I would assume that you actually want to be more “athletic” and this is a very worthwhile objective as an endurance athlete. Too many runners a good at running in a straight line, but inevitably over time due to lack of athleticism and strength, break down and get injured. There is nothing better than getting stronger and athletic AND remaining an endurance animal….

Now the bad news – to do this is very difficult because to become an athlete and retain our endurance and specific fitness, we need to be competitive we need to almost double the training. At the moment you are doing 50-80 miles a week, which is a good mileage for a distance runner, particularly the upper end (say 8-10 hours a week). So to get strong and athletic requires another 3-4 hours at least particularly if you are going to include swimming – which as mentioned above is one of the best sports to build an athletic body (just go to any swimming club and check out the superb physiques of the top swimmers). With swimming and all the other stuff I probably do more than double the number of hours than my running/cycling base.

In my opinion the things that have worked for me are swimming, Concept 2 rowing (brilliant all round for both interval and longer endurance stuff), circuits (I do two sessions a week), upper body weights, lower body weights, plyometrics, balance work, skipping including core. I know this sounds like a lot but believe me if you are serious about being a decent runner and an athlete with a great body which is well defined, ripped and one you would be proud to display on the beach in your speedo’s this is necessary.

However, if you just want bulging muscles like the gym monkeys but no ability to run a decent race then hit the weight room and drink lots of protein shakes.

PS Protein shakes are actually quite useful and helps us to shed fat and get ripped. BTW 3-3,500 cals is not really enough for 80 miles a week. In general, I believe in cutting carbs and increasing fat and protein… Supplement with super foods such as milk and eggs.

Cheers Nick

04/09/2012 at 11:27

Cheers for the replies, seems it's simply a case of the obvious - crack on with the upper body excercise and running.

I am concerned about maintaining the calorie intake I'll need though, i've a quick metabolism and never had a huge appetite, so i'm eating 5-6 smaller meals as per much of the advice i've read and included high calorie foods such as nuts and pulses and dairy. Playing havoc with my guts though

04/09/2012 at 11:40

Sorry don't know how the above post was repeated??

Thanks again for the advice, particularly the nutrional advice as this is something i'm hearing so much conflicting information about. I've been reluctant to suppliment diet with shakes, preferring to take it on in food alone, but i'm now giving serious consideration to adding it to my diet.

I'm not too sure about 'Competing' if I ever attain the endurance levels needed for ultra's, i'm firmly in the 'fun-runner' category and just finishing would make me a very happy man - but then I guess that's a pretty bad attitude to start out with?

Cheers for the advice too Nick, how do you find the time to do all this, and eat, work and spend time with partner/family?? I'm completely serious about this and am prepared to make sacrifices but with only 24 hours in a day, how is it possible?

Thanks again, all information is massively appreciated!



04/09/2012 at 14:24

Oh - you want a life, relationships, family do you - oh well then forget it!


Seriously it is bloody tough and to follow this path you have to be super motivated and super determined - because there will always be something more important or more urgent that others (and even yourself) will think you should prioritise!

I assumed that anyone doing 80 miles a week would be serious about competition - if you seriously just want to do it for fun, then drop some of the running for the other stuff a 50/50 or 60/40 in training time split favouring your running will bring great benefits... What I would be wary of though is carrying on doing your running and expecting one or two weights sessions a week to radically change your physique!

For most people getting ripped is actually 80% to do with what they do in the kitchen as they just have too much body fat to show any muscles that might be there. But for you, with low weight and body fat already, you have to gain muscle mass while keeping body fat low - do you happen to know what your BF % is?

In terms of time I exercise early getting into the gym for an hour before work then try to get in again at lunchtime. And I will swim or do circuits a couple of evenings a week. Weekends is for volume long runs, rides and swimming. I actually commute 4 hours a day also so it is extra challenging getting this done. In the end it is all about compromise – it is impossible to do 10+ hours training a week and not impact other areas of your life. Good luck….

04/09/2012 at 15:31

I'm prepared for the sacrifices, just want to ensure that i'm making the most effective use of time and training. Cheers for all the info. My BF% (worked out using an online tool, last pinch test was ages ago) is 12.26%, so I don't tend to hold fat either, a blessing I guess.

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