I’ve been training for my first half-marathon; running a lot of long distance lately. I’ve found it difficult to maintain muscle mass in my arms and chest, due to all of the calories I’m burning while running; I have a high(ish) metabolism as it is.

I had been attending crossfit classes 2 or 3 times per week, but have dropped that to once per week, in order to make room for running.

Any quick/easy methods of building (and maintaining) muscle mass during non-running days?

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    I think you'll find the answer in what you're eating to support the extended runs. Maintaining a simple log book of what you eat should show if your calories are sufficient to support your training.
    – rrirower
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


A lot depends on what you mean by "training" for your half marathon. Are you just trying to finish it, are you looking to get under 1:30, are you trying to qualify for a higher level race? Those are big differences in training intensity.

The best I've found is going into running mode with a decent amount of mass, and then making sure you're lifting heavy when you are. Aim for reps in the 3-5 range, compound. Those can be murder on your legs, so with squats and deads you need to pick between running and strength at half marathon distances.

Upper body stuff won't be as big of a deal. And although running can cause a lot of lower body (temporary) injuries, it normally leaves your upper body alone so that helps to cut down on possible overuse.

Running and lifting go fine together, but competitive distance running and competitive strength sports are akin to plane wings. One dips, the other rises.

  • Thanks for all of the info, Eric. With this being my first half-marathon (and my longest run to date), I'm really just trying to finish around 2 hours. I've been jogging for 6-or-7 miles at a 10-minute pace lately; nothing too impressive, but I'm new to running. Thanks again
    – WEFX
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:54

I agree with Eric. The biggest mistake you can make is to remove or lower your weights. Keep the intensity up and if necessary, lower the volume by a set or two. I would try and get three sessions in a week, but keep them short. No more than half an hour. Stick with compound movements.

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