T Nation

How to Balance Cross Country Running and Leg Mass?


As a rugby player and cross country runner (i know, awful combo), Been training for a few years now and have really made good gains. Took a nice break from any running after my last season of XC ended and I’ve packed on pounds of mass, and I have a sweet spot for high intensity squats and leg training. Cross country is now starting back up, and my squat is looking nice and I’m really growing in my lower body. Im really worried about the consequences of running around 30 miles a week on my leg mass, and was wondering if anyone had nutritional tips or training tips to help me minimize muscle burN and catabolism on runs and still either make gains or maintain the gains I have. I’d hate to Lose what I’ve worked for, as I was barely 100 pounds two and a half years ago, and now sitting at 147lbs and squatting mid 300s, pulling 405. Not the strongest guy, but I’ve put sweat into my training and lifestyle to make these gains. Any tips on keepin the legs growing would be nice. Currently eating lots of protein and fats and some carbs in the morning. Lifting evenings and running mornings. Any tips would be much appreciated.


the answer is ‘eat and lift’. so basically you’re on the right track.

what are your priorities? Do you feel like you value running, lifting, and rugby all equally, or is one more important than the other 2? How good do you want to be at any of these? The only problem that I can personally see is that by chasing these 3 goals, you won’t end up great at any of them. Or in other words, you will truly limit your potential lifting-wise if you keep running cross country. Unless you’re an absolute freak athlete, specialization becomes important at some point. That point will probably be when you stop seeing progress in either your running or in the gym.

You don’t necessarily need to answer these questions on here. They are just things to think about :slight_smile:


Appreciate it.


the most I can say is limit your distance runs. keep it to sprints. hill sprints are probably best. I spent an hour one day just doing hill sprints during a lunch break at work, my legs were huge from the pump they had. veins popping and all. but I agree completely with flip collar that your limiting yourself in the gym by keeping up the cross country.