Increase Run Time Without Losing Muscle Mass?

Anyone have any suggestions on how to structure a 2-3 day a week running program to improve a 2 mile run time without sacrificing too much muscle mass? I have to keep my run time down for ROTC.

Currently doing strongman 5/3/1 which is 3 days a week- upper, lower, & strongman events day (total body day).

I have to run 2-4 miles on Tuesday mornings for PT but other than that my schedule is flexible in regards on which days to put the workouts on. Also able to do two a days on any day other than events day (too exhausting to add a second workout that day) if yall think this could provide for better recovery by creating more off days.

If its just 2 miles and you’re pushing your top sets then you should lose minimal muscle if any. IF really worried get some Plazma or MAG-10 -will stop muscle loss dead. Leucine/Bcaas and karbolyn good if on a budget

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Do you think it would be better to run in the mornings the same days as lifting or on their own days?

If it was me I’d focus on 2-3 1.5 mile intervals ran at a slightly faster pace than whatever is your best 2 mile pace, ran every other day.

With regards when to run, running either after you’ve lifted or on a separate day should work plenty fine.

Improving your 2 mile run time requires multiple things:

  1. increasing your overall endurance (heart/lung/energy production)
  2. increasing your leg strength/flexibility/stride
  3. increasing your leg muscle endurance
  4. reducing body fat: the lighter you are the easier it is to run

If it were me (and it was 40 years ago, when I was in the Marines and ROTC and had to do a 3 mile run quarterly for time), I would add to your Tuesday moderate run, one weekly session of hill sprints, stadium stair running or some other type of HIIT/Tabita training, and one long endurance run (at least 6 miles, on a day you don’t do anything else and probably no leg work the following/prior day).

The following template is from Alex Viada, who is known for competing in powerlifting and ultramarathons. Do a google search for “So you want to run? Endurance Training for Strength Athletes, Part 2” for more detail. It’s based on the westside template, but I changed dynamic effort upper to repetition upper becasue I’m running westside for skinny bastards.

Day 1: ME upper, light recovery run (1-2 miles) or rowing ergometer
Day 2: rest
Day 3: ME lower, speed/interval work (4x800m, 4x1200 at target race pace + 10%)
Day 4: Short race pace run (1-1.5 miles)
Day 5: RE upper, running form drills
Day 6: DE lower
Day 7: long slow distance (2-5 miles)

Viada’s plan here doesn’t have enough volume for the two mile run. Heck the only two mile runs are the interval day, which is a whole lot of intervaling, and the long day. Drop the interval day or the short race pace run(that’s what I’d drop) and make it a five to six mile day. And drop the recovery run day. Seriously if you’re so wrecked that you can only run a mile or so then any running is just going to delay your recovery. Day 7 long day needs to be at least 5-6 miles.

You can actually do most of your aerobic work through cross training which has a much lighter impact on strength training and just run enough running to maintain the leg conditioning.

Are you suggesting that some of the running can be taken out in favor of elliptical/stationary bike/rowing ergometer for aerobic work and keep a couple running days to maintain leg conditioning?

In my case absolutely. I’ve done it from it from directions:I development a cardio base with the arc trainer and the elliptical (both set on the highest resistance and ROM) and then transitioned to running a few months before a PT test or event. And then I got my running to where I wanted it and maintained it all with a couple runs a week and crosstraining the rest.