Running can burn a lot of calories, get your heart rate up and keep you in shape. Some runners find it frustrating, however that they don’t really gain muscle from it and some other fitness gains aren’t to be had. Here are some suggestions:
You want to gain more lower-body muscle:
Run hills. Adding in hill training can work both the quads, hams and calves. It can start to bulk up the upper leg muscles in ways running on flat terrain can’t. Find a one-mile hill and run up and down it a couple of times a week. Not only will it make you faster, it’ll make you stronger.
If you find this cumbersome, add in one hiking workout per week. You don’t even have to run. You can simply walk fast and get a good workout. It’ll give you a break from running, but you’ll still see tremendous fitness gains.
You want to gain upper-body strength:
Running is mostly a lower body workout. You do swing your arms, but there isn’t any weight-bearing exercise involved. Instead, add in upper body movements. During your speed workout, which you should be doing once per week, before you rest between speed drills, do 15 push ups. You can even do push ups after a regular run. Do it right before you stretch. This is in addition to any weight training you do (if you do).
Do you have a dog and/or a small kid? You can also add in dog walking and stroller pushing to your runs. This works out your upper body.
You want to build more coordination:
If you want to start doing more trail running, it’s a good idea to develop some coordination skills. To mix up your workout and develop your coordination, taking tai chi, which is a form of slow, flowing movements, can help. It also helps to slow bone loss, which can keep you running for longer.