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My first love is running, but as it has started to get really cold over here in england, iv decided to join a gym to keep myself fit for the winter months. So iv been alternating daily with 50min treadmill runs and 20min treadmill runs with upper body weights.

I was wondering is there any point to this?.......will my airobic activity not be burning up the muscle i am gaining? And if there is any extra muscle will it effect my runnning form? bearing im mind im only to the wieghts for vanity reasons for abit of toning, not msucle mass.

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You're doing good. You will not "lose your muscle" by keeping the cardio. I would think the strength training will actually help a little if anything. If I wasn't so lazy, I would provide some links for you. But Runner's World usually has a few blurbs on the subject.

Edit: Here's a good primer on the subject from Active.

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It is always a good idea to work out all your muscle groups. I have finally gotten back into doing some upper body work this fall. The different workout will help to burn some calories and, at least for me, reduce problems with cramps in my arms and neck during my long runs.
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I'm certainly no expert on running or working with weights, but I would think that only the most elite athletes would really need to worry about whether one would compromise the other. I think even if you did gain a noticeable amount of muscle mass, it wouldn't compromise your form to any significant degree.

My view probably contradicts most runners' on this subject, but here goes. IMO, the whole "toning up" thing that so many runners seem to advocate is not a very smart, or practical way to train. The specific approach I'm talking about is the "high reps, low weight" approach. While this should be done to a certain degree (although done a bit differently than the way most people approach it), it shouldn't be the main part of the workout.

Here's where I'm coming from. "Toned" muscles are muscles that are slightly tensed in their normal, relaxed state. They appear more toned because their relaxed state is slightly more tensed than your average couch potato. Tension is the key there. Muscle tone equals muscle tension. The more tension you can apply, the stronger you are. So muscle tone = muscle tension = muscle strength.

High reps, low weight won't make you stronger. It will simply make you able to move the same amount of weight more times, increasing your endurance. Now, I understand, we're runners, and endurance is a good thing for most of us (to a much less degree for sprinters and such). But let our legs worry about endurance. Your arms don't have to endure much during a long race compared to your legs. So in order to have more toned muscles, you have to do exercises aimed at increasing strength. Maybe this is a better explanation. It's an excerpt from Pavel Tsatsouline's "Power to the People":

Rigor Mortis, or Why High Reps Failed to Tone You Up

You have tried high reps. You went for the 'burn'. It did not work. Why do you insist on doing the same thing and expect a different outcome?

The 'burn' you feel from high reps is from lactic acid buildup and does absolutely nothing for toning up your muscles. Pick up a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records and look up the picture of 'Captain America' who holds the world record in the number of consecutive sit-ups -- in the ballpark of 25,000! This dude must have 'felt the burn' more than anyone else on this planet and he does not even have a six-pack to show for it, even at his low level of body fat.

The reason you feel hard during and after the 'burn' is the same reason a corpse is stiff. Your muscle fibers are like mouse traps--they go off by themselves, but need energy to be reset to contract again. A dead body is out of ATP, the energy compound that relaxes the muscles. A 'stiff's' muscles are permanently contracted. A high rep workout exhausts ATP in your muscle and leads to a temporary hardness very similar to the more permanent rigor mortis! The only way to make such 'tone' last is by killing yourself.

Then what is real muscle tone and how do you get it? Flex your biceps the way kids do when they show off. Wow, the little ball is just rippling under the skin! If you just could walk around flexed like this... you would also develop a taste for canary yellow striped tights and tank tops three sizes too small for you and become a bodybuilder!

If you do not feel like walking around all say feeling and looking constipated, you could just train your nervous system to keep your muscles half flexed when you are relaxed. After all, this is what muscle tonis is--residual tension in a relaxed muscle! The kind of tension that comes from neurological activity, and not energy exhaustion.

Increased muscle tone is not a physical transformation of your muscle. It is the result of the nervous system being more alert. It keeps the muscles partially contracted all the time so you are more ready for wrestling bears, crushing rocks in a labor camp in Siberia, and doing other useful things for the glory of the Party and the People. When a Russian paratrooper is braced for a kick in the gut from his drill sergeant, he has got the tone!

Strength = tension = tone. It is that simple. Provided you gain strength learning to generate tension, rather than by building muscle, generally the stronger you are, the harder you will be! Strength and tone training is the same thing.

Pavel Tsatsouline is a Russian strength training guru (this explains some of the humor). I subscribe to his way of thinking about weigth training, because I have seen his concepts work tremendously for me. You're not going to add a lot of extra muscle weight just because you're using high weight. It takes a specific type of training to bulk up, and definitely takes a diet extremely high in protein and fairly low in carbs (which is the opposite of what you should be eating as a runner). So you won't bulk up on a really hard strength training program.

In "Power to the People" Pavel mainly focuses on using traditional weights with an Olympic/powerlifting approach. They're the hardest workout I've ever had (and this is really saying something, coming from a former national champion gymnast!), and they're absolutely amazing for your core muscles.
. If you're interested at all, "Power to the People" is the place to start, and "The Naked Warrior" is also great, and deals with some intense bodyweight exercises like one arm pushups and one leg squats (good to know how to do when you're on a trip or don't have access to weights). Of course, he shows you how to work your way up to the very difficult moves, and then how to make them even harder once you're there. Both of these books go into his training philosophy a great deal.

Anyway...I don't get any money from Pavel, DragonDoor (his company) or Everything Track and Field, I just thought I'd share my (somewhat lengthy) opinion on the subject.
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I'm not a believer in the high reps low weights approach to toning either. I like to recommend a middle weight and a mid set of reps too for toning. But, don't neglect the legs in the weight room either. Squats, lunges, leg extensions and calf raises are key to keepiing the muscles balanced therefore reducing the risk of injuries. :twocents:
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Take a look at Alan Webb - the guy definitely spends some time in the weight room working his upper body and he is definitely an elite runner in the 1600. I'm a firm believer in weight training and work my upper body 3 days a week. Two days are heavy weights at 6 reps with the middle day being lower weights at 8-10 reps. It works for me.
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Good post cyclops. Thanks for sharing.
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