When you first start running and are eager to improve your times, you may be tempted to do too much too soon. This can lead to overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, shin splints, and Achilles tendinitis, as your body isn’t used to the strain of running long distances.
It can also lead to larger, bulkier legs as your muscles adapt to the new activity level. But how do you run without getting bulky legs?
Start slowly and gradually increase your mileage and speed to avoid these problems. Make sure you’re cross-training with other activities, such as swimming or biking, to give your legs a break from the repetitive motion of running. This will help to build up the muscles in your legs without the impact of running, which can prevent injuries. Focus on quality over quantity when running, and don’t forget to stretch! Stretching before and after running will help keep your muscles long and lean.
This post is all about preventing and combating bulky legs when running. I’ll give you some tips on how to start running without getting bulky legs and how to keep your legs from getting too big if you’re already a runner.
Ways To Run Without Getting Bulky Legs
1. Start slowly and gradually increase as you get used to running
When you’re new to running, or coming back after a layoff, starting slowly and gradually increasing your mileage goes a long way.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with three runs per week and not five runs, as many new runners do. Mix it up by running on multiple days of the week so that your legs get the adequate recovery they need between workouts.
To start running without getting bulky legs, try adding an extra rep or two to your run each workout so that you’re still working out but not increasing the force of your foot striking the ground too much.
2. Wear the right shoes for your feet and for the type of running you’re doing
If you’re running long distances, you’ll want to invest in a good pair of shoes designed for distance running. On the other hand, if you’re only running for short distances or sprinting, you can get away with a less expensive pair of shoes.
It’s also important to ensure that the shoes you choose fit well and are comfortable. The last thing you want is to be running in shoes that are too small or too big, as this can lead to blisters, black toenails, and other problems.
3. Pick a route that is interesting and has a varied terrain
Running can be pretty boring if you’re running the same route daily. Mix up your routes and include some variety in the terrain to keep your runs interesting.
This will not only help you avoid getting bored, but it will also help you work for different muscle groups and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
When picking a route, make sure to avoid routes that are too hilly or have too much concrete, as this can put unnecessary stress on your joints.
4. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it
Above everything else, be sure to listen to your body. If running every day makes you tired, give yourself one or two days of rest per week.
Sore feet, legs, and hips also indicate that you might be overdoing it and need to take a few days off. It may be tempting to push yourself too hard and increase your mileage too quickly to see faster results, but pushing too hard is usually why runners get bulky legs.
Generally, running three or four times per week is best, with each run no longer than 30 minutes.
5. Interval training can help you run faster and longer
Interval training can be great if you want to improve your running speed and endurance. Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity running with periods of low-intensity running or rest.
This type of training is an excellent way to improve your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise) and can help you run faster and longer.
Ways To Get Rid Of Bulky Legs
1. Warm up and cool down properly
Warming up and cooling down will not only help you avoid bulky legs, but it will also help you avoid any injuries caused by insufficient warm-up or cool-down.
This allows your body to get ready for intense activity by warming up your muscles and joints. A proper cool-down allows your body to recover after an intense activity, which is especially important if you’re new to running.
2. Decrease your mileage
Reducing your mileage is a great way to prevent bulky legs. When you’re just starting, it’s easy to get caught up in the “more is better” mentality.
But when it comes to running, more is not always better. Too much mileage can lead to overuse injuries, which can sideline you for weeks or even months.
3. Incorporate strength training
Strength training involves exercises that challenge your muscles to work harder than they’re used to. It includes simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, as well as more advanced exercises like pull-ups and weighted squats.
You can do strength-training exercises with your body weight, free weights, resistance bands, or weighted objects like medicine balls.
Strength training not only helps you avoid bulky legs, but it also helps improve your running economy and prevent injuries.
4. Be mindful of your diet
What you eat plays a significant role in whether or not you’ll develop bulky legs. Eating too many calories, especially from unhealthy junk food, makes you more likely to store that excess energy as fat.
On the other hand, if you’re eating a healthy diet and providing your body with the nutrients it needs, you’re less likely to store excess energy as fat.
So be mindful of your diet and ensure you’re eating healthy foods to help you reach your running goals.
5. Get enough rest and recovery
Rest and recovery are important for all runners, but they’re significant if you try to avoid bulky legs. When you run, your muscles go through a lot of wear and tear.
If you don’t give your body enough time to recover, your muscles will start to break down, leading to bulky legs.
6. Engage in a cardio workout
Cardio workouts are a great way to prevent bulky legs. Cardio activities like running, swimming, and cycling help in burn calories and promote weight loss. They also help improve cardiovascular fitness and decrease your risk of heart disease.