T Nation

Gonna Run 26.2

hey everyone, first time posting on here. I’ve decided that im going to train for a marathon to run with my brother [Chicago this fall]. I know that this kind of running is bad for muscle retention and am trying to decide between training for strength during this period or more of a bodybuilder style lifting routine. I will be running 3 days and lifting 3 days. Not sure if one style of lifting may be easier to maintain/improve while doing considerable running. any thoughts?

I wouldn’t train for strength (train to improve your 1 rep max) and train for a marathon at the same time because you will end up getting nowhere.

I’m a lifelong “meathead” who decided to do a Marathon about 5 years ago. I treated my lifting the same way an “in season” athlete would. Meaning, just try to maintain whatever strength you can, and don’t do too much volume. I found that sets of 6 reps were as heavy as I ever felt like going, and usually did 8-12.

So to answer your question, I would NOT recommend going for strength. And also be sure to keep your volume fairly low since you will be doing so much time and work into running. I recommend you run more than 3 times per week. 4-5 will help you get your weekly mileage up much easier. When I was training for the Marathon, I lifted twice per week. One upper body day, one lower body day. Any more than that and i was shot.

Again, the name of the game here is trying to hold on to whatever you can and not about getting stronger or bigger. If you don’t adjust your workouts, there’s a good chance you will either burn out, or get injured.

if your first love is strength training/bodybuilding, i would make sure all my efforts and energy are used on that. what leftover energy you have, use that for your jogging/walking… if you are a non runner, which i imagine you are, you’ll be walking and very slow jogging as far as you can go in this marathon. the more effort you give one, the other will suffer. up to you…

Take an iPod. Four hours of jogging sounds boring

I’ve not run a full marathon before, but I did a half a couple of years ago. With all of the training you’ll do to run the marathon – assuming you want to run it and not walk it – I’d shoot for only a couple of lifting days a week, one upper, on lower. You should try and maintain as much strength as you possibly can, but I certainly wouldn’t expect prs of any sort. I think dropping strength work in favor of reps in the 8-12 range would be a mistake.

This sounds like what i was thinking, in terms of making my lifting goals being simply to maintain. As far as my actual training, eventhough i’m usually only running 3 days a week those are going to be at a pace significantly faster than what i will plan to run at, will also be doing cardio of some kind after lifting on 2-3 days also. I did spend a good amount of time researching various training programs and am pretty satisfied with the plan i’ve picked.

Two other questions now, 1) how did you guys’ legs respond with lifting them then running (the next day?)? What kind of post running nutrition worked best for you, i’ve got my post lifting nutrition down, but im thinking i will probably want something different than chicken and a protein shake.

Again, thanks for all the input, i’ve done some reading but it is nice to hear from people that arent necessarily “natural runners”.

[quote]Ohio Islander wrote:
hey everyone, first time posting on here. I’ve decided that im going to train for a marathon to run with my brother [Chicago this fall]. I know that this kind of running is bad for muscle retention and am trying to decide between training for strength during this period or more of a bodybuilder style lifting routine. I will be running 3 days and lifting 3 days. Not sure if one style of lifting may be easier to maintain/improve while doing considerable running. any thoughts?[/quote]

I was a middle distance runner in high school and college. I found the best lifting workouts to be 3x a week fullbody. Focus on heavy, compound movements. I only did legs twice a week, but I was doing a lot more running than that. I think you are going to struggle with a marathon on 3 days a week running. Certainly need to make one of those a long run. The other two days should be legitimate workouts: threshold runs, intervals. You need to make each of those three days quality. No room for junk mileage.

[quote]Ohio Islander wrote:
This sounds like what i was thinking, in terms of making my lifting goals being simply to maintain. As far as my actual training, eventhough i’m usually only running 3 days a week those are going to be at a pace significantly faster than what i will plan to run at, will also be doing cardio of some kind after lifting on 2-3 days also. I did spend a good amount of time researching various training programs and am pretty satisfied with the plan i’ve picked.

Two other questions now, 1) how did you guys’ legs respond with lifting them then running (the next day?)? What kind of post running nutrition worked best for you, i’ve got my post lifting nutrition down, but im thinking i will probably want something different than chicken and a protein shake.

Again, thanks for all the input, i’ve done some reading but it is nice to hear from people that arent necessarily “natural runners”.[/quote]

Ah, didn’t see this post on plan. Your legs will hurt running the next day after a good leg workout, but it is doable.

Agree on the needing more than 3 running days per week. The best way to describe running a Marathon is that Running becomes “your Sport”. If you want to be good at a Sport, you don’t practice it 3x per week. But again, that’s my take; I wanted to break 4 hours and so I felt I needed to focus on my running a bit more.

But if you have a program that shows you how to accomplish it on a 3x/week schedule, then follow it. As for post-run nutrition, I found that wasn’t as important as “during running” nutrition. This was a new thing for me, since I never consume carbs during my weightlifting workouts. But when you are running for anything longer than an hour, YOU NEED TO CONSUME SOMETHING!

I learned this the hard way, and got injured on a 13 mile run that I attempted without the aid of gels. And if you are fairly muscular, you will tend to deplete your muscles way faster than a “traditional runner” whose body has adapted to distance running. A good rule of thumb is to consume one gel (they usually have 30 grams of carbs) for every 3-4 miles you are running.

And obviously, water and other drinks during these runs are recommended in addition to the gels. The important thing is to NOT be scared of carbs while training. You need them to prevent depletion. If you listen to nothing else I say, please respect the need for gels DURING long runs!!! Haha! For post-runs, I’d recommend more carbs and protein, similar to what you’d do after a lifting workout if you were trying to gain weight (i.e 40 grams of whey, 60-100 grams of carbs)…Again, this is for longer runs, above 10 miles. For the shorter stuff you can cut those carbs in half.

First we need info, is it the first for your brother?
Expected time, 4.5 hours, 4, 3.5 ?
You might call that jogging.
2 sets of push-ups plus 2 sets of vertical pulls daily might be a good idea.
The last 3 months i would focus on upper body, and focus on legs after.

I’ll second the advice regarding gels. I relied heavily on those when I ran and trained for the half marathon I did. Being a bigger guy (245#), I needed a lot. If you can make it work, I’d also try to see about eating a bar or something else more solid than gels. I got really sick of their consistency, but couldn’t manage a bar while running.

I trained legs and then ran the day after quite frequently. I just made sure I wasn’t putting an interval workout or another hard run after my leg day. It worked fine, thought I’m sure it cut into my recovery from lifting some. Still better than putting it the day before a lower body session in my opinion.

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
I was a middle distance runner in high school and college. I found the best lifting workouts to be 3x a week fullbody. Focus on heavy, compound movements. I only did legs twice a week, but I was doing a lot more running than that. I think you are going to struggle with a marathon on 3 days a week running. Certainly need to make one of those a long run. The other two days should be legitimate workouts: threshold runs, intervals. You need to make each of those three days quality. No room for junk mileage. [/quote]

They will definitely be quality workouts, typically one speed, one interval/intermediate distance and then one long run. I will have two other days that i get in some kind of cardio work, be it biking or something else. I find it easier to get pumped for each run when i only have 3 since it reinforces the importance of each one.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Agree on the needing more than 3 running days per week. The best way to describe running a Marathon is that Running becomes “your Sport”. If you want to be good at a Sport, you don’t practice it 3x per week. But again, that’s my take; I wanted to break 4 hours and so I felt I needed to focus on my running a bit more.

But if you have a program that shows you how to accomplish it on a 3x/week schedule, then follow it. As for post-run nutrition, I found that wasn’t as important as “during running” nutrition. This was a new thing for me, since I never consume carbs during my weightlifting workouts. But when you are running for anything longer than an hour, YOU NEED TO CONSUME SOMETHING!

I learned this the hard way, and got injured on a 13 mile run that I attempted without the aid of gels. And if you are fairly muscular, you will tend to deplete your muscles way faster than a “traditional runner” whose body has adapted to distance running. A good rule of thumb is to consume one gel (they usually have 30 grams of carbs) for every 3-4 miles you are running.

And obviously, water and other drinks during these runs are recommended in addition to the gels. The important thing is to NOT be scared of carbs while training. You need them to prevent depletion. If you listen to nothing else I say, please respect the need for gels DURING long runs!!! Haha! For post-runs, I’d recommend more carbs and protein, similar to what you’d do after a lifting workout if you were trying to gain weight (i.e 40 grams of whey, 60-100 grams of carbs)…Again, this is for longer runs, above 10 miles. For the shorter stuff you can cut those carbs in half.[/quote]

Thanks for that info about the gels! Most of the people i have talked to, including my brother have bodies that are well adapted to the distance game and they can eat a banana then go run 13 miles. I on the other hand have have to drag around 195lbs of muscle…well mostly muscle. I will make sure to stock of on gels for when the distances start to get longer. Im starting training well in advance in order to build up slower.

Yeah, that was the case with me, too. I was talking a lot with skinny runners who didn’t really need to consume anything when they ran. Then finally I talked with a more muscular runner who told me how he used gels every couple of miles, and it really changed everything for me on those long runs. Good luck with the training, and yes, slow and steady is the way to go. Slowly build up that mileage, don’t ever push yourself too hard on any particular run (always leave something in the tank; its NOT like lifting weights!) and you will accomplish your goal.

Hey I’ll give you some insight from my experience last year…

I decided to do something kind of crazy. March, April, May, June, July…I ran a marathon once a month. August was my last one; my foot started to hurt real bad and I stopped at the half point (when you get an extreme pain that didn’t happen the last five times that’s a warning sign…).

I still kept up with my strength training.

From December I started slowly preparing for the marathons since I hadn’t run in a long time. I was doing 5ks and sometimes 10ks a twice a week. In January I ran my first half-marathon on a whim. I had been doing 5-3-1 training twice a week ad running twice a week. I thought I had to lower or balance my training…

It didn’t seem to be working so from January I decided on what you have. Three days running three days lifting. Maybe depending on how I feel or what I just ran, 4 days lifting or two of running. I changed my training to be higher intensity and lower volume. That seemed to give me good progress.

I didn’t follow any programs, more opting for a “chaos and pain” style of listening to your body on rotating lifts around. Some things I found were:

-running is near impossible after a VERY taxing squat workout. Wait at least two days, three is optimal (heavy squat work out on Wednesday…wait till at least Friday, or even saturday to run)
-front squats could be done with moderate volume once or twice a week without impacting my runs very much. In fact they seemed to aid recovery.
-it is definitely better to have a squat day after a run day than vice versa (see #1 again)
-adhering to a rigid schedule and being inflexible may hinder you. You will have bad and good days. Quite literally, take the good days and run with them (two or three weeks before my first marathon I ran three hours for the first time ever. it was from 8pm-11pm after working and being on my feet all day. It also felt great. No idea why)

Lower your weights a bit and build back up slowly. Like others said it is difficult to do, I did not make great progress in either sport. I did however maintain my strength fairly well. I could still squat 2x BW on the fly at the end of this journey, despite having run marathons for the last half year. I believe it is because I balanced volume and intensity well.

And by the way…your body is a lot more capable than what you think. I still hit the gym the day after running marathons and always made a point to squat up to 80% for some singles.

[quote]02Thief wrote:
Take an iPod. Four hours of jogging sounds boring[/quote]

Oddly enough I find that if I do a longer run (I’ve done 4 half marathons) is that after a while you don’t feel like doing anything other than finish the race and by the time you’ve gone over 2 hours all the best, most motivational music has been used and doesn’t even work anyway…I mean I’ve settled into my ‘comfort’ speed that I know will take me to the end and no music or cheers from the crown can help if you know what I mean.

I find music helps for intervals though.

That’s me though.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Yeah, that was the case with me, too. I was talking a lot with skinny runners who didn’t really need to consume anything when they ran. Then finally I talked with a more muscular runner who told me how he used gels every couple of miles, and it really changed everything for me on those long runs. Good luck with the training, and yes, slow and steady is the way to go. Slowly build up that mileage, don’t ever push yourself too hard on any particular run (always leave something in the tank; its NOT like lifting weights!) and you will accomplish your goal.[/quote]

I’m 260 and at 6 feet I look like some drunk ox and yeah, I brought the gels. Also, though it seems like blashemy, I recommend walking for a minute every 15 minutes…it’ll extend the time you can run without feeling like a pile of shit.

I have done 2 half marathons and as a bigger guy (275 when I ran my last one) the gels were a must! Plus I would run 6 mins and walk 1 min thru the whole race until the last 2 miles. If you are not running for a specific time then the run/walk approach doesnt add a alot of time to your run and heavily aids in recovery. I finished my last half in 1:57, my goal was anything under 2 hrs.

I am going the opposite direction. I ran a bunch of marathons and couple 50 mile ultras and have since bulked up a little to add strength, cause I like squatting 2x bw. I am back to running training and have been continuing strength work to maintain. I find that high reps in the gym give me sluggish legs the next day more than medium high weight. So I have been feeling great with doing 5/3/1 but not really pushing for maxes. I tried some days of doing lower weights and sets of 8-15 and it really made me not want to run the next day.

Really work on running technique. You don’t squat with your knees forward because you know it will end you quick; the same goes for running. There is a lot to perfecting running technique and especially if you are heavier it will matter a lot. Your knees will give out, your ankles will turn, and you will waste a lot of energy slowing yourself down if you don’t have good form. I recommend “Power, Speed, Endurance by Brian MacKenzie.” Lean slightly forward, landing on ball of foot only slightly in front of you with slight heel kiss, picking up foot to lower calf height, and try to glide. Good form will make the miles wear very differently on your body. Also do most of your work as shorter speed work with a long run once a week building up to at least 2/3rds of goal distance 3 weeks out from competition.

Just my perspective.