T Nation


I know I’m probably insane for doing it, but I’ve accepted a challenge to run the marathon this fall. Though unnecessary for the post, here’s my stats: 25yo, 6’4", 220lbs, ~10-12%

While training for it, I’m interested in keeping as much LBM as possible (I don’t think it will be too hard with how much I like to eat and train), but suggestions are welcome.

Now a question, what kind of leg training should I do to try to keep my leg strengh up, yet not kill myself? I haven’t seen any posts here on this topic, so this could be interesting.

BTW - if you’re wondering why I’m doing it, my slightly out of shape friend decided to and challenged me to do so by telling me I should replace my Testosterone shirt with an Estrogen one if I didn’t. Low blow, but I can’t back away from that. At least I should get cut up training for it.

CJ What I heard from top marathon runners the best way to train for a marathon is just to run… Take a look a some of Jeff Gallowoy’s (sp?) books and theory on running it intreasting…

I can’t help you one bit as far as training is concerned, but I thought I’d throw out my opinion nonetheless:

“my slightly out of shape friend decided to and challenged me to do so by telling me I should replace my Testosterone shirt with an Estrogen one if I didn’t.”

First of all, I’d suggest that you tell your ‘friend’ that he’s a tool… There’s a reason why you never see bodybuilders running marathons - THEY’RE CATABOLIC AS HELL! Secondly, I’d recommend going out and having an “E-Man” T-shirt custom made for your ‘out of shape friend’ and, while presenting it to him, inform him that while you’d love to burn away a few pounds of muscle by running a marathon, you’d much rather play a little Madden 2003 on your Playstation and then hit the gym for a constructive (as opposed to destructive) weight-training session. Then, give him a hearty pat on the back, and tell him to have fun with all of the other soccer moms…

“At least I should get cut up training for it.”

Yeah… that anorexic ‘cut up’ look is all the rage… Just ask Lance Armstrong. - And that’s WITH tons of drugs (and don’t you dare tell me Lance [or any other cyclist for that matter] is ‘clean’).

Marathons are not consistant with maintaining LBM.

I think your leg strength will also go to crap. Mine did when I took a 10k class, and that was obviously much less than a marathon.

It was basically impossible for me to keep my leg strength, although you can maintain the upper body.


Tell your out of shape friend to get in shape before telling you how to train. A REAL T-man does not do something he knows is not right for him just cuz other non-T beings dare him to.


klink, Lance Amstrong has to battle cancer also!!! Give him a break… To do what he is capable of doing is amazing even if he is on drugs maybe he’s not… How do u know?

To quote Charles Staley’s response to a recent inquiry in his newsletter: “You can’t ride two horses with one ass.”

Responses pretty much what I expected. I didn’t mean to come across as being forced into it, I also want to see if I can do it. And while its not the mest thing for being HUGE, its not necessarily the worst thing in the world I could do. If I started losing too much LBM, I could always slow it down a bit. I’m not too concerned about getting a decent time. I already know I can hit the weights hard and I want to prove (to myself) I can hit the running hard to.

As a side note, I have another friend who ran one last year and only lost about 5 pounds of LBM which he put back on in a month afterward… and he has a rocket metabolism.

Regardless, I might throw a post up every now and then let anyone interested know how my body comp is changing.

fitone: You’ll get no argument from me - Lance deserves serious respect regardless of his drug profile.

As far as his drug/supplement use is concerned: I certainly don’t claim to have any sort of ‘inside’ information regarding that. - However, I am one of those people who will tell you that virtually every physical sport (especially ones with money and/or glory involved) are bursting at the seams with drug-using athletes. - NOT that that’s a ‘bad’ thing, it’s just reality. You’re no rookie to T-Mag, so I’m sure you’ve already seen this:

but I’ve tossed the link in for those who may have missed it (and to support my position - by proxy if nothing else).

Well, looks like the way I’m thinking has already been expressed by the others on this post.

Just looking at the physique of a marathon runner should be enough to put you in touch with reality- they’re treading a very fine line between being the LIGHTEST and LEANEST BW they can be, whilst still having enough (slow twitch) LEG muscle mass to propel the torso through space quickly (upper body muscle not required at all).

I used to run a lot. Fitone’s right- the only way to train for running (distance) is to RUN.

The body adapts to the running training by improving aerobic capacity, and stimulating slow-twitch fibres. The fast twitch fibres are surplus to requirements, and as such provide unnecessary bodyweight which will hinder your performance. However, they provide a great energy source for the prolongued exertion periods, and soon, as you lose that large muscle mass, your distance times will start to really improve, with less bodyweight to support!

Is your friend doing this marathon too? I bet he’s already a distance runner isn’t he? Well, what does he look like? Is this compatible with a Testosterone physique??

If the run is now inevitable, and if you want to do WELL, start reading “Runner’s World” and working on increasing mileage weekly up to the big day(probably >70 miles/wk), whilst your body starts to morph into the necessary “look”:-).

(However, for me, I guess I would train and compete in a “minimal damage” mode- training as infrequently as possible to support completing the final day, and ensure I stepped up the calorie intake SUBSTANTIALLY, using short intense weight sessions to try to hold onto any of that muscle size.)

Sorry to hear of this inconvenience dude. Good luck. SRS

A few years back I did the Ny Marathon (great experience). I trained consistently for 3 months able was able to keep up some lifting for about 1/2 to 2/3rds of that time. However, due to the calorie burning nature of running so much (any where from a low of 15 miles per week to a high of 6o+ miles per week), I lost 20 pounds without trying. I was one skinny bastard.

In my opinion, if you are going to train for the marathon, follow one of the plans by Runners World or pick up the book The Complete Runners Handbook by Bob Glover (NYRRC trainer) and follow the guidelines. Try to maintain a minimum of two days per week lifting (who body, core lifts first). Eat 1000 more calories than you need and do not be afraid to throw 5-10 grams of creatine, 5-10 grams of L-glutamine and a nice multi vitamin daily.

Good luck!

SRS - I meant leg training in addition to running to try to keep some mass/strength, but I realize it probably wouldn’t be too easy to do both.

Like I said earlier though, I plan to complete it, not run it in 3 hours or anything like that. And to answer your question, my freind is possibly even less of a runner than I. Should be fun.

dkalman - You said you lifted 1/2 to 2/3 of the time you were training. Was that due to being to burned out to do any more, or just because you completely cut out leg workouts which were 1/3 - 1/2 of your workout?

I’m definitly doing it for the experience. And one thing I got going for me (I hope) is that, even though its hard as hell for me to put on additional muscle, I can easily can it back on if I lose it. Due to a knee injury, I wasn’t able to work my legs for 6mo. and lost decent size… once I started squats and DL again, I got it back in a month. Well, I can dream anyways…

Good luck with the challenge. I wish you all the best. It is a loftly goal but very attainable. But do the t-mag family a favor, when you’ve completed the marathon present your buddy with an ‘e-man’ t-shirt. Please i think he would appreciate the joke.

CJ. I meant that the first month or two I lifted 3 times a week or so, but the last six weeks prior to the marathon I simply could not lift. When I did, I hit legs once per week and worked on muscular endurance. High reps, moderate weight, little rest between sets (1-2 min).

what’s up CJ,
I’ve run 7 marathons, a 1/2 iron man and several other races and triathlons. you are going to lose lbm while training, it’s very difficult not to. I’m not as big as you, but at my lightest while training I was about 170…right now, 1/2 way through a mag 10 cycle I’m at 186. most of the time I was about 175, so I’m on the big side for a marathoner. I’ve lifted longer than I ran, so I was always focused on maintaining lbm while training. at the same time I was always trying to better my time(sub 3 hrs, 4 out of 7 times). tough to do both, but you can take steps to try to maintain your lbm. I would lift pretty much right up to the marathon, usuually stopping about a week before. if you incorporate some hill work into your program you’ll find that your legs may actually get a bit more pumped up(I live near some hills and would do hill repeats a couple times a week). in addition to 1 to 2 hill workouts per week, I focused heavily on plyometrics and light/deep squats with really high reps, sometimes as high as 20-30. these are the things I did to maintain leg mass…pretty much did the same thing with the rest of my body. as the race got closer I’d use lighter weights and explosive movements. you’ll be burning a boatload of calories, so remember to eat like a horse. always got lighter leading up to a race, but would usually gain back 5-7 lbs within a couple weeks of reduced running.

You are lucky. Thanks to Bio-Test you just might be able to hold on to a good amount of that LBM. Try doubling up on Methoxy-7. Pick a low milage routine and just go for a finish around four hours.
Best of Luck.


Take a look at Ed who founded Strend.

Do you think he has lost much LBM.

Well, if you think that finishing a marathon with bulk is challenging, how about that military guy who did the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon? He was pretty built, even when they showed him finishing the race (and I think he did it in something under 11 hours). If memory serves, he had survived a helicopter accident that had claimed the lives of a few in his comapny. He was racing to raise money to help out the families of his fallen mates. Gritty stuff. Any way, it IS possible. You will most likely lose some muscle mass, but there’s no reason that you’ll come out of this looking like a Somalian famine victim.

I’m a distance runner, but I definitely fall into the skinny bastard category. I’ve never been particularly concerned about maintaining mass, but I can tell you it is definitely possible to maintain strength while running a lot. I run 30-35 miles a week and lift 4 days a week (legs, chest/back, shoulders, arms), and follow a pattern of low reps (3-6), lots of sets (5-7), short rest periods, never to failure. Some of my upper body lifts are currently at all time PRs, even though my weight is at its lowest in years. I find that this approach results in little soreness and fatigue from lifting and keeps my strength up, while allowing me to focus on productive running workouts.

I tend to take it easier on legs, simply because I want to save them for running.

It’s true that you’re not going to be elite in both sports. But I think people take this attitude too far. You can definitely be pretty good at a lot of things, and for me that’s more rewarding than focusing solely on one thing.

As everyone else said, eat a lot. Keep both the carbs and protein high, and don’t forget EFAs.

When I trained for the marathon I never did as high of mileage as they have you do in most programmed workouts. I focused on and never missed the long-run and did one or two medium ones and a short one each week. I never ran on leg day or the day after and kept my long run and leg day as far apart as possible…usually Sun. was long run and Tues or Wed. leg day. I lifted heavy with very low reps on the legs (I wasn’t trying to win the damn thing) and didn’t change a thing with my upper-body. But I had to EAT! and EAT! and did I say EAT! Many many carbs. Oh, yeah, and EAT.