T Nation

Running a Marathon with Muscle Mass?

A gaunt, emaciated co-worker of mine - a distance runner - made a broad claim that most people with appreciable muscle mass and bodyweight would be unable to complete a marathon. Against all better judgement, I’ve decided to give it a go. Anyone “heavier” here ever complete one? How was it?

(Some background: 6’4", 240lbs, no distance running to speak of. Going to start doing some 5km jogs and increasing the distance/cadence incrementally)

Weight and muscle mass won’t preclude someone from running a marathon. I’m somewhat heavy (5’10", 200lbs), and recently ran 12 hours straight (55.2 miles). I’ve done a fairly fast marathon (3:10:52), at a bodyweight of 195. Your co-worker is dead-wrong, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t even very fast. Any specific race picked out yet for you?

[quote]bigquig wrote:
Weight and muscle mass won’t preclude someone from running a marathon. I’m somewhat heavy (5’10", 200lbs), and recently ran 12 hours straight (55.2 miles). I’ve done a fairly fast marathon (3:10:52), at a bodyweight of 195. Your co-worker is dead-wrong, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t even very fast. Any specific race picked out yet for you? [/quote]

Wanted to run the Tibetan Marathon ( http://www.great-tibetan-marathon.com/ ) next summer. This will add the additional challenge of acclimating to the altitude. I’ve banked up some vacation time and am seriously considering giving it a shot. Even if I fail miserably and end up convulsing in a pile of my own vomit, I can at least enjoy Tibet and all it has to offer.

That’s awesome! I think I saw that on TV. No matter the outcome, it will be an amazing experience for sure. I’m afraid I can’t give any acclimation advice, other than be there for a while before the race if you can, and maybe hypoxic swimming. I dealt with altitude once, climbing in the Rockies, with only about 5 days to acclimate, and it crushed me. Let me know if you decide to try this.

When you enroll you have to agree to show up at least 5 days prior to acclimate. They do tour packages where they work a whole travel itinerary around the race, so it should be a good way to see that part of the country.

I did New York last year. Was 110kg (242lbs) at the time and did 4:40 but should have done 4-4.15. I got a chest infection a few days before. I stuck to 3 full body sessions and 3 running sessions per week and found it worked really well.

If you’ve got any questions let me know

If you do cardio regularly you might have a shot, but whether the weight is muscle or fat, you’re still placing a pretty heavy burden on your heart, good luck.

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:
A gaunt, emaciated co-worker of mine - a distance runner - made a broad claim that most people with appreciable muscle mass and bodyweight would be unable to complete a marathon. Against all better judgement, I’ve decided to give it a go. Anyone “heavier” here ever complete one? How was it?

(Some background: 6’4", 240lbs, no distance running to speak of. Going to start doing some 5km jogs and increasing the distance/cadence incrementally)[/quote]

Its gonna be hard for you with that weight. Is it the best weight to be vs a skinny person?no. I was 190 at 5-6 and ran a mile in 6 minutes not a marathon but a lot of the fibers are associated with 1 mile runs. I was also built but had fat.

[quote]deanvoyer09 wrote:
If you do cardio regularly you might have a shot, but whether the weight is muscle or fat, you’re still placing a pretty heavy burden on your heart, good luck.[/quote]

But only walking on a bike with low to moderate intensity, right?
Please elaborate, I am enthralled with your narration.

I recently did the Men’s Health Urbanathalon, basically a half with obsticals. I can tell you this, I hurt that day, the next I was fine. When I raced I was pushing 200lbs at 5’8". The best advice I can give you is to make sure that you work into it and also include plenty of higher milage runs onece you can stand them. I think this was the main cause of the pain that I felt, I just wasn’t used to the milage. I hadn’t gotten over six miles while training. That said, don’t go up to full race distance. The newer trend in running is to log between 30-50 miles total per week and not just on long slows.

Also, pick up a copy of Born to Run, it will give you some inspiration and some technical pointere for more sustainable running.

Good Luck,
Jim

I took up a similar bet and did a half marathon at around 220 (6’1). I only had 6 weeks to train (spring semester, took the bet right before during spring break) but it wasnt too hard to build up to 13.5 miles without having done much running prior to the race. Good luck in Tibet, hope you make your coworker feel foolish.

I did a full ironman (2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run) Sep 13 2009 @ 204lbs 13:27:40 finish time. I never did a triathlon up to this and still came in midpack. I held up just fine, and recovered within a week. The week before the Ironman I did a half marathon at 1:59:33.

I would suggest buying some type of heart-rate monitor/gps and train according to heart rate. Also get used to running without headphones since some organizers are dicks and don’t allow ipods.

The largest thing is refueling your body while on the run and putting in as many calories as you are putting out(not literally) but enough to keep your pace steady and avoid cardiac drift where you no longer have enough calories to sustain the heart rate you are at, which inevitably ends up eating away at your pace.

damn his statement must have pissed you off! dont blame you, hope you finish the marathon then fuck his girlfriend. good luck!

Oh and trust me once you finish this marry you probably won’t want anything to do with another one. Find a nice one with a concert after, than at least you can fuck the hot girls that run.

Great responses everyone, thanks.

My only major concern are injuries, especially knee ones. 42000 strides (approx) at 240 lbs works out to be, umm, well I’ve always sucked at physics but probably a lot of force on the knee and ankle joints I imagine. Did any of you have to deal with any injuries while training? Any advice on prevention?

(EDIT: Just noticed that the book “Born to Run” is pretty much all about injury prevention, LOL)

I would never run more than 3 days a week, never back to back and if you need more volume or whatever use cycling as no other cardio component carries over as well to running as cycling.

[quote]deanvoyer09 wrote:
If you do cardio regularly you might have a shot, but whether the weight is muscle or fat, you’re still placing a pretty heavy burden on your heart, good luck.[/quote]

Shut the fuck up. You have no goddamn idea what you’re talking about, go back to the fuckin frat house.

Every boxer in history, even the heavyweights, has put in miles upon miles in roadwork leading up to fights. OP, you’ll be fine.

god bless you for doing this. you couldn’t make me run more than like 5 miles at a time.

buy some legit running shoes too. my 2 cents.

Ridiculous. I am not as big as you but I have run several marathons and have seen lots of big guys run them just fine.

As a former runner, I think you can do it. I’ve seen plenty of fatties (we called muscular runners that, its a term of affection) run half marathons easily and I’ve known a few to run a full marathon. You’re lucky that you have so much time. I think the major obstacle for you is going to be that

a) you have so much time before it happens (people procrastinate the training)
b) You will be pounding your joints, mostly because it seems like you have never really run before. Take advantage of the amount of time you have and ease into it. Remember to do your stretching and foam rolling in the mornings and ice yourself after long runs.
c) The altitude/foreign country aspect. I generally wouldn’t advise to do your first marathon (an absurdly exhausting challenge) outside of your original country, and especially not at an altitude you aren’t used to. But hey, its your life.

I would recommend picking up an issue of Runners world (or checking out their website). They have a ton of programs meant to ease people into running, and usually each issue has a marathon training guide. The site may have some resources for bbers as well.

Hope that helps