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View Full Version : Is it possible to train for a marathon without losing muscle mass



objective33
04-14-2010, 11:55 AM
I'm a 165 pound ecto/mesomorph. I am in to bodybuilding and want to add mass, but I feel like I am neglecting cardio now that I just want to bulk up and get really big and strong. The Toronto Marathon is on October 17, 2010 so as one of my life goals I want to run a marathon for the sense of accomplishment and get in great cardio shape. Is it possible to train for a marathon while not losing muscle mass or strength?

Reps for good answers. Thanks.

swimshagy89
04-14-2010, 12:04 PM
I'm a 165 pound ecto/mesomorph. I am in to bodybuilding and want to add mass, but I feel like I am neglecting cardio now that I just want to bulk up and get really big and strong. The Toronto Marathon is on October 17, 2010 so as one of my life goals I want to run a marathon for the sense of accomplishment and get in great cardio shape. Is it possible to train for a marathon while not losing muscle mass or strength?

Reps for good answers. Thanks.

I'm in the same boat as you, singed up for the marine corps marathon in october of this year, but as the same time as training, id like to build muscle.

objective33
04-14-2010, 12:14 PM
I don't care If I run it in a slow time, I wouldn't be running it to race others, I would run a marathon just to complete it, if that means anything to the answers I will get.

Aggressive
04-14-2010, 12:19 PM
Im kinda in a similar situation (well not rly in terms of distance!), but I need to run fast (3 miles under 20mins). Currently about 6 months into training and can run 3 miles in around 23/24 minutes. And I run 6-8 miles regularly. I know thats no marathon, but I dont seem to have lost any strength or mass so far. I was just as worried back when I did zero cardio and just lifted weights.

carl.c
04-14-2010, 12:21 PM
I'm a fraid you will lose some muscle mass. If your not a competive bodybuilder then who cares the mass will come back quickly once you scale down your running.
If you want to challenge yourself then go for it and enjoy the experiance.

Tim01
04-14-2010, 02:33 PM
Simultaneously training for an endurance event (such as the marathon) as well as for hypertrophy will always result in a compromise in results. However, that is not to say that is definately impossible to maintain muscle mass when training for the marathon. This will depend how advanced you are with regards to your bodybuilding training.

If you have a relatively short training history then you will have presumably developed less muscle mass in the first place - making it easier to maintain. Also, if you are merely aiming to complete the marathon (as opposed to training to achieve as fast a time as possible) then the level of endurance training required will be much less - again making it easier to maintain muscle mass.

However, lets assume that a significant level of endurance work is required for you to achieve your goal. Lets also assume that this results in a slight reduction in muscle mass despite training to maintain it through appropriate nutritional and strength training interventions.

In such a scenario, perhaps your strength training time would be better spent working towards neuromuscular adaptations rather than hypertrophy. This would serve to improve running economy, and so would complement your marathon training.

It would also prove beneficial to your hypertrophy training following the completion of your marathon. This is because the neuromuscular adaptations will enable you to recruit a greater number of high threshold motor units during your strength training workouts, increasing the potential for muscular adaptation.

mjlindne
04-14-2010, 04:21 PM
You will lose some weight. Not really any way around it. I stuff my face when I'm training for any kind of long race and I still always lose weight.
As for how much weight... I weight about 175 last June. I Did the Disney world marathon this past January and in that 6 month period I got down to about 155... Sorry, it's just part of long distance running.

however, you may not necessarily lose too much strength. Just focus on hitting you compound lifts as hard as possible and you can still stay surprisingly strong despite the weight loss.

Oh and a marathon is really an exception. I've done half's and below and I can retain muscle much easier when training for those. It's when you get up to the upper teens and 20 milers that everything just burns

Runnerguy262
04-22-2010, 08:32 PM
I have been training continuously at distance running for the last year and I havnt seen any significant loss of muscle mass and I have actually gotten stronger and that includes training for a marathon. I dont lift wieghts that often either just pull-ups and push-ups mostly. I ran my first marathon in March and there were some pretty big guys running it in decent times so you shouldnt have any trouble if your eating right, getting enough calories, and getting plenty of rest. Good Luck.

Runnerguy262
04-22-2010, 08:35 PM
Im kinda in a similar situation (well not rly in terms of distance!), but I need to run fast (3 miles under 20mins). Currently about 6 months into training and can run 3 miles in around 23/24 minutes. And I run 6-8 miles regularly. I know thats no marathon, but I dont seem to have lost any strength or mass so far. I was just as worried back when I did zero cardio and just lifted weights.

If your training for 3 miles you can bring that time down by doing some longer sprint workouts a few days a week or throwing in some fast miles while your out doing a longer run.

TrojanRunner
04-22-2010, 08:48 PM
You will lose some weight. Not really any way around it. I stuff my face when I'm training for any kind of long race and I still always lose weight.
As for how much weight... I weight about 175 last June. I Did the Disney world marathon this past January and in that 6 month period I got down to about 155... Sorry, it's just part of long distance running.

however, you may not necessarily lose too much strength. Just focus on hitting you compound lifts as hard as possible and you can still stay surprisingly strong despite the weight loss.

Oh and a marathon is really an exception. I've done half's and below and I can retain muscle much easier when training for those. It's when you get up to the upper teens and 20 milers that everything just burns

What was your Disney time?

DCSpartan
04-23-2010, 12:28 PM
I didnt lose any muscle while prepping for a marathon. You have to eat right and make certain you are doing your strength workouts. I think HIT style workouts integrate well into this sort of prep.