Marathon running without losing muscle?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2014 4:55 AM GMT
    I'm doing my first marathon in July in SF. But I've been working so hard on my strength training that I don't want to eat up all that hard work and muscle I've built up over the past year. I'm sure it is possible to maintain muscle mass and also have marathon strength cardio ability? I assume you just measure the calories burned from running and make up for it with calorie dense foods, like olive oil etc.

    Has anyone here had success with this?
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Jan 23, 2014 8:12 AM GMT
    Not me, but there's a member at my gym who does ultra marathons and plays rugby. He's solid muscle.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Jan 23, 2014 3:22 PM GMT
    From what I`ve read, this balancing act of muscle building and cardio vascular fitness is a hard one to maintain; though not impossible A lot of upper body muscle is a disadvantage at it`s heavy and doesn`t really help you run long distances. The training involved in marathons is at a high level and uses huge amounts of calories. The best distance runners tend to be slim!

    One key to keeping the muscle is like you say, plenty of protein and general calories from energy rich foods like dried fruit and nuts, and eating frequently, etc.

    My own experience is that I`ve sacrificed, to some degree, one or the other at different times. Currently, I`m sure I could have better running times if I was less muscled in the upper body.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2014 4:55 PM GMT
    I am a runner and have a high metabolism . Hard for me to bulk , i only have lean muscle icon_neutral.gif
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    Jan 23, 2014 11:47 PM GMT
    Then don't.

    Marathons are very tiresome and time-consuming.
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    Jan 23, 2014 11:56 PM GMT
    Fuck, I was watching the end of a marathon and saw the bellies on some of the runners and was flabbergasted! So if they can train for and run 26 miles without losing flab who's to say you can and not lose muscle!

    I mean if I still had a beer belly after training for and running 26 miles I'd just sit on the couch and drink beer and eat chips.
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Jan 24, 2014 2:47 AM GMT
    I understand your dilemma. I've been there. Actually, I've stayed there for the last 10+ years as I've always worked to balance both. I typically do one or two marathons and either a half-ironman or full ironman every year, while continuing to do strength training and weight lifting.

    While I never have a lot of muscle, I always want to maintain what I've worked hard for when I amp up the endurance training. I've found that I just have to maintain the workouts in the gym as my cardio increases. There is some loss of muscle as mileage gets high in the later stages of training, but it's pretty minimal and will come back quickly once you decrease the cardio and resume more weight training.

    Enjoy your first marathon. It can get addictive. icon_smile.gif
  • mrk100

    Posts: 157

    Jan 24, 2014 2:48 AM GMT
    I had this issue several years ago when my passion for cycling/running, and Triathlon took over. I did not want to lose quality muscle built up from 18 years in the gym but inevitably it does happen when you get serious with endurance training. It's tough to balance both of those types of training as they do not compliment one another at all. You can help offset it with higher calories,high protein,and supplements like Glutamine,BCAA's,and Creatine. As strength decreases from all the cardio change to lighter weight in the gym and go for more of a pump. Most of us have good muscle memory so if you lose some mass it should come back quickly once you start up consistently with the weights again.

    More muscle requires more oxygen so let some go for the race and by mile 20 you will be happy you did.

    Goodluck with your training and marathon.
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    Jan 24, 2014 7:41 AM GMT
    I have a lot of lean muscle. Not much bulk to me, and that's how I like it. I think that will be easier to maintain than a bodybuilder build with all of this running. I do get my macros in every day.. but I still have a caloric deficit by a few hundred on the days that I do my long runs.. so I am just going to supplement with adding coconut and olive oil to my foods to make up for it. (Today I ran 8 miles and ate lots of delicious food, including a huge plate of kimchi fried rice, and still had almost 1,000 calories left just to maintain my weight!)
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    Jan 24, 2014 10:14 PM GMT
    ^
    You should repost that heart stopping, panty-melting photo of you after you'd done all that steady state cardio hiking through Europe. You must've been pretty cardiovascularly fit then! icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 25, 2014 7:24 PM GMT
    All you were doing was standing "relaxed" (lol), shirtless in a pair of shorts. That's all it took.

    Are there more we should be aware of?
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    Jan 25, 2014 10:45 PM GMT
    timshel saidI'm doing my first marathon in July in SF. But I've been working so hard on my strength training that I don't want to eat up all that hard work and muscle I've built up over the past year.
    Not sure I understand your question. If by "strength training" you mean upper body mass, then maybe you will lose some of it if you're not replacing the calories burned off by running. But remember that you are also "strength training" your lower extremities now and you should notice an increase in the size and power of your calves, quads and hips. I would guess the two changes zero each other out. So enjoy your new legs and butt.
    Most of my marathon buds who have some upper definition continue to keep it regardless of how many miles trained or marathons run. Personally I have nothing on top anyway and just strive to keep my overall weight from dropping, rather than worry about one part or another.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 26, 2014 5:09 AM GMT
    OP has nothing to worry about, unless he plans to run marathons frequently.
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    Jan 29, 2014 6:07 AM GMT
    kew1 saidNot me, but there's a member at my gym who does ultra marathons and plays rugby. He's solid muscle.


    I wonder what he eats. I seriously don't have the stomach for more than 3,000 calories a day!
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    Jan 29, 2014 6:30 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    < snip! >
    the person with much more muscle needs to spend more energy just to function and move. Its not just limited to the actual (heavier) increase in weight. It simply comes down to all that muscle requiring more energy and more oxygen in order to simply function. The bodybuilder has to work so much harder to work at the same pace as someone who weighs much less but at the same body fat.
    < /snip! >

    ^ i agree with this ^

    i play water polo - an intense cardio and strength sport. i weigh 189lbs (85kg) and i stand 5'8 (1.75m), and my muscle mass eats up a lot of energy/endurance. my coach says i have to increase my cardio endurance. my friend (a former fitness instructor) says i need to lose some muscle mass, in order to reduce my density and increase cardio efficiency in the water.

    i'm on the fence about this advice. either i sacrifice some muscle mass (which took a lot of hard work to build), or i accept that i can only play short periods in the water. there could be a happy medium between my "show muscles" and my performance, but i guess i have to prioritise one over the other. icon_cry.gif
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    Jan 29, 2014 6:42 AM GMT
    Newton's third law is a good answer to this question. A person with more mass uses a considerably larger amount of force and there is an equal and opposite reaction, so you will be be running a deficit in calories faster than a person with lower mass.

    Newton's second law: F=ma accurately explains body building and sprinting.

    You can still run a marathon; however, your caloric intake will be significantly higher during the race and your cardiovascular endurance will be sharply lower compared to others. The best advice that I can give to you is to run and train, while also maintaining your lifts.

    Basic physics.
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    Jan 29, 2014 8:18 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidFuck, I was watching the end of a marathon and saw the bellies on some of the runners and was flabbergasted! So if they can train for and run 26 miles without losing flab who's to say you can and not lose muscle!

    I mean if I still had a beer belly after training for and running 26 miles I'd just sit on the couch and drink beer and eat chips.


    Well, sort of a sidebar, but most of the people who finish marathons in the US haven't really trained for them...you can survive a marathon pretty well on 30 miles a week or so, which burns few enough calories that "rewarding" yourself a couple of times per week will wipe them right out.