Weight Training and Running

I have a constant dilemma!

I do weight training and am trying to bulk up with lean muscle mass, by weight training 4 times a week.

I also do multiple marathons a year and looking to go sub 3 hours this year in London.

I am 12.5 stone and approx 11% bodyfat. Does anyone else here try and increase muscle mass and run marathons, if so any advice?


  • Every pound you put on will cost you time. What is your PB and what was your weight then ?
  • You might find the following articles of interest, and if you read the third myth, you may actually find it difficult to bulk up, whilst doing marathon training...



  • I don't remember m(any) marathon winners who owed their victory to bulking up.

    Building up core strength is often recommended especially quads and abs but it seems you may need to identify which of your interests is the priority. As the old saying goes, you cannot serve two masters.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I'll have to agree with the others. Have a look at the sharp end of each race and you won't find many "bulked up" types there.

    Any more weight you put on will be more to carry around. .
  • From 3:13 to 3:00 is a big jump but others have done it but some of those 4 weight sessions need to be running sessions which shouldn't be a problem for a few months if you really want the time.

  • I have managed to increase lean muscle mass in the last 2 years quite considereably since starting to weight train, and I have still got quiker (4hr marathon to 3:13), however i am starting to plateau now on both scores.

    I guess I am not trying to serve 2 masters but just not upset either master. I am never going to win any races, and dont want to look like a marathon runner.

    I think it may be a case of scrap the weight sessions till after the marathon season then start up again and treat it as a bulk and cut cycle.

    Its quite funny really as bodybuilding forums say dont run and running forums say dont weight train! Surely there must be some middle ground. (or are all forums hardcore)

  • No middle ground sub 3 though as thats the pointy end, cant have it all.Have a look in any sub 3 starting pen , not many hench types....
  • That is very true,

    In my pen for the last few marathons I have been a good 2 stone heavier than the others around me! Saying that there was a guy in brighton marathon running along side me who was a good 15-16 stone of muscle and he finished circa 1:28! Makes you wonder what he could do if he cut !

    Some good articles as well thanks Chewie

  • You can get away with a bit of weight at half distance , different for the full marathon though all that muscle takes a huge amount of calories to fuel.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Wenty, as others have said if you are trying to go sub 3 then substitute some of the weight sessions for more running. My GF always comments that I always look wider than a lot of the other runners finishing around the same time which means that I could probably go a bit faster if I wasn't carrying so much timber.

    As was said earlier there is no middle ground if you want to be up the sharp end. If you want to be middle of the pack then you may be able to get away with packing on some more muscle.
  • But all that hard work lifting weights!!!! image ...

    I know you guys are right though, but i suppose i was just hoping there would be some out there saying it was possible.

    I am cutting 500 calories a day, which should result in 1 pound weight loss (hopefully mainly fat), so hope to loose about a stone (or just under) which hopefully will save me 5-8 minutes off my marathon time. (still 11.5 stone which is heavy for a short ass!)

    Then after April I can bulk back up again! image

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I think it's possible to have a middle ground compromise, maybe weight training 3x/week, concentrating on core and legs, which will help the running anyway, then switch the focus back to weight training after the marathon as you suggest.  Mo Farah is supposed to have improved his running form after Salazar got him doing more upper body strength training, so it's not like weight training is a complete no-no even at the really pointy end.

    I've managed a 2:44 marathon weighing over 12 stone (and 5'10'').  That time has come down since I've lost more weight and got a bit more runner shaped, but I'm definitely still a fair way from being a weedy type!

  • I tried to do this, 4 days a week of weight training (more strength and power lifting routine than bulking) and 3 days a week of running.  My runs were getting a little quicker but my weight training wasn't going anyway - full squats was going down, deadlifts had stagnated at 220kg, benchpress had stagnated at 125kg and overhead press was the only thing that was actually moving upwards.  It just frustrated me to a point where i gave up weight training just so i can concentrate on running, still do pressups, dips, pullups, chinups and situps though.

    It's certainly possible but you'll need a lot of calories and i don't think either will go up that quickly.


  • Excellent posts - cheers guys

    Really good to know that you have some impressive times Phil with similar weight and height as me (even though you have more talent image) Interesting about Mo, i remember reading somewhere he did weights.

    Simon, I am finding the same thing as my weights are either dropping or stagnating escpecially bench press, and as you say I cant seem to eat enough clean calories to have a good surplus to build on. Bench press at 125kg is damn impressive if you are running marathons as well - I am only at about 10 reps of 80 kg. Deadlifts impressive as well as i gave that up due to back issues (I think my form must have been bad when the weight got too high as i often cheat on form to get a bit more in)

    As you say i think pullups chinups and abs work is still core stuff, and personally i will always throw some arm work in, as I used to have pipe cleaner arms!

  • I've cut my weight training down to 1-2 days a week and upped the running!

    Lets see what happens!

  • you can be muscle defined and still run..........you just need to be fitter...and have enough bulk to be what you want to be...........without being a induced sized bodybuilder..!!

    there is a middle ground..........plenty of time between runs to add bulk...not fat..


    good luck mate..andy

  • Cheers Andy that's the plan. Lean as possible. Bulk between runs.

    Aiming to cut 1lb per week till VLM then stak it back on.
  • Good luck, it's definitely what I want to do after the Edinburgh marathon as well.  I've never been bulky though as my height takes away all the bulk.

  • That's Where I'm lucky being a short arse! Lol

    If I weight train less do people think I will recover from runs quicker?

  • marrowsmarrows ✭✭✭

    No idea but you might enjoy watching Galen Rupp in the weight room

  • Cheers marrows - very good.

    Update on my weights - loosing weight and lost 5 llbs already and my weights have decreased, but this may be because I have only been doing weights once instead of 4 times a week! biggest loss is my arms! (boo!)

Sign In or Register to comment.