Monday, December 22, 2008

Running, Marathons, Turbulence Training, and Weight Loss

Running, marathons, Turbulence Training, and Weight Loss Q'n'A

Q: I have been getting your emails for almost a year now, and you are always discouraging the running culture. This is the largest reason why I have never purchased your TT program. I currently am trying to run marathons and even may venture into the triathlons and weight has always been an issue as I am a larger person (fat 260lbs). Will your program assist in my running programs and goals?

So you are overweight, yet you do a lot of running for marathons, and you wonder why I discourage the running culture?

It's clearly not working for you. And frankly, I don't think running marathons is a healthy activity for an overweight 260 pound guy. You are going to get hurt. It's not a question of if, it's a question of how soon and how bad are you going to let the injury get before you stop trying to run marathons.

Most runners are smart enough that they wouldn't buy a beat-up used car for $300 and try to drive it across America non-stop, but they'll take their overweight, used up, beat up, weak bodies and try to run 26.2 miles in under 4 hours.

How does that make any sense?

The reason I'm so "hard" on running is because too many people do it that shouldn't do it. I have no problem with training for a marathon if your body is prepared to handle a marathon. But most folks have bodies that are not suited for running 26.2 miles in one day.

But back to your original question...will Turbulence Training help you?

Yes, although frankly, any general strength training program would help you. But you don't need to be lifting three days per week - if running is going to remain your focus.

All you need are two quick, total body strength workouts per week, doing 1-2 sets of a couple of multi-muscle exercises. Master bodyweight exercises first when appropriate (i.e. pushups before chest presses). But again, if running is your main activity, just be careful not to do too much strength training that it gives you sore muscles.

I like to see runners do stability ball leg curls, 1-leg hip extensions, prisoner squats, step-ups, and split squats. Those are the basics to start with. Just pick two exercises per workout, and do 1-2 challenging sets.

But we have't addressed the 800 pound elephant in the room.

You need to lose body fat. Your diet is probably the main problem. So fix it. Running 6 miles per day is not a license to eat whatever you want. That's a big mistake runners make.

So drop the fat and do a little bit of efficient strength training to help you get a better body for running before you hurt yourself.

Best of luck to you, and train safe.


Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, M.Sc.
Click here to lose fat without long cardio workouts


Aaron said...

That's true and fair advice. I've run a marathon, many half marathons and my typical run (3-4x per week) was 10k. I did most of my running at about 105-115kg (230-250lbs) and thought that it was okay.

Then I got my diet in check and was doing full body workouts and got down to a lean 92-95kg (~ 9% 3pt skin fold) with visible abs.

To say running became so much more enjoyable, and SO much easier is an understatement. I was running half marathons and finding them nothing but enjoyable. Previously they were a grind.

I'd definitely recommend getting down to 10-14% bodyfat for running. At 14% it was like someone had flipped a switch and after that it just continued to get better.

Great advice!

Rachel said...

Wow. well said, but on the harsh side of things..I agree with everything you said, though.

What is a prisoner squat?

Andy said...

Great read...and a good way to answer the skeptics - via your blog!