A Taste of Advice Marathon Runners Hate

Most aspiring marathon runners are smart enough not to buy a beat-up used car for $300 and try to drive it across America non-stop. But they have no problem taking their overweight, used up, beat-up, weak bodies and trying to run 26.2 miles in under 4 hours.

Does that make any sense?

If you are overweight and running marathons, you are going to get injured. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s a question of how soon and how badly.

The reason I’m so hard on running is because too many people do it who shouldn’t do it.

What they should do instead is run less, do more resistance training, and decrease the carbohydrates in their diet.

If you are an overweight runner focused on a marathon, the most important thing you can do is lose body fat. Your diet is probably the main problem. So fix it. Running 6 miles per day while you’re “training” is not a license to eat whatever you want.

Any general strength-training program will help you improve your body composition and strengthen your muscles so that you’ll have a reduced risk of overuse injury (from long-duration running). All you need are two quick, total-body strength workouts per week, doing 1-2 sets of a couple of multi-muscle exercises. Just be careful not to do so much strength training that you get sore muscles.

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

[Ed. Note: Building muscle and burning fat doesn’t have to take hours of work. Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne has put together a Turbulence Training program that can help you get fit with three 45-minute workouts a week.]

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