Saw you again in Men's Health again (way to go). Had a question for you. Have you ever trained someone for a marathon? I am thinking of entering the 1/2 this year in Tempe and going for the full next year. I have been working on dropping my wight for the past 9 months and have gone from 207 to 177 lbs as of yesterday. I think I need to work on a weight training program that will build endurance without adding unnecessary weight to compliment my running program, but I may be on the wrong track. Any thoughts?
With regards to training endurance athletes, I basically have a few goals:
1 - Use the weight training to "counteract" the muscle imbalances developed via their training. Generally the quads and hip flexors are crazy tight, so strength training is focused on developing the posterior chain (e.g. glutes and hamstrings)
2 - Keep them healthy via stretching, prehab, foam rolling, etc.
3 - Use strength training to increase strength and develop connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, etc.)
If you're running a lot, you really don't need to worry about putting on much mass with your strength training. Quite simply, your body won't have the energy reserves to build muscle. In essence, distance running and strength training are at opposite ends of the spectrum - your body has to decide between using energy to recover from runs or build muscle, and recovering from runs always wins out!
Basically, I would focus the bulk of your upper body training on developing the upper back, as most runners are hunched over to begin with. Rowing exercises, properly performed chin-ups, and face pulls are all great choices. For the lower body, focus on exercises that develop the posterior chain - Romanian Deadlifts, glute-ham raises, swiss ball leg curls, traditional deadlifts, etc.
Let me know if any of this makes sense - it's a rather long, drawn-out answer but I hope it helps!