Monday, April 23, 2012
One of the challenges involved with training for a marathon and still attempting to lose weight is, well, the latter. I've heard it from a number of fellow runners now that it is almost impossible to continue losing weight while training hard for running 26.2 miles. It seems like backwards reasoning. I'm running my stinking BUTT OFF! But the scale refuses to budge. Not even a little. In fact - when it really feels like it - it goes up for the sake of making me very angry. Like this week.
Now one could argue that there is muscle gain involved with training. Yes - this is true, my legs are definitely rocking some chisel...between the fat that is hanging on for dear life while I keep pounding the pavement in the hopes of shaking it loose. That's a fun visual. I'll give you a second to imagine screaming fat cells hanging on to a flabby jogger...hehehe...
Anyway - back to the situation at hand - I haven't lost any weight in almost a year. And yet I've increased my weekly mileage from 5 miles a week to almost 20 miles a week. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!!
Our bodies are not calculators. This I know. But 3500 calories burned is supposed to equal a pound, right?
The problem is that 3500 calories equals a pound - and I can tell you right now - running off 3500 calories a week means that I'm hungry enough to consume at least double that...every day. It is true that I am a burning machine. But I am also an eating machine. At first I thought it was just for carbs. Not the case. My cravings lately have been for fat. Peanut butter, cheese, nuts of any kind, oils! How the heck do you crave oils? But I'm not kidding - I look at the bottle of olive oil on my counter like it could possibly be a drinkable option. "Do we think I could I do this in a shot?"
But I am hoping that this shift in cravings means that my body has actually found a way to burn fats more efficiently (which is exactly what we want it to do when we run). All marathoners need to load up on excellent sources of usable carbs - both complex and simple - for quick fuel. But for the LONG miles, the body uses fat when the carb stores are depleted. And I've got PLENTY of it kicking around for use. Burn baby burn.
I've been talking with Robert (ON2VICTORY) about my hunger and while he will claim firsthand that he's no expert on the subject, he did have his own opportunities to experiment with this very thing when he ran his own marathon last year. He's given me a pile of resource material to read - some of which I'm hoping to implement myself. Being a low-carb runner is tricky business. While it might help with the weight loss, it can lead to serious fatigue and other issues, so I'll need to make sure that my vitamins are balanced properly when I do cut back as well. But at this point, I'm willing to give anything a try for a few weeks. What I do know is that a LOWER carb (not totally low-carb, or no-carb) diet does work for me. My body loves protein and tends to behave better when I eat lots of lean meat. I'm on my way to Florida this week, and I fully intend to eat as much seafood as I can muster since I get it so rarely at home (my boyfriend is allergic, so we stay away from it when we eat together).
But there is a serious downside to training really hard for something and not getting the results that you want on the scale. Even though this is only Week 2 for you guys, I've been at this for a while now. Long enough to be feeling pretty burnt out on running in general and just sad and disappointed that I haven't been able to get over this plateau hump despite the added calorie burn. The hope was that as the mileage got higher, my weight would get lower, making it physically easier on me to go the longer distance. My fear now is that I will end up running those 26.2 miles at the same weight that I am today, which is not only going to be VERY hard on my body (if I even make it there in the first place), but not what I want to have happen at all!
This week was REALLY tough to get through. I had 3 mile and a 5 mile on the plan - and while I did get my runs in, I skipped a day of cross training, and pushed my whole schedule back by a day because I was procrastinating so hard. Turns out that I may have been better to swim than to run since my knees are a little worse for wear after a weekend of events in high heels, but we can only do what we feel is right at the time, and I felt like getting the miles in was more important.
I'm about to do something that I didn't think would happen while "training" for a marathon. I'm taking an entire WEEK off running. Woah. It's scary - but I feel like my body needs it. And as I mentioned, I'm going to Florida which is going to provide me plenty of cross-training opportunity. Swimming, walking, biking, and possibly belly dancing will all happen while I'm there. And the running will resume when I get home - hopefully all the better for my time away - both physically and mentally. As it turns out - full rest weeks ARE important in a training schedule. The demands on my time to run every week are grueling. And in order to be able to look at a weekly training schedule with any clarity and desire to do it, I have to be in the right state of mind. Which right now involves a mini-vacation. I couldn't be more excited.
So the goals for the week are to keep the calories LOW, since I won't be burning as much, but to keep the activity as high as I can without actually running. We'll see how it goes.
Here are the weekly stats:
Week 2 Schedule (Completed):
Sun - Rest (after 11 miles on Saturday, counted as part of this week's mileage)
Mon - Rest
Tue - Rest
Wed - Chiro + 3 miles
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Zumba
Total Weekly Miles: 19
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 3191
Weekly Weigh-In: 189.2
Week 3 Schedule:
Sun - Rest (although I spent the day on my feet in high heels running a Benefit event!)
Mon - Rest (cleaning my house & laundry before I leave)
Tue - Rest (work event in the evening - will be on my feet for 3 hours)
Wed - Belly Dancing on the beach
Thu - Walk & Swim
Fri - Walk & Swim
Sat - Bike?