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marathon training & weight gain

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Prior to this summer I was in maintenance mode for 2 years. Now I'm not even sure what to call the mode I'm in. Frustration mode? My running shorts don't fit right - but it's hard to create a calorie deficit when I need to fuel an 18 mile run - mode?

The first time I dug out my running shorts in May and they rode up my inner thighs while running, I knew I had a problem. That never happened before! I knew my weight was up a pound or 3 but I hadn't been too worried. Now clothes weren't fitting like they had last summer. Time to get serious.

Well... here we are at the end of summer and I'm up a few more pounds. Trust me, it's not muscle. (I'd love it if Spark could send out an APB that muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound weighs a pound. Muscle takes up less volume than fat. OK, off my soapbox).

I understand enough about weight loss and fat loss to know that I need to work harder to maintain my weight than a person who has never been heavier. Those fat cells are there. I accept that and for the most part, do work hard at it.

I also understand enough about nutrition. DH is a chef (which, yes is a blessing and a curse!) He is part of the farm to table movement. We eat real foods, we eat as much local food as possible. I am not afraid of healthy fat or dairy or whole grains. I don't need the Whole30 or Paleo diet. I eat very few processed foods. My problem is portion size and too much snacking out of boredom.

In June I focused on portion size. No seconds. No snacks after dinner. No change on the scale. Boo.

In July I focused on protein. Because that's what everyone says to do, right? I had been eating steel cut oats for breakfast for 2 + years. I swapped that out for a high protein meal: eggs & veggies or a protein shake. No change on the scale. Boo.

In August I decided to go back to what I know. Eat well. Listen to your body. And I'm up another 2 pounds. BOO! What's worse than the scale number is that I don't feel good about how I look right now.

As for fitness: I know I do too much steady state cardio for weight loss. I know that my body is used to running 20+ miles a week so that's what I need to do just to maintain. I know that I don't do enough ST. I know that I need to do more HIIT workouts and build more muscle.

But there are only so many hours in a day. I had been focusing on intervals during my swim and bike workouts to get it in that way. After the tri 2 weeks ago, I tried some Nike fuel workouts and then my shin started to hurt. The last time I had shin splints was 2 years ago when I did Jillian workouts.

Now is not the time to try new workouts or change my diet. I can do that in October. My priority is marathon training. Last week's 18 miler was so fun and so hard all at once.

We started around mile 2 of the marathon course and ran to mile 11 and then turned around. This is the part of the course that I am not as familiar with. On race day we will run on the streets of River Road Parkway. For the training run, we ran on the trails right down by the river. So much fun! I had a GU and washed my hands in the river :) Unfortunately, we didn't get going early enough in the day because of childcare so it got hot and we were running the last 6 over lunch time. yikes. Our pace suffered. And those numbers get in my head.

And now this week we get a heat wave. I know I've grown as a runner because I actually listened to logic. Sore shin + heat advisory = not a good time to run 20 miles. Instead of powering through and getting the miles in, we ran 10 and! I didn't feel like a failure for not doing 20. We still have plenty of time.

The best news is that my shin didn't bother me before, during or after yesterday's run. The bad news is that my pace was way way off again.

I can't struggle with the number on the scale AND the running numbers at the same time. It's too much negativity. I'm going to step away from the scale. Do what I know is right for my body. Focus on training. Eat like an athlete. Re-evaluate goals in mid-October.

And while the weight gain has gone straight to my mama gut and hips and thighs, it's nice to be surprised by how much I like a picture of my butt!

I can feel my daughter's happiness in this photo. And that's more important than anything else I just wrote.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That is a great pic and shows happiness of your daughter and you! Enjoy, don't let the scale and the clothes rule. We can be happy and healthy as our weight fluctuates. You will make it a goal to go back down, but now priorities are elsewhere. The weight comes and goes. I like that you are realistic about what you are focused on right now. The pic is super and you look great!
    1660 days ago
    I feel your pain! While training for my first marathon last year I managed to actually gain about 5 lbs and compounded that with another 5 when I developed a stress fracture during the marathon and had to lay off running for several months to let it heal. While training for my Ironman I maintained my weight, but was kind of stunned that I could be doing that much exercise and not trimming down. With the IM ahead of me and the Chicago Marathon coming I have set my sights on trying to lose 10-15 lbs over the next few months. It's back to the gym for some strength training, but I find the muscle soreness and the lower carb diet are both making those long runs difficult. Argh!!! Not sure what the answer is, but just wanted to let you know you're far from alone! :)
    1663 days ago
    I know u feel ... been there and done that ..

    when we do a lot of cardio(esply more than 60 mins) our body goes into stress mode and produces cortisol and hence u start being bloated around the abdomen area and thighs... try scaling back ur cardio for two weeks , take a couple of rest days with active recovery and include 2-3 sessions of strength training ... u will see the difference ...
    1668 days ago
  • OPTIMIST1948
    Yes! Happy happy kids are better than anything else. Although a nice butt picture is good too.
    1669 days ago
    Yep. I can understand. I'm down 5lbs in my training (I'm in week 9), but it's hard to fuel the long runs, and still manage it all. You are right, in that you have to wait until after. It's my first full... So, I'm only going on what I've noticed so far.

    Keep it up! You'll get there!
    1670 days ago
    I hear ya!! And am feeling everything you are - my weight gain started in December (damn those holidays!).... Now I'm up 30 pounds.. friends and family all say I don't look like I've gained, but (or butt) I know I have - I'm positive this is a bump in the road - your's and mine - you are so put together - phyiscally and mentally - that you will overcome this! (Love the picture of you and your daughter!!!) - Patty
    1670 days ago
  • LEWILL1982
    I'm struggling similarly, but race goals and proper preparation keep me from stressing too much about it. I just did my first sprint tri (.25, 12, 3.1), am training for the MS 150 bike ride, a half marathon on Thanksgiving. It's so hard to fit it all in, we just have to take the best care of ourselves we can while training. Great outlook!
    1670 days ago
    You might not like the number but just looking at your picture from the oly tri, you look TRIM AND TONED. And the bum is fabulous. But I am not going to discount how you feel and what you see and I know all endurance athletes want to be lighter so we can see the PR's happen.
    Have you been to the doctor? I had my blood levels checked and I was deficient in a lot of stuff including iron and some vitamins and with some emergency supplementation, my body recovered better and dealt with inflammation better too.
    And do you get enough sleep? Honestly, as a mama, I doubt you do, but nothing makes a bigger difference.
    You are making the right decisions because it isn't about starving your body - you will have a stunning performance this fall and once you are in the taper, you will see the difference in your body that you want.

    And lastly, your cutie is a chef? Lucky girl. emoticon
    1670 days ago
    Everyone is different, so my advice may not work, but here goes...

    Have you tried fasted runs? Now, let me be clear - I have been running a LONG time so fasted runs for me are the norm because when I started running, there were no gels and the only sports drink was Gatorade! Fasted running is an acquired taste for most. However, running on empty teaches your body to burn stored fat, which in addition to having good weight loss benefits will also help keep you from hitting the wall in your marathon.

    Fasted running is basically just what it sounds like... run on an empty stomach and don't eat or drink any calories while running. Now, in the summer, I will take some HEED in my water bottle (which has about 90 calories) because of the electrolyte loss that comes with running in 80 degree heat with 90% humidity!

    Anyway, FWIW, I have found this approach results in either weight maintenance or loss while marathon training.

    Is this your first marathon? Take detailed notes of what works and what doesn't. If it is your first, I would focus mostly on getting across the finish line feeling good. For your next one, you can play around with different training techniques - for example, I have always strength trained while marathon training, and again... more muscle mass = more calorie burning at rest. If you can find a way to squeeze that in next time, you might find it helpful.

    Good luck and enjoy! Remember, no matter what the scale says, there is no greater feeling than crossing the finish line at a marathon!
    1670 days ago
    I hear ya when it comes to the clothes talking back! The crawling, pinching, riding, grabbing all day tells me when I need to pay attention to my portion sizes and stress-snacking.

    And you're right to choose ONE goal and focus...I'd be willing to bet that your marathon success will stand you in good stead for your October weight challenge. Enjoy your marathon training (from the pix it looks like you're having fun), have a terrific race!
    p.s., I second your "pound is a pound" thought...sheesh, some people don't appreciate density! :)
    1670 days ago
    The ending is the best! You know I feel your pain on this and I'm here to tell you... you have the right idea. Stay focused on the positive and current goal. Post marathon, change gears. I am fully understanding (after 2 years of ignoring it) that endurance training and weight loss do not coexist peacefully. You have to choose which one is the real goal. So I'm backing it down after my last tri on Saturday. A full week off then a new plan of HIIT and ST. I have to get the fat off before I crank up the volume again in spring. The answer isn't in your diet. I've danced all around that while trying to make it work. Eat clean and in an appropriate range while you exercise consistently with short bursts of intensity. That's my plan. Please OH PLEASE let it be the right plan! LOL. I would enlarge and frame that photo if I were you!
    1670 days ago
    I love that pic of you and your daughter! What a great memory to have. And I love the positivity you ended with. You know what you need to do for your training and that's what's important right now. The other can wait until after. You've got this girl!
    1670 days ago
    Oh I LOVE those shorts! AND your TUSHY!! HA! emoticon
    I hear ya gal loud and clear!!! Its so hard to lose when you love endurance sports!! Oh and my running shorts??? emoticon I am trying to stay positive on that subject! I am only in week 3 of my training(marathon in NOV) and actually loathe the coming days of the RUNchies!!! Hang in there sweetpea emoticon
    1670 days ago
    I know the shorts riding up feeling! ugh - last night mine did the same thing. Sounds like you have a plan girl - I can only imagine trying to fit the strength training and HITT in your training, but I think that's where you might see the results you are wanting - in your clothes and the scale (but the scale isn't as important). I want back my cool temps - it was so nice for 2-3 weeks and then another heat wave - yuck! bring on fall!!!

    Love the pics and totally true - seeing the kids happiness is truly the most important thing! Keep on rocking it girl!
    1670 days ago
    I love the way you ended this blog. What a beautiful picture!

    1670 days ago
    I have also been in weight maintenance for a while now. I started to put on some weight and what I realized I wasn't doing as much strength training as I used to. I have since then started to get at least 2 days a week in and I can feel a difference on how my clothes fit. I won't weigh myself though because I don't want to be obsessed with the scale again. I have been down that road and it isn't pretty. I am a runner, but only run 3 to 4 miles at a time, 2 to 3 days a week. I also bike about 3 days a week about 20 miles each ride. It has helped a great deal.

    After reading your blog it sounds to me like you have a lot of knowledge. I agree about stepping away from the scale. It can be so frustrating. From your picture you can see how great you look. Maybe just add some ST and I am sure you will get the results that you want. Have a great time on your marathon. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun training for it. emoticon emoticon
    1670 days ago
    hahaha...yes M, you have a nice butt...I'm gigglin because you ended on such a nice positive note with that comment(plus the comment about your daughter IS the most important-truly). The entire blog screams logic. You know exactly what's going on and you have a solution. It would be so awesome if running took care of all the food noise(calories in vs out, quality, quantity etc). Please share if you figure it out one day. You are an athlete with absolutely great times in all you do. Stepping away from the scale is THE answer. Enjoy the rest of the summer, enjoy the training process, enjoy enjoy enjoy! Hugs
    1670 days ago
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