I am running my first half marathon this coming fall. I am also trying/hoping to lose about 10 pounds and tone up a little bit. I have always loved to run and have always wanted to run a marathon, so losing weight was not my main reason for doing it but I will admit that I considered some possible weight loss a perk. I am planning on using the training schedule on this website for beginners, and until it is time to start (about a month) i am just trying to maintain my 15-20 mi/wk running schedule. I eat healthy, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies and only drink water. My question is how can I lose the weight while still staying healthy and properly nourished? I know weight loss is a number game with calories in and out. I dont want to risk my training and overall health by restricting my calorie intake too much, but i really want to lose the weight! Do most people that go from running a few times a week for fitness to training for marathons usually lose weight as a side effect? what should i do?
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running to slim down(8 posts)
Welcome, and good luck on your goals!
It sounds like you've got a pretty good understanding of the issues you'll face as you train for a half marathon and attempt to lose weight. It's great that you're focusing more on your race goal, than on weight loss... but it's totally reasonable to want to accomplish both.
I think the key will be to fight the urge to eat a lot more food. When you train for something like a half marathon, you're body will be hungry... since it is doing hard work. But if you focus on eating a balanced diet, and you pay attention to how many calories you're eating, you can manage your calories in and calories out a lot better.
I'm sure other people will have other thoughts on this. But my advice would be to do the training program, and track your calorie intake... watch what happens over the first couple weeks. If you are feeling really hungry and losing weight quickly, then you need to eat a little more. If you are feeling hungry, eating to stop the hunger, and gaining weight, and you see that you really have increased your calorie intake to make the hunger go away... then you may be eating a little too much.
One thing that people often forget is that if you're losing weight... then you'll probably feel hungry. That's just how it is.
Anyway... good luck! I'm rooting for you!
I tend to agree with the majority of what Brad said. But I look at the hunger issue a bit different. I feel with time any healthy physically active person could run a half-marathon, but to run against time is different. Finishing it is just a case of logging miles. Nothing wrong with that. It's what I do. I run to run. But to meet a timed goal I agree your diet is much more important. Sincerely wish you the best in your goals.
Just speaking from experience, it was harder for me to lose weight when training for a half marathon. I thought when I trained for my first one, I'd easily shed pounds over 3 months. When you are running more, you tend to be more hungry. I didn't overeat or binge, but I just ate a little more than normal (fearing if I didn't have enough I'd hurt my training). I stayed the same, even though my miles increased greatly. It's all a balancing act, but I do remember reading an article by Lisa Sabin about running more and how it's harder to loose the weight. If I can find the post, I'll put up the link :)
I agree with what sippi33 is saying here. If you are attempting to reach a "timed goal" in your half marathon to achieve a personal best record, then it's very hard to "diet to lose weight" while also training.
If your half marathon goal is simply, "I want to run a half marathon"... which by the way is a GREAT goal... then you are more likely to have weight loss success.
Kate's feedback is also a common story you hear from a lot of people.
I think the key is to realize that to lose weight you probably need to be serious about restricting your diet (and of course eating a healthy balance)... and getting regular exercise. The half marathon training plan will be great regular exercise. But you can't fall into the trap of saying "I'm exercising so much, I can eat whatever I want."
I've fallen into this trap before... I'm up to about 149lbs (9lbs heavier than my prefered weight) since about 9 months ago, when I started training for a time goal marathon. The training was hard and I was always hungry, and so I ate. The result... I gained weight. Of course, I know I shouldn't have eaten most of what I ate, and I would have done better on my time goal had I actually paid close attention to my food and eaten healthier.
Anyway, good luck! You'll do great, I'm sure!
I agree with all of the comments above. I would like to get rid of a few more pounds but it is tough to do this when training because there is no denying that I get hungry after certain training days (I find the afternoon of and the day after my long run are my 'hungry days'). What I do is stick to a calorie per day restriction, I do take care to make sure every meal is healthy and has enough protein, carbs and fat (e.g. I will not replace a meal with a chocolate bar and chips). I try not to be obsessive about calorie bookkeeping, if I have more than I planned in one meal I 'shave' it off the next meal or over the next day. I decided a few months ago that I was done with my love/hate relationship with the scale and I now focus on body fat % and events as my goals. Good luck with your training!
I know this is a month old, but I'm going to back up what Brad said. Voice of experience here (and I know his is too). I've lost over 100 lbs. and running was a BIG part of that.
When you start running you will find you're more hungry. You're revving your metabolism quite a bit and your body is going to say "Whoa now, Nellie! You're asking me to do more here. What is in it for ME?" You can explain the buff hiney, the great legs, and the runner's physique, but it's pretty much just gonna want another cookie...or ten.
So if you TRULY want to be serious about losing weight and gaining fitness you have to balance it. It truly IS a number's game. I work with people who go one way or the other. Either they restrict calories and workout to the point where I'm practically screeching at them, "You HAVE to put fuel in your tank if you're going to ask it to perform like this!" or I'm gently pointing out that "It's great that you ran 3 miles, but um...your Big Mac and large fries was about 800 calories and you only burned about 300." It's really hard to "guesstimate" what your calories in vs out are without journaling.
I know...journaling is a four letter word to some people. BUT, if you look at the National Weight Loss Registry, they have tracked people who have lost and kept off weight, for many years. And it shows that those of us who are successful at weight loss, long term, journal our food. I journal every day. Sure, I could wing it, but why would I? If I need to lose ten pounds, for example, and I know that all week I ate an average of 2500 calories and burned an average of 500 calories I know I'm eating about 2000 calories a day. If I want to lose 2 pounds a week I can cut back 500 calories a day and lose about a pound a week, or 1000 calories a day and lose 2. Or I can up my exercise a bit and cut back 750 calories a day. But if I don't JOURNAL, how can I truly "know" I'm not cutting back too much or not enough?
So I'd suggest take a look at one of the free online program (www.fitday.com http://www.sparkpeople.com) and just journal your food while you're training. You'll soon enough figure out what it takes to lose a little and you won't be "guessing".
Like I said...still journal here. I will probably never stop. When someone does ask if I will, I just say I might stop when I've maintained a healthy weight for as long as I maintained obesity. So when I'm about 70, or so, I might stop journaling. Until then, it's a small price to pay for good health and maintaining weight loss.
I can see the argument in that someone who is training for a marathon will probably require more calories to sustain the training and as a result not lose any weight. But I would also note that if done right, you probably wouldn't gain any weight either because you're basically fueling your training. If you follow this thinking then if you reduce your calorie intake just slightly then you should lose a pound or two every two weeks. It depends on how much calories you cut each week. Also if you are at an ideal weight and you just want to lose those last pesky 10 pounds then it will take more time than for someone who is overweight or obese.
Vega Sinclair, HSA AdvisorPosted 3 years ago #
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