Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weight Gain

A few co-workers and I were talking today about weight loss and weight loss programs (a co-worker is using the "new" Weight Watchers program). This co-worker explained how weight loss or weight maintenance is all about choices: you can eat a donut for breakfast, but then for lunch you might have to make a less caloric choice. While I agree that choices are important, I don't agree with eating donuts for breakfast and a small salad for lunch is a great choice. I am all for nutritious dense foods for every meal that will fill you up and keep you full for hours. However, I do enjoy a few beers and desserts a couple of times a week. It is all about balance in my option, maybe more than choices.

In addition to our weight loss/maintenance chat we also talked about the weight gain phenomena that happens during marathon (or half marathon) training. Another co-worker (who is training with DreamFar) complained about the weight gain he is experiencing while training for the marathon. I am still confused at why this happens and once home did a little research. Here's what I found:

- Marathoners may be taking in extra calories without realizing it. Running long miles does not allow you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Eating nutritiously is especially important during training.

- Marathon training forces you to lose variety in your workouts and the first thing to go is weight training, which can slow down your metabolism.

- Along with the loss of variety, there is also a loss of intensity with marathon training. So again, that can slow down your metabolism.

- One explanation is that as you are training, you are building more muscle mass, which is denser than fat. So, that can appear to be weight gain.

- Another explanation is that your body is learning to store carbs to fuel you for the long runs. The glycogen storage is important for you not to "hit the wall" on the longs, but can appear as weight gain on the scale on certain days. Your body also stores water to break down the glycogen, which may also be extra weight on the scale.

What do you think about weight gain during Marathon training? What are some solutions you have to maintaining your weight during training.

A solution post (with your comments and mine) is to follow......

Today, I ran on the treadmill because it was freezing out and I wanted to do a speed workout (I prefer the treadmill for speed workouts). My plan was to do 6 x 400s with only a 400 rest in between. Here was the work out:

                 Distance    Speed
Warm up: 1 mile          6.3
                 400             7.5
                 400             6.3
                 400             7.6
                 400             6.3
                 400             7.7
                 400             6.3
                 400             7.8
                 400             6.3
                 400             7.9
                 400             6.3
                 400             8.5
                 400             6.3
Cool down: 1mile       6.3

Total Distance: 5 miles
Total Duration: 45 minutes
Incline:   .5

Great run! I could have pushed myself a little more, but this was my first speed workout since my half marathon training. I will try to increase my speed next time!

I leave this cold evening with a picture of my yummy dinner. It was a perfect night for a warm comfort meal: Slow Cooker Pot Roast!



  1. 1. I'm so glad that Weight Watchers is now making it easier (I mean, basically that's what it is) for people to choose to eat fruits and veggies.

    2. I'm of the belief that if you're eating healthy (and appropriately) during race training, weight gain is fine and normal. My weight was all over the place during my half-marathon training but I kept losing inches so really, it was a non-issue.

  2. Just found your blog! Keep up the great work! :) Love the name of your blog, too!

  3. Great post! When I was in college (I ran D3 XC and track), I always gained weight during the season then would lose weight after the season ended. I definitely attribute that to muscle gain. Nowadays though, I gain weight (<5lbs) when I'm not marathon training, but lose weight (<5lbs) when I'm marathon training. I try to eat in moderation 99% of the time (I cook vegetarian), so it's hard to say what causes the fluctuation. I'm just glad it's pretty low key!