katye from long legs on the loseher and i met through virtual team in training and ran the princess half marathon! she was also my inspiration for creating a blog so i thought it was very fitting that she be my first guest blogger! here's what she had to say:
Hey all! This is Katye from www.longlegsontheloose.com. When my TNT buddy Grace asked me to write a guest post I had 100 ideas running through my head but decided to funnel down and eventually chose the topic of "Race Training and Weight Loss". Although this article will focus on marathon training, it can apply to any distance! Before I write anything further please note I am in now way a doctor or nutritionist (I don't think I 1 year as a exercise science and nutrition major counts) however, I am a run and walk coach and I'm pulling on my own experience as well as those of others.
I'm sure you've thought to yourself before or at least heard someone else say, "Wow I am going to train for this race and the weight is just going to fly off!". Common misconception. You're upping your mileage so it would only make sense for the number on the scale to decrease right? But go ahead and think about the last race you ran. Part of the true beauty of running is all the different people you see at races! You see all different ages, body types, sizes, paces, etc. and chances are someone who doesn't necessary look like a fit runner will kick your more trim butt. Why is this? Sometimes you might even see your weight go up during race training. Yep I said it. You may actually gain weight while marathon training. Before I continue I will say I in no way condone weighing yourself on a daily or even weekly basis (unless you see a doctor or specialist who asks you to). Honestly I believe scales are liars and mood alters. I won't go to far into it but I spent years being a slave to the number on the scale suffering from various eating disorders, mainly bulimia and exercise bulimia. I let the number on the scale completely determine my opinion of myself. Depending on what that number was I would either hate or like myself. Of course I never loved myself. The number was never low enough. But I went through treatment and continue to keep myself in check but although I've gained 30 much needed lbs in the past 4 years, I am currently the healthiest and happiest I ever have been! Remember, race training is about loving and appreciating your body for what it can do and accomplish! Not about what it looks like.
Ok so to get down to it. Why don't we drop crazy lbs during training? Why might we gain some weight? Chances are in you are training for an endurance event, you are a fairly active person to begin with. I understand some people begin training having never done any form of exercise for years and that's great! But those are not the people I'm talking about here so keep that in mind. So here are a few questions to ask yourself.
Are you drinking too many calories?
This is very easy to do whether your training or not! Many beverages like juice, soda, and alcohol are packed with sugar and calories and its much easier to forget about those calories than it would be if you were eating something calories dense. The same is true for sports drinks. They are typically filled with sugar which isn't always a bad thing, you do need to restore those electrolytes while training!, BUT you really only need these sports drinks when exercising for over and hour and they should never replace water. Now some companies are offering lighter versions of these drinks like G2 and Vitamin water light but they still have a decent amount of sugar. If you really feel you need a sports drink more often than every 5 miles or so trying mixing your favorite sports drink with water at a 50/50 ratio. Also be careful of recovery drinks and smoothies. These can be great! But if your not careful you can pack just as many calories as you just burned in one serving. Just because its form a health food store does not mean you don't need to check the nutritional info!
Are you over fueling?
Easy mistake to make and I think we are all guilty of this at one time or another. You know you have a long run in the morning so you may let yourself eat a few extra simple carbs than usual. OK, seriously I love carbs and they are a wonderful thing that our bodies NEED, especially if you are an athlete; but when you know you will be doing so serious mileage in the morning, it sometimes a little easier to let yourself over indulge and grab a few extra pieces of white bread or a few extra scopes of white pasta then you know you need. Carbs are wonderful, but make sure you are getting complex carbs from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains and go a little lighter on the simple carbs like white bread and sugary foods.
Are you better hydrated?
Believe it or not, when you are adequately hydrated you weigh more. And no this doesn't mean bloat. Your muscles are made mostly of water. When they are working hard they need more water. More water in your body means a heavier body, not extra fat!
Are you training in addition to or instead of your typical activity?
Are you running miles in addition to your normal activity or in place of it? It is common for some people to rest more during training, thinking, “Wow I ran far...I can relax the rest of the day”. Also, are you now skipping your pilates class, weight lighting, sports, swimming, or whatever it is you used to do? I completely understand the time commitment that endurance training takes and let's face it, we can't always do it all. But just remember, if you replace all that other activity with miles, you won't see any drops in weight (which is fine!). Although I don't suggest fully stopping your other workouts. Cross training is necessary for safe running! Throw in some pilates, yoga, stretching, and STRENGTH TRAINING every once in a while. So much of running is about your core and upper body...don't neglect them =)
Are you allowing too many post run "rewards"?
First of all I hate that starting as young children, we are rewarded with food. But that is a different story. Unfortunately our minds tend to focus on "rewarding" ourselves for a job well down with calorie dense junk food. I am very guilty of this one as well! Its so easy to get in an awesome race and than stop for a huge greasy breakfast to "refuel". Honestly, I think this is great! every once in a while. But not every run or even every week! Refuel yourself with something with a little more substance than pancakes. After a long run, your body needs a good mix of protein, carbs, and fat to recover. Skip the waffle or sundae (save that for special occasions) and go for an egg sandwich on a whole grain english muffin, and Turkey and cheese sandwich, even a peanut butter and jelly! Yes you are working hard but if you are always compensating your runs with calories, of course you aren't going to be losing weight. I do fully condone the post race celebration though =)
And last but not least the cliche but so true...Are you building muscle mass?
Muscle weighs more than fat. Period. Don't let this become and excuse but it just proves that the number on the scale is not the most accurate way of measuring your fitness. In stead of that number, try measuring inches or how your clothes fit =)
Okay well that is it from me! Thank you Grace for offering me the chance to guest blog!
thanks so much katye for taking time out of your busy schedule to share such an interesting and informative post! i myself have a big problem with post-run "rewards," i will definitely need to cut down during the training season (and then make up for it post-race)!