Friday, June 5, 2009

Marathon Training Reflection: Weight

by Meghann on June 5, 2009

Along my marathon journey I have had quite a few of you ask me how the training effected my weight. As I have a variety of readers with a varied background, I usually try not to discuss weight on my blog. What is comfortable for me, may not be for some people and I have discovered the subject of weight tends to be taboo on healthy living blogs.

With that being said, I want to warn anyone reading this post that for the first section I will be discussing how marathon training has effected my weight. If this offends you or is a trigger mechanism PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE skip this post I in no way want to offend anyone, but this is a subject I am always curious about with other marathoners and found my experience fascinating and totally different then I was expecting. 

I want to share as much of this experience as possible and this was a big part. Please consider yourself warned. 🙂

I have to confess when I started marathon training back in January, my weight was at its lowest point. I honestly found it a bit strange to weigh so low mere weeks after the holiday festivities had ended, but I really don’t weigh myself on a regular basis anyways and did not think much of it.

As marathon training progressed I tried to monitor my weight and hunger levels as close as possible.

The massive hunger I felt during training came when I started piling on the miles. I found by mid-afternoon I wanted to chew my arm off and the casual nibbling while preparing meals got a little out of hand. I couldn’t help it. I was burning soo many calories a day and I was HUNGRY.

To help fuel me up and keep the hunger at bay as much as possible I upped my dairy, carbs and protein intake. I even added larger afternoon snacks to help me make it to dinner. My desserts became larger and heavier. I was listening to what my body wanted and not afraid to give it to it.

During training it was also hard having so many other people throw advice at me on when I should be eating and what I should be eating while I was putting my body through extra effort. It was enough to make my head spin and as well intentioned as it was I decided what was best for me was to listen to what my body wanted. Rules are all fine and dandy, but they were thrown out the window. I ate and ate, but I ate what I liked and what I craved, not what some magazine was telling me I should eat.

Originally I was pretty scared of my weight dipping down too low. So, you can imagine my surprise when I actually started gaining weight! I averaged 5 pounds higher then my starting weight throughout marathon training. In the last few weeks, with the extra long runs, I gained 3 more for a total gain of 8 pounds while training.

I had heard of people gaining weight while training for marathons, but for some reason I still was not expecting it.

Please keep in mind, not once did I complain about the weight gain, mention it to anyone or make any changes to my diet to try and get rid of it. I figured if my body wanted that extra weight there while training, then it was meant to be there.

It’s funny because 8 pounds seem like a lot, but in the end all of my clothes still fit me and my body became a powerhouse of strength and endurance. I like to judge by clothes and what my body can achieve, not by the scale.

So, there you have it, I ran my marathon 8 pounds heavier then when I had started it. Funny, right? I also ended it with well defined calves, awesome back muscles, great muscular thighs and did I mention with a sub 4:30 finishing time?!? 🙂

As I said my body needed that additional weight to power me through those 26.2 miles and in no way did I fight it. I know in time my weight fluctuates and will eventually even its self out. What would have been worse would have been if I tried to deprive myself of anything while running. Not only would my body have rebelled, but mentally I would have hated myself for not enjoying the cupcakes and would have risked injuries with improper nutrition!

Looking back I know I made the right decisions and in truth the scale does not matter!

4 days after my marathon I still believe I have one smoking body! Thank you body for being good to me. Thank you for allowing me to train injury free *knocks on wood*, thank you for letting me trust you to make the right adaptations to life and thank you for taking me through 26.2 miles!

Ok I tried to make that as informative as possible, without anyone taking offense. Please keep all negative comments at bay,  I knew what I was getting myself into when I posted about this and I’m ok with it!

Oh I also do not plan to follow up on whether the extra weight is still there or not. I am also making no effort to lose it. With my return to a normal routine and life, everything will work itself out in the end. :)

I have a couple of more Marathon Relfection posts in mind. Apparently you guys are interested in the dirty details of miles 22-26. I will see what I can do!

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June 5, 2009

Leave it to me be freezing while it is 90 degrees outside! I blame the subzero temps of my office as well as my delish, satisfying icey breakfast. I had been CRAVING a green smoothie ever since San Diego. This morning I decided to break out the old POS blender (I miss the Breville!) and more »

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