Hello and Happy Wednesday! How’s the week going so far? I’m hoping it’s going amazingly well for you. I’m in my last week of my summer job and I have to stop and wonder where the time went. Summer has seemed to fly by this year, more than other years.
But’s let’s also talk about marathoning and weight gain and all that jazz too. It’s no secret that I’m training for a marathon (honestly think I’ve mentioned it to every one by now…)
As someone who just enjoys doing reserach and reading everything I possibly can on running and the marathon/half marathon/ultra running event, one common topic that continually comes up is “marathon weight gain.” A simple Google search of this term yields about 971k results. That’s a lot. And most of the results are going to tell you something like “how to avoid weight gain while training for a marathon” or “mistakes that lead to weight gain.”
But, I’m just going to have to say no to this type of thinking. And here are a few reasons why…
First, our bodies are really good at being efficient and just functioning the way they should. Basically, if you eat what your body needs, you’ll probably be okay. Everyone’s body has a different “happy weight range.” Yours is probably different from mine, which is different from your best friend’s, which is different from your next door neighbor’s…you get my drift. And adding marathon training into this only produces more variation. What I’m saying is this: my body is going to do what it’s going to do. With all the running and eating I’m going to be doing, my weight might fluctuate as my body figures out what’s going on and what it needs. My “happy range” might change, the way my clothes fit might shift, and that’s okay by me.
Second, a lot of the attitudes behind marathon weight gain/avoiding it seem a little off to me. For example, a lot of reasoning around eating while training goes like this, “I ran x amount of miles so I deserve to eat that cupcake,” or “I didn’t run at all today so I don’t deserve to eat carbs.” Oh boy. Where do I start with this…
Food is never deserved or undeserved, good or bad, earned or unearned.
I’m going to eat because my body needs fuel. If I’m craving a big green salad with veggies and avocado, that’s just as great as me craving a cupcake. The idea of me depriving myself or only honoring my cravings if I run/workout is not a healthy mindset. When you deprive yourself of what you’re truly craving, food becomes the focus. Not the countless miles you log, the mental hurdles you overcome, not the hard work you are doing to prepare yourself for a test of endurance. I don’t want to look back on my first-ever marathon training and remember that all I thought about was my weight. There’s just so much I can focus on instead, and focusing on other things will bring me way more joy and fulfillment.
Third, my body needs a lot of fuel to power well through my hard workouts and easy workouts alike. Now usually, I like to fuel up with foods that don’t kill my tummy while running. Usually that’s a lot of bananas, peanut butter, toast/bagels, fruit, nuts…you get the gist. These are all very wholesome and nutrient dense choices that will really help me feel powerful and strong. Occasionally, after a really long or hard run, a big burrito bowl from Chipotle (with all the guac of course) is what’s going to make me feel powerful and strong. And that’s my focus. What kind of foods will help you feel like you can crush your goals? These foods are going to vary from person to person, but I’m going to do what’s right for me by eating foods I love and that make me feel great.
Finally, the marathon is long ya’ll. The other day I ran 6 miles and I was like, “okay cool just gotta run another 20.” Not easy is an understatement. I just don’t think going into a marathon with weight loss as a goal is a good enough goal. Weight loss won’t motivate you to hit your paces you hope to hit during your tempo runs. Weight loss won’t be there for you when you’ve run 8 miles already and just want to stop but you know you need to keep at it. What will keep you motivated: proving to yourself you can do hard things, accomplishing a dream and goal you’ve had forever, or running in honor of a charity you care deeply for. That is what will sustain you.
So that’s why I’m not worried about what happens to my weight and body during marathon training. Things are probably going to shift around. Muscle will be gained in some places and lost in others. No matter what, I will honor my body and give it the fuel it needs, because my body is my friend, not an enemy.
Thanks for letting me ramble and show you food! Enjoy a wonderful Wednesday friends!
P.S. I finally figured out how to connect my Instagram (took me awhile, I know…), so if you’d like, go ahead and follow me here!