Marathon Weight Gain (Is Fine by Me) & WIAW #6

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.

Today is Wednesday so let’s talk eats! (Thanks Jenn, Arman, and Laura!)

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…)

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Accurate

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.

 

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Breakfast: Homemade pancakes + PB + strawbs +syrup; unpictured glass of milk

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.

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Snack: Maple Pecan & Sea Salt Kind Bar

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.

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Lunch: Santa Fe Salad – mesclun, black beans, cheese, corn, avocado, pico, sour cream, corn chips + sourdough slice

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.

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Dinner: Shrimp Pasta Salad + grainy baguette + watermelon

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.

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Lactose-free vanilla ice cream + crushed Oreo

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!

 

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12 thoughts on “Marathon Weight Gain (Is Fine by Me) & WIAW #6

  1. Evangeline Kennedy says:

    I love this so much! It’s hilarious, in a sad way, that there are so many weight prevention articles for training for halfs or marathons. I mean, you’re training for a marathon!!! You cares if you gain a few pounds. When your race is over, you will have logged hundreds of miles and ran 26.2 miles! That’s crazy awesome!

    I think those articles undermine the strength and endurance built by making runners feel bad about gaining weight, ya know? Our bodies are working so darn hard for us, they deserve respect and nourishment 🙂

    Like

    • lifeofendurance says:

      I know, right? The process and feat of endurance itself is so amazing, yet everything seems to get so convoluted and complicated. Something I love about running is that almost anyone can do it and improve. Not everyone is going to be speedy or do distance, but I’ve heard countless inspiring stories about how running has changed people’s lives. I’d love if more focus was on these stories rather than weight loss/gain/weight in general!

      Like

  2. Lyss says:

    “Food is never deserved or undeserved, good or bad, earned or unearned” -YES to this! You have such a great mindset with your training Caroline and that is admirable. Some people run races for the wrong reasons (ie losing weight, toning out, etc.) and forget it should just be about pure enjoyment- not what your body will look like after all the training and the race! Thank you for this, loved this post girly

    Like

    • lifeofendurance says:

      Thank you so much Lyss! I truly appreciate your kind words. There are so many amazing benefits to running that I’ve found when I take how it affects my physical appearance out of the equation. The awesome rush of endorphins, the sense of accomplishment when I’ve done a challenging run – that’s what I’m in it for. 16+ weeks is a long time to train, and for me, hoping for a physical appearance result just simply would not keep me satisfied and in it for the long run (pun totally intended 😉 )!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) says:

    Amen. Amen. Amen. I was going to copy the phrase that Lyss copied, but instead I’m just going to say, ‘Thank you.’ Remembering that God made my life for so much more than to lose or gain weight, is a good reminder that gets me out of myself and puts my eyes back where they need to be. God made me to serve the body of Christ, not myself, and it’s so much more rewarding when we do that. ❤ Eating so that I can be effective in that way is one of the best gifts in the world!!! ❤ Thank you for this. You have really balanced and precious perspective, and I want to learn more from you.

    Like

    • lifeofendurance says:

      Emily you are so kind to say such wonderful things! And I totally agree with you, that to fulfill our purpose and to serve others, we need to be fueling ourselves so that we can really accomplish that mission. Food and this life are such a precious gift, and I would much rather spend my time celebrating that gift rather than thinking about food, weight, calories, or really anything else that isn’t really feeding my soul. ❤

      Like

    • lifeofendurance says:

      That’s exactly it, Liz! I just figure that if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, whatever! As long as I feel healthy (both mentally AND physically) and can run injury-free, I’m really a happy camper!

      Like

  4. Ellie says:

    I gained 10lbs during marathon training and it was not noticeable and actually I felt fine. A marathon is a big task. Would you rather be 140lbs and not a marathoner or 150lbs and have completed that HUGE RACE?! I think I know what I would choose 😉

    Like

    • lifeofendurance says:

      Girl, you are so right! What’s 10 pounds compared to the accomplishment of a marathon?!? That took about .0001 seconds to decide in my mind. I’m so excited to run it, and to be able to say I’m a marathoner. Thanks for sharing your experience, because I was wondering if it was any different if you were a super speedy marathoner like yourself!
      Sidenote: finally listened to the Rich Roll podcast per your suggestion and I am a HUGE fan already! Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. kerri says:

    Yes totally agree! I find that when you just see food as fuel for your training then it doesn’t really matter! I didn’t gain weight in my training because I realized that I wasn’t doing all that much mileage (tapped out at 45ish miles per week) so there really was no reason to stuff my face if I wasnt hungry! Crazy how much people think running will lead to weight loss- it can often be the opposite!

    Like

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