Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take it and run Thursday: Running and Weight

Today's topice for the Runner's Lounge "Take it and run Thursday" is Running and Weight. I actually inadvertantly wrote about that a bit yesterday, in my post on the Banana Diet, but what the heck. I never tire of writing about weight issues. So let me weigh in on this a little more (tee hee). (Okay, sorry about that.)

I've noticed in the numerous blogs that I read, regularly and irregularly, that there is a common trend of people training for marathons or other long distances, who are complaining that they have put on weight despite their increased running. In my totally non-scientific, non-statistical method of evaluation, I have also gathered that a lot of these are people who, like me, have lost weight in the past, with the assistance of running for exercise. Now we are in maintenance, pretty much anyway, and are running more than ever before, but a few pounds have crept on.

I suspect that other people have already commented on the problem of thinking that running a lot means you can eat whatever you want, and maybe the weight gain is due to an excess of pizza and beer.

That's not my problem. I don't eat pizza, I don't drink beer, and except for rare exceptions I really don't eat or drink anything that is not full of protein, good carbs, antioxidants, or Omega 3 oils. Yet I am one of those people who has gained weight while simultaneously running an average of 30+ miles per week.

I do believe that running or other cardio exercise is necessary for not only losing weight, but keeping the weight off. But I'm also skeptical about the whole calorie thing. Either I am eating a lot more than I think I am (and I recognize that I am eating more than, say, 1500-1600 calories per day), or I am just not burning off calories at the rate you would expect for the amount that I exercise.

Running frequent races does create situations which tend to negate weight loss. There's the pre-race pasta dinner. Even if your intake is modest, as I like to think mine is, eating pasta a couple of times a month doesn't help. And then there's the post-race treat. I would hope that the calories in the post-race treat do not exceed the calories burned in the run, but if that run is burning a lot fewer calories than I believe... well, you see the problem.

Bottom line is, my weight goes hand in hand with my running. If the running has led me to pick up a few pounds of muscle, water weight and, I'll admit it, flab, I also know that the running is responsible for keeping me moderately thin, strong, and muscular (and being strong and muscular makes me look thinner than I really am). I believe that if I weighed a little less I might be faster, so I'm working on that. We'll see how it goes.


Laura said...

I struggle with the same issues. Yesterday I totally binged on chocolate chip cookies, but even though friends and family are constantly telling me that I can eat what I want because I'm running a marathon, I know I probably ate more calories than I'm going to burn! I really need to practice more self-control too.

Andrew is getting fit said...

Hmm...I think you are right.

Running a lot makes you hungrier too which doesn't help.