Success losing weight while long distance running?

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  • ellefox70
    ellefox70 Posts: 58 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    I seem to be an outlier in this realm. Marathon training causes me to drop weight easily. Sometimes so much that during my highest mileage weeks, I am eating ice cream nightly to pack as many calories as I could to slow it down.

    This is my husbands experience too. He eats constantly whilst training and really pays attention to his nutrition, and will still lose weight. Very frustrating for him.
  • MobyCarp
    MobyCarp Posts: 2,927 Member
    I've maintained my weight mostly in the 160-165 lb. range for over 5 years now. During this time, I've run 13 half marathons, completely run 3 full marathons, and started one other full marathon with an unfortunate DNF a mile from the finish. I expect to run 2 more half marathons and 1 more full marathon this year, though I won't be running for speed at Shoreline Half a week from tomorrow; I've agreed to be a pacer for that one.

    I ignore online calculations of how much to eat and mechanized calculations of calories burned. They are not accurate enough for weight maintenance. I watch the scale trend, and adjust how many calories I eat up or down in response to perceived scale trends down or up. It can be a challenge to avoid losing below my maintenance range in marathon training, but I think I'm getting to where it's more routine. It's a different sort of challenge to avoid gaining after the marathon, when I need to cut down on running for recovery; but somehow I've managed to do it.

    During this five year period, my base daily calories have ranged from 2200 to 3330 depending on what was going on in my life and athletic endeavors, and what I needed to eat to keep the weight trending sideways. I do make upward adjustments for running, but they are far less than the calories Garmin says I burn. Most of my running is built into my base calories. Upward adjustments to the base are a matter of getting myself to eat an extra 100 or 200 calories per day, and then making that routine. Downward adjustments to the base are hard for a few days, then my body gets used to the new routine and I'm not hungry all the time any more.

    Ditto on the comments about getting enough protein. Enough protein and enough fiber is key for me to feel satiated, while I need to avoid too much fiber in the process of getting enough calories to support my running habit.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,473 Member
    I've been running for about 6 years and have maintained my weight pretty well. I gain weight when I travel and don't get as much exercise, plus eating out more often, but then when I'm home and running 5-6 days a week, it comes off again. Last fall I knew I wanted to lose some weight prior to beginning marathon training after spending 3 months on the road. I rebuilt my base mileage, lost the 8 pounds I needed to lose, then started marathon training. I was surprised that although I ate a lot, I continued to lose. I got into what I thought was maintenance, and continued to lose. Not fast, but in the end I was down 16 pounds instead of the 8 I intended. After my marathon, I assumed I'd gain back the weight, but so far I've bounced up and down 2 pounds, but that's it. I'm running about 35-40 miles a week. I get enough exercise between running, walking and biking, I can eat pretty much whatever I want. I eat back all my exercise calories and if I'm still hungry at the end of the day, I'll have a piece of cheese or something, even when it's over the goal. Still, my weight stays steady. FWIW, I'm 60 and hypothyroid as well.
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 2,897 Member
    I have completed 2 half marathons, one full marathon and 2 Half Iron distance triathlons in the last 12 months. During most of this time, I didn't lose any weight, since I was eating back my exercise calories. That changed this spring when I started training for my latest Half Iron distance triathlon held on June 19th.

    The difference is that in mid April I started working with a registered dietician (who coincidentally happens to be a pro body builder). The RD built a roughly 2500 cal/day plan for me that was fairly high in protein (ave. 175g) and we decided that I would eat 6 x's per day to help keep my hunger in check. The other factor was that the RD's recommended diet was aligned with my tri coach's race fueling plan, allowing me to fuel my long workouts as I normally would. This means that I usually consumed about 250 calories in carbs & electrolytes per hour during my longer training rides and runs. That way, I had the energy to complete the training sessions, but would be right back on the RD's plan once the workouts were over each day. I trained 7 days/week with long workouts on Saturdays and Sundays. The RD and I communicated every few days to see how I was responding to both the diet and training load. The net result was that between April 12th and June 19th I lost about 16lbs and turned in a PR at the 70.3 distance. So for me, it took some expert help to figure out the right balance to combine weight loss with proper fueling during higher volume training weeks.

    I intend to continue this approach as I once again build volume for my "A" race, the Ironman 70.3 in Lake Placid on September 9th.
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    As long as you track your calories and eat at a deficit then there should be no problem.
  • kgb6days
    kgb6days Posts: 880 Member
    When training for my marathon I was hungry ALL THE TIME. 20 mile runs, while using up a bunch of calories, also created a hunger in me that I could not ignore or satisfy. Maybe it was mental too, but I did gain weight while training for that. I was able to lose weight pretty easily while training for half marathons. My husband and daughter lost weight while training for a marathon, but they eat LCHF (low carb high fat). In fact my daughter got a little too thin and had to add in more food.