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Switching to Maintenance as a Long Distance Runner (Training for Marathons)

GregInORLGregInORL Posts: 141Member Member Posts: 141Member Member
This year I've started the process of going from an Obese Runner to a Healthy Weight runner. In another month or two i'll have dropped 60 pounds bringing me under my upper range of healthy weight. I currently run over 20 miles a week. I've lost the weight with MFP set to sedentary and wearing one of my garmins (vivosmart 4 day to day, fenix 5s for runs) to estimate all day HR and calories burned. I only really ate back some calories earned on long run days. When switching to maintenance I wont be slowing down my activity as I have 2 marathons in January and March of 2020.

Garmin runners in maintenance how are you approaching your intake? Eat maintenance + 75% active calories? "How accurate are these things" I guess is my main question.

Replies

  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 4,721Member Member Posts: 4,721Member Member
    It’s different for everyone and you won’t know until you see how much you can eat and maintain. Most people suggest coasting in to maintenance - lower your rate of loss until your last few pounds are only at a half pound a week, and then the transition will only be 250 less calories a day. By then you should have a fair idea of how many calories it takes to lose at the expected rate, and thus an idea of how many to maintain. Then tweak as needed based on your results.

    Most of the runners I know who use Garmins don’t eat back exercise calories at all, they just eat a set amount per day.
  • GregInORLGregInORL Posts: 141Member Member Posts: 141Member Member
    It’s different for everyone and you won’t know until you see how much you can eat and maintain. Most people suggest coasting in to maintenance - lower your rate of loss until your last few pounds are only at a half pound a week, and then the transition will only be 250 less calories a day. By then you should have a fair idea of how many calories it takes to lose at the expected rate, and thus an idea of how many to maintain. Then tweak as needed based on your results.

    Most of the runners I know who use Garmins don’t eat back exercise calories at all, they just eat a set amount per day.

    That may be the best way to do it. Figure out my maintenance, add in the calories burn rate i average at my current mileage and adjust from that point.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 2,416Member Member Posts: 2,416Member Member
    I regularly run about 35 mpw, with one marathon a year where I peak at 55 or so. For a half I'll peak at 40-45. I have been maintaining for several years. I find that my maintenance calories are higher than given by mfp. I also eat back 100% of my exercise calories. As mileage goes up, I am hungry all the time so I eat a lot. The only time I have a problem is when I actually run the marathon, when I am running less while tapering and recovering, but eating the same because I am still hungry. My weight will go up 3 or 4 lbs. The post-race hunger eventually dies down and post-race water-retention lessens so losing weight is usually not too difficult.
  • GregInORLGregInORL Posts: 141Member Member Posts: 141Member Member
    I regularly run about 35 mpw, with one marathon a year where I peak at 55 or so. For a half I'll peak at 40-45. I have been maintaining for several years. I find that my maintenance calories are higher than given by mfp. I also eat back 100% of my exercise calories. As mileage goes up, I am hungry all the time so I eat a lot. The only time I have a problem is when I actually run the marathon, when I am running less while tapering and recovering, but eating the same because I am still hungry. My weight will go up 3 or 4 lbs. The post-race hunger eventually dies down and post-race water-retention lessens so losing weight is usually not too difficult.

    Thanks for this. I'm trying to make it through a whole fall/winter marathon training cycle without leaving what will be my maintenance range. I CAN do this.
  • The_EnginerdThe_Enginerd Posts: 3,925Member Member Posts: 3,925Member Member
    I didn't start running until I was already in maintenance for over a year, but over the years of maintenance I've varied from no exercise to 60+ miles per week. I eat back 100% of my exercise calories, but I'm also honest and consistent with my exercise calories. How accurate your calories estimates are depend on how you are estimating and how close your actual calories burned align with those calculated within the algorithms. A Garmin with the HRM has been pretty accurate on average for me, although it varies quite a bit from day to day due to changes in my HR due to weather and recovery. I tend to just use the formula:

    (Net Calories Burned) = 0.63 x (Weight in Lbs) x (miles)

    I did find through tracking of my calorie intake and weight long term that I need to eat a bit more than MFP estimates for my base calories before exercise calories are included. Otherwise I slowly lose about a 1/4 lb a week.

    edit: saw how you were currently estimated your calories burned. If that method has yield the expected results in terms of long term weight loss rate, than I would stick with it. e.g. If you were targeting 1 lb/week and eating at a 500 calorie deficit, and you actually were losing 1 lb/week over the long term, then your estimates should be pretty spot on. The amount that differs should tell you how close you are and what sort of adjustments you may need.

    You will see some big swings in the short term usually as you switch from losing to maintenance, and that is quite a bit of change, so many folks tend to ease into maintenance by adding 100 calories/day every week or two until they reach their maintenance calorie level.
    edited May 22
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