Goal Weight & Marathon Training

Hello! I am the heaviest (and widest) I’ve ever been and I’m on a low carb/IF method of getting down to 150 pounds. I’m also training for the Air Force Marathon so it gives me plenty of time to get back in shape and ready (it’s in September 2022). I have done a half marathon but this will be my first marathon, so I’m pretty excited. Running is a passion of mine so you like running, don’t be afraid to add me :)

Replies

  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,379 Member
    It is difficult to try to lose a lot of weight while training for a marathon. You get really hungry and you need to fuel your runs sufficiently or they will not be productive. I assume you are just now starting training? (Most plans are 16-20 weeks.) You don't say how much weight you hope to lose, but I definitely wouldn't try for anything more than 1 lb. a week. In the later weeks you might want to be even more conservative and go for 1/2 lb. or just maintenance.

    As stated above, some people are able to do endurance training while going low carb, but it isn't easy. Carbs give you quick and easy energy. Fat will give you energy, but it is less efficient and it takes time for your body to get used to it. Years ago I had a serious sugar crash on a hike when doing low carb. That memory is not a good one. FWIW I am a runner (about 35 mpw) and I eat a lot of carbs to fuel my runs. I am in long term maintenance though.

    Try the low carb thing if you enjoy that way of eating, but if you find yourself lacking energy then you might do better eating some complex carbs and just limiting the highly processed foods.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,875 Member
    In addition to what others have said, keep an eye on things with IF. I've done IF on and off for years for various reasons, but I can't "train" with IF. I spent a good 5-6 years endurance cycling and IF didn't work at all for me when actively training and trying to progress. My training sessions were just crap, particularly as I progressed to longer and longer sessions. In my experience, long distance endurance training with a calorie deficit is hard enough as it is and performance is lessened...IF and low carb would make it all that much harder for me personally.

    I have often done IF in the summer months, but I'm currently training for a sprint triathlon in August...so that's a no go this summer. Most of my training is done either mid morning or mid day and I can't really get on it if I'm fasted in the morning. I've tried in the past having my eating window 8AM - 4PM but that made me miserable in the evenings and I also had a hard time getting my calories in because my training usually takes place during that same eating window and I'm not usually hungry right after a training ride or run but ravenous in the evening and morning.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 2,829 Member
    I thought conventional wisdom was not to combine marathon training with weight loss. Either lose the weight before training starts in earnest (it seems like you have a couple months before your long runs?) or after the race. It just puts too much stress on your body and does not set you up for your best performance. Good luck with your race!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,875 Member
    ahoy_m8 wrote: »
    I thought conventional wisdom was not to combine marathon training with weight loss. Either lose the weight before training starts in earnest (it seems like you have a couple months before your long runs?) or after the race. It just puts too much stress on your body and does not set you up for your best performance. Good luck with your race!

    I can only speak for myself...and when asked by friends or acquaintances I typically don't recommend endurance training while cutting weight unless it's a small amount of weight to get to a particular running or riding weight. I had my best weight loss results when I was doing a fairly moderate amount of daily exercise. My own personal biggest issue and observationally an issue I see with others is that with endurance training like marathons or half marathons or centuries and the like, the appetite grows pretty huge when training and it's just kind of hard to control the diet side of things.

    Performance is another issue but not quite as big of a deal if one is just looking to finish. It's a bigger issue if you're trying to beat previous times and set PRs in both training bouts and the race itself. Performance can also be an issue if one is eating in a way that is appropriate for dieting and regular moderate exercise, but not accounting for the volume of work actually being performed...you just hit the wall and become very fatigued and lethargic in your day to day.

    I've known people who've done it but have also found it to be exceedingly rare for people to lose a significant amount of weight while endurance training. I have no idea how...I required a lot of food and my appetite matched that...I was almost always eating. Anecdotally, the most I've ever lost endurance training was about 5-6 Lbs...I lost about 40 Lbs doing a lot of walking, running for 30 minutes 3x per week and doing some work in the weight room.

    Not sure how much the OP has to lose to get down to 150 Lbs...if it's not a huge amount of weight it's possible that she can lose it or most of it before she really gets into the actual grind. Most marathon plans I've seen for an otherwise conditioned runner are about 12 weeks...so that would put her at sometime in June or July when training would really pick up depending on when in Sept the event is...where 4 of those 12 weeks would probably still be relatively moderate, but get pretty heavy for the remaining 8 weeks.

    As a generality I would agree that losing weight and marathon are opposing goals at the macro population level...but I don't have enough context to know where the OP is actually at in terms of how much weight she has to lose and her current conditioning.