Halfway through marathon training & gaining weight......

(68 Posts)
MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 08:35:13

.......despite being very aware of my nutrition and incoming/outgoing caloriesconfused I'm running about 50km a week with my long run currently up to 2 hours the rest being interval/hills/tempo & fartleks. I also tap dance once a week and do a Pilates class.......I have cut out sugar & alcohol completely since new year (I am taking my training VERY seriously!) and I'm eating a high protein/low carb diet only eating brown rice/pasta, quinoa etc when I do have carbs and yet I've GAINED 5lb since I started training and 2lb in the past week ARGH why why why????? I have had a quick chat with Google and it seems I'm either not eating enough or I'm storing glycogen & water; I know I'm not eating too much and yet the temptation to reduce the calorie intake is overwhelming hmm I did not expect to gain weight during blardy marathon training-anybody else experience this or got any words of wisdom to help?! After stepping off the scales this morning,very disheartened, I told DH I shall just eat dust from now on......wink

CQ Tue 21-Jan-14 08:39:51

I'm no expert but here's my thoughts.

Could you be gaining muscle, which is heavy?

Ditch the scales. If you're doing that much exercise and have a healthy diet then what does it matter what you weigh? It's just a number. I bet the inches are falling away (if you have any left to lose).

Don't obsess about a couple of pounds here or there - that's no more than a decent poo!

I'm sure someone more scientific will be along shortly smile

But just cut yourself some slack - 2 pounds is really nothing and scales can be notoriously inaccurate and inconsistent.

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 09:19:56

grin at a poo:-) yes-think I'm being a bit irrational -I'm just trying very hard to be fit & healthy and I (wrongly!) associate weight gain with me doing something very obvious wrong!

Thank you smile

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 10:03:27

it's not unheard of is it, think I read somewhere that 11% of people training for a marathon gain weight, 11% lose weight and the rest stay about the same (probably in RW)

how do you feel? I gain a bit of weight when I'm running (also training for marathon when I'm not waiting for my calf muscles to heal hmm) but I look smaller and am firmer all over and my body fat % goes down, lean mass up a bit - although if it was possible to gain that much muscle from running bodybuilders would just run 5 miles a day every day wouldn't they? maybe you needed to gain a bit of weight?

bronya Tue 21-Jan-14 10:05:51

How do your clothes fit? Are you sure it's not muscle?

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 11:00:57

Clothes fit the same but I feel bigger! That may be psychosomatic but it's just frustrating -I am not super skinny and have a normal bmi so am hoping it's muscle-I've had a word with myself & decided to ditch the scales & use inches & my clothes as a guide smile

Lazysuzanne Tue 21-Jan-14 11:42:18

I weigh myself daily, it fluctuates by around 2lb either side of a steady average and for no apparent reason.

I can't have lost or gained that amount of body tissue in such a short time so it must be the amount of material/ water in my digestive system and/or changes in muscle glycogen.

IMO any lean body tissue gained is a good thing for health (although for the sake of running efficiency the smaller and lighter the better)

I try to look for changes in body fat, usually apparent around the jawline and midsection, but yeah I hear ya, it's hard not to focus on what the scales say.
Maybe get some that measure body fat...not sure how accurate they are?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 13:33:33

I weigh self daily too, and use this app called Happy Scale to do all the calculations and give me a trend (because it does fluctuate dramatically sometimes) so over time I can see if I am genuinely losing or gaining or maintaining and for body fat I take the reading from the scale and the reading from the one-site calipers (Accu-measure, although none of these things are very accurate it's just watching the trend isn't it) and work on the assumption I am somewhere in the middle of the two readings (which are out by over 10%!) my body fat doesn't alter very much at all, with a massive effort I can bring it down a tiny bit but my weight careering around all over the place has to be fluid doesn't it?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 13:34:26

I sound obsessed. It's just a sort of hobby. blush I do have a life too. I think.

Lazysuzanne Tue 21-Jan-14 18:12:34

not a bit of it, thats just being conscientious grin
I record my weight on a spreadsheet which is linked to a graph.

I'm kinda hmm about those body fat scales, do you think they even show an accurate trend?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 18:51:23

sometimes the scales are ridiculous, I prefer the calipers but that's only because they put me in the extremely very lean category (when I think it's just that my podge tends not to collect in that particular site) while the scales are just sort of shrugging in a you-could-do-better way - am crawling back to one of my old gyms tomorrow and might ask them to do a 5 site reading which is probably more accurate

or I could just Stop Worrying, in some ways I quite like my nungas myself a bit fat anyway

sorry op, I wanted to say it's not necessarily a bad thing to gain a little weight while training for a marathon but instead am showing off all my personal neuroses blush

Domus Tue 21-Jan-14 18:57:56

I gained a few pounds while marathon training.

I'm sure there are lots of theories as to why it might be but I don't think it matters. My clothes didn't get too tight!

Mrsfrank, what would you eat in a typical day?

Suzanne and Mitchy...daily weighing and spreadsheets shock...do you think you should maybe, you know, get out more? hmm? Are you bikini models?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 19:10:11

it's just an anxiety thing with me I think, I like to know these things, I also weigh all my food where possible - realise this is not normal but went through a horrible period of being a few stone overweight due to medication, which I pretty much have to stay on, so whatever helps to keep that under control is ok

would probably do a spreadsheet and graphs if I was more numerate but am pleased that I found an app to do them

I'm only kidding a bit. smile

Lazysuzanne Tue 21-Jan-14 19:18:04

he he,
I do get out...I go to the gymgrin

I like graphs and spreadsheets,
I have spreadsheets for other things too, monthly and quarterly business turnover, profit percentages etc
All in lovely colours with special rainbow effects wink

I find it interesting the way it fluctuates in response to changes in activity levels, thats why I'm interested in the bodyfat scales

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 19:21:49

just be thankful you are not one of my real life friends trying to serve me a meal while I get wrappers of the ingredients out of the bin and zap the barcodes for MFP blush

I am getting better at just looking at a meal and thinking, fuck it, and just logging 1500 calories for the whole thing

it is hard to fuel yourself properly for marathon training though, the hunger goes beyond your actual needs but if you undereat you run like shit - it got better when I committed carbicide on a regular basis

anyway op, when is marathon? which one?

Lazysuzanne Tue 21-Jan-14 19:26:06

it's life logging, thats fashionable now...I'm sure it is wink

I realise this is straying from OP, but Mitchy do you not have a sense by now, after logging for so long and staying within a limit, if you are overeating though, and if/when you do occasionally do that, know that you will be back to normal eating the next day and it won't have done any harm?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 19:37:59

yes, am not terrified of gaining weight PANTS ON FIRE but because of marathon training it has been v helpful to share my food and exercise diary with my coach, it's how I realised I needed a massive amount few more carbs especially around long runs and what helps me to recover better from those and that sort of thing, and of course the difference between eating 2000 calories but only netting about 400 after a long run and so on

I will probably keep it up unless am not training for something

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 19:44:41

it's all probably yet another way of avoiding confrontation with all the Real Things I have to worry about blush

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 20:50:14

Thank you all for replying -wow mitchy I'm starting to feel I need a spreadsheet! Maybe that's my downfall - I don't have enough spreadsheetsgrin

Today I have eaten: Greek yoghurt with raspberries for breakfast, chicken omelette for lunch & I just got in from work so DH is warming up his homemade tomato soup which is onions, tomatoes, garlic & balsamic vinegar; I've drunk 3 cups of tea, 2 fruit teas & a lot of water! I did a 25 min treadmill interval session this morning.

wanders off to start spreadsheet of waist size

Domus Tue 21-Jan-14 21:00:38

That's nowhere near enough food, is it? blush Soup, chicken omelette, yogurt with raspberries is a lovely healthy lunch for someone running 30(?) miles a week. It's not a day's food. Where are the carbs?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 21:09:32

I am shock where are the carbs too? this is one of those things where calories are not created equal - maybe have been brainwashed but it helped me a lot to aim for about 70-75% daily calories to be carb based (not plant based carbs, pasta style carbs)

I alter the quantities according to miles per week but breakfast is porridge with berries, chia seeds and honey; lunch is usually an omelette with lots of veg (more of a frittata really) plus toast if I have been for a run, supper is pasta or rice or quinoa with meat or fish and vegetables

gained weight when miles crept up but visibly smaller and needed smaller clothes etc

Its not enough of anything really! Your body must think you are on a desert island - it will be conserving fat at all costs. Aren't you feeling tired? Definitely need more carbs, protein, veg and fat! The carbs don't have to be the horrible high GI ones, have lentils, beans, chickpeas, sweet potato. Add in snacks of raw nuts, maybe some apple and nut butter or cheese. Add a side salad to your omelette with spinach, avocado, beetroot, toasted seeds - any other veg you like. Have carbs before your runs, they will all get burned up, then have a small snack with carbs and fat afterwards for recovery.

Actually - I should have said, your body must think its on a desert island being chased by a lion! Be kinder to yourself, you can't sustain that level of activity with that kind of food intake, you will make yourself ill - and apart from anything else, that won't do your marathon time any favours smile

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 21:19:59

Oooooh Mitchy that all sounds lovely -can I live with you grin

Ok -so need more carbs (I acknowledge today has been a bit low in food but Tuesdays are my busiest work days backtracking)

Yesterday I had peanut butter on Wholemeal toast for breakfast, chicken & brown rice for lunch and a 'deli' tea of cold meats, houmous & olives

hmm - its a bit better, still not seeing a lot of veg or good fat or calories though. Did you train yesterday?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 21:23:46

if you like cats dogs horses and teenagers you'd be very welcome!

which marathon are you training for?

I was chewing up everything in sight, edible or not, until I upped the horrible high GI carbs - although people do train for marathons on lower carb diets don't they, am not sure how they cope or if they are any good

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 21:27:08

Thank you sleep -I shall take heed -guess my body's in starvation mode hmm

Need to make time for nutrition; 3 DS's, busy job & marathon training is all a bit time consuming!

Weirdly I'm not constantly knackered but I do worry about injury & getting ill-I'm usually a very well informed person and will only do something once I've studied all the info out there but this is one of those situations where I've over-read and confused myself with high protein/low carb versus good carb/bad carb and no sugar diets and it's all gone a bit shock in my head!

Thank you all-scales put away, more carbs & enjoy the running grin

There's anecdotal evidence of it mitch, but I think the jury is still out. Interestingly, my DH's friend has been low carb for a couple of years and despite not being a regular cyclist managed a 3hr bike ride in the Alps (massive climbs, obvs) last summer without bonking, he didn't think anything of it but I pointed it out later when we chatting about nutrition, it was interesting to see that pure fat-burners apparently do exist. My DH, a regular cyclist, definitely feels better on low GI though, ate we low/moderate for a while but he felt permanently exhausted, not just when cycling. Added a few more lentils etc to dinner and he's a changed man smile

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 21:30:55

Mitchy -Manchester marathon, doing the Blackpool half as a training run. Did the Blackpool one last year & loved it!

Yes I did train yesterday sleep, just a 25 min treadmill (10 jog, 10 run, 5 jog)

I read out the replies to DH who gave me a 'told you so' face smartarse

Gotta love the knowitall DH grin

Definitely relax about the food a bit and enjoy the running smile

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 21:35:33

is Manchester a spring one?

do you take any fuel during your long (10 mile+) runs? whether you do or not it's supposed to help recovery if you have some protein immediately after - something like chocolate milk and an almond butter sandwich?

thanks to the wonder of my record keeping I can see that during this non-running period I'm enjoying 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein but have lost a bit of weight

Lazysuzanne Tue 21-Jan-14 21:37:28

I've always considered lentils to be a panacea wink

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 21:42:28

Yes it's the first Sunday in April. Don't take fuel out with me at the moment as eating when running has me made retch in the past but after my last 2 hour run (21km) I felt rough when I got home so going to be experimenting with different foods on long runs now-I can't do the energy gels they upset my stomach (don't need sharting on a 2 hour slog!) but I'm going to give banana a go-what do you take out? Lots of friends have suggested things like jelly babies & haribo but I'm trying to cut out processed sugar.

I do have either a smoothie or alpro choc milk when I get in from a long run smile

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 21:53:53

I've been experimenting with the gels but am often sick unless I sip them very very slowly, if I eat well the night before and that morning I can run for about 3 hours (or 2:51 according to Garmin) and just spend the rest of that day eating back all the lovely calories, but I do drink lucozade diluted 50:50 with water

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 21:58:30

Oh I can't wait to get my garmin! Should be able to get one in Feb-on longer runs my phone battery can't cope with the Map my run app & music so end up with no battery for last 20 mins!

Right -will try some liquid then -will see what I can get that is low in processed sugar smile thanks Mitchy

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 21:58:33

torq are the gels I had most success with so far, someone on here recommended them

was desperately hoping to get the hang of high5 as they are the ones at Edinburgh but they come up every time within a few miles of taking them confused

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 22:00:31

Haven't tried torq but yy to the high five ones but mine go.....ahem.....south shock I am on good terms with many a local public toilet (McDonalds & the village hotel are regular shit pit stops!)

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 22:05:02

argh I couldn't cope with that, much as I hate being sick it's definitely less traumatising (plus am in middle of nowhere, there are no loos, just spew into a hedge, I don't fancy the southern version of that at all)

is bad enough running and muttering to myself 'I need a poo, I really need a poo' in time with my feet (I don't, it's just my body trying to talk me out of it)

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 22:11:39

It's a rare long run when I don't have to sprint the last 10 mins home to my lovely own lav! Oh to be somebody who doesn't need a poo on a long run-I could enjoy the run without 'clenching' wink

You're all making endurance running sound ever so tempting smile...back to the weights and HIIT I go!

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 22:48:48

grin and that's without a description of my disgustingly blistered feet or my poor right calf all taped up and currently useless


Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 22:58:33

it helped me stop smoking though and lose 9kg, and at least some of those were good to lose, and it helps me to eat well and be less disordered generally all round

and find lots of new friends, and even the injury has been great because I'm making myself get in a swimming pool regularly to get my 'fix', even a public one (phobic) and learn to do Proper Swimming and discover that I'm really fucking fit compared to the last time I tried to swim!

honest, it's great grin

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 22:59:45

Oh but the headspace & the peace (when I'm not bottom clenching!) is so worth it!

Should I not mention how many toenails are black & hanging off then?!shock

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 23:01:41

Helped me stop smoking too Mitchy smile

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 23:03:46

yay, high 5 (not the sticky yuck stuff) to the ex-smoking runners

when I'm back and running again I will just be super extra careful to warm up fully and stretch obsessively and rest more and all that, I will be so thankful to have my running powers back

it's only been a couple of weeks too

MrsFrankTurner Tue 21-Jan-14 23:09:46

I have a regular sports massage which I think is helping prevent injuries as I'm rubbish at warming up but the pain during a 60 min massage shockshockshockshock I zone out at times & have to find my 'happy place'! It's worth it though as running post massage is like having new legs!

IT band Mrs? shockshock. My osteopath says he's made grown men weep grin

Totally get the headspace and the high...but I get mine kickboxing, massive adrenaline rush and focus when faced with someone trying to kick your head in and you them grin

Can I suggest you guys mix in a bit of resistance training for extra injury prevention and even maybe improvement in running?

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-Jan-14 23:52:42

I'm going to see what I can do by way of resistance training at the gym tomorrow, although am really not a fan of isolating specific muscle groups and have dodgy wrists from compulsive tumbling and handstands over the years so that rules out all but lightish dumbbells - I like whole body stuff though, and think as running took over I neglected all the stuff I'd normally do daily like yoga and that won't have helped

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 22-Jan-14 05:40:08

Not sure I'd low carb whilst Marathon training. But regardless everything I've read says not to use marathon training as a way to lose weight as you need to be fully fuelled to avoid injury and illness - are you using a calorie tracker putting in activities as well?

madwomanintheatt1c Wed 22-Jan-14 05:59:36

Def way too little food. I always lose weight when I eat more (ie my body doesn't hoard calories because it thinks it's starving).

And I've never needed extra calories during a long run. Or an actual marathon. I just drink. Am fascinated by the focus on what to eat...

But tbh, I think you need to ditch the scales completely and focus on your running. What you weigh means absolutely nothing in this context, and I'm slightly baffled by your priorities.

Eat more.


Doyouthinktheysaurus Wed 22-Jan-14 06:22:52

I agree with eating more.

Your focus needs to be staying strong and healthy for your long runs, and for that you need a good dietary intake including carbs.

I didn’t lose weight marathon training, I ate all the calories I expended, it made me so hungry!

I have lost weight recently while running 30+ miles a week though. I've not been taking any gels or drinks on my long runs of 12 miles which I've found fairly easy. I'm not increasing my mileage at present though and I'm not pushing myself.

I've got faster as I've lost weight but I've been eating more than you op. I think with marathon training the key is getting to the start line in one piece and adequate nutrition is a vital part of that.

MrsFrankTurner Wed 22-Jan-14 08:01:14

Yes madwoman I'm a little baffled by my priorities too -I'm an incredibly sensible person usually and I'm not marathon training to lose weight I'm marathon training to complete a marathon and up until Christmas when I ate 'whatever' my weight stayed stable; however, I decided to give up sugar & booze for long term health reasons (nothing to do with marathon training) and within that thought I'd review my overall nutrition and, as I mentioned further up, I've confused myself by reading too much! I'm going back to basics, listening to my body and eating well (sans sugar!) and definitely ditching the scales! Yesterday's post was shock that I'd been 'eating healthily' yet gained weight shock couldn't get my head around it!

Off to make porridge nowgrin not sure I can fit in any resistance training, sleep as between the running, Pilates & tap dancing my week is rammed but post marathon I'm training for tough mudder so will be starting some HIT (scared!!!)

Oh yes -the IT band makes me weephmm

Thank you all for your support & advice grin

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 22-Jan-14 09:12:08

If you're doing an obstacle race I'd recommend working on arm strength! Good luck with the marathon

MrsFrankTurner Wed 22-Jan-14 10:14:26

Cheers DoctorD- I have a friend who's a PT so after this marathon he is going to put together a program for me -my upper body strength is awful......I can just about 'hang' off monkey bars I certainly can't movewink

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 22-Jan-14 16:05:13

Sounds like me! Fortunately in my adventure race they didn't bother counting the 'punishment' burpees!

Dreamingofcakeallnight Wed 22-Jan-14 18:17:43

I gained weight too completing a marathon. I genuinely don't think exercise is particularly effective for losing weight. For a number of reasons (read Gary taubes and briffa on this). Running generally is amazing - I'm a long term multi marathoner - but the truth is for real weight loss, the vast majority of the changes are dietary.

Sorry if that sounds negative, it's not meant to be. Enjoy your running, and the many benefits it brings, but don't rely on it for weight loss.

MrsFrankTurner Wed 22-Jan-14 18:29:32

Haha I love your namegrin

Yes - I've had a bit of a shift in my mindset -got in a bit of a negative cycle in how I was thinking about my running & nutrition so the scales yesterday were the straw that broke the camels back may have been premenstrual too shock

Had a great run today -felt strong & powerful and realised that's why I run! Not to lose weight but to enjoy the space -sharing stuff with other runners on here helped me gain some perspective so cheers allsmile

Lazysuzanne Wed 22-Jan-14 18:39:58

response to exercise varies from person, the degree to which it leads to fat loss is probably related (in part) to the degree of improvement in glucose tolerance / insulin sensitivity.

Those who maintain that exercise is no good for fat loss tend to be low responders.

I've always found it very effective.

Lazysuzanne Wed 22-Jan-14 18:40:49

*from person to person

Dreamingofcakeallnight Wed 22-Jan-14 19:34:15

I think there's some truth in that Suzanne, I'm actually a low carb runner (now that works for weight loss after the initial slump....). Plus I think (and evidence supports) that high intensity exercise makes us more sedentary for the rest of the time, take in more calories when we west as we've ,earned, them etc etc

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 22-Jan-14 19:39:52

Oh gosh! I can't run long distances without carbs. But I know it works for some. I need my pasta dinner before hand and my porridge in the morning for long runs!

Lazysuzanne Wed 22-Jan-14 20:20:40

I generally feel uncomfortable if I exercise within 10-12 hours of eating, weird I know but I can happily do a heavy weights session followed by an hour or so of cardio having not eaten for 12 hours

madwomanintheatt1c Wed 22-Jan-14 22:18:41

Ah cake - there are loads of studies on that - it's why a lot of my friends are switching to standing desks! You are all making me want to pull on my trainers, now grin

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