here are a few frequently asked questions about running that i myself have wondered about. so i did the digging to find out the answers to these common queries.
“why am i not losing weight if i’m running so much?”
often the assumption when you start training for a half or even full-marathon is: “bonus, i’m gonna lose weight!”. and inevitable disappointment follows when you don’t. in fact, some people find that they pack on pounds. why? well, the wonderful thing about running is that it spikes your metabolism – and that in turn triggers your appetite to kick in gear. so just as you’re increasing your energy out, your body is craving more food. but while you may not realize it, that increase in appetite could lead to taking in more calories than your body is used to. the best way to rein this in is to journal your food to keep those extra calories from adding up. and remember, those pre/during/post-run sips + snacks count too! other reasons you might not be losing lbs? not lifting weights and perhaps (gasp) over-training – read on.
“why should i lift weights if i’m running?”
well, i suppose you don’t have to – but it depends on the results you want. yes, a long distance runner’s body tends to be lean, but they also don’t tend to have booties either and have more lanky bodies. all running and no lifting makes jane a not-so-toned girl! the solution is not one or the other: it’s a balance of running, lifting, and cross-training (hence my lifting lover’s training plan!). if you want to build muscle, you have to add resistance training. the result when coupled with a running program? chiseled abs (not visible ribs), high and tight glutes (no sunken butt), and muscular arms (not waif-like limbs). here’s the thing about running: especially long runs, burn a TON of calories. but once you’re done running, you’re done burning. but here’s the thing about lifting: you build muscle which continues to torch calories even when your body is at rest. so if you’re only running and seeing the pounds creep up, you might wanna try adding some weights, as well as some interval runs in the form of sprints and hills.
“am i over-training?”
okay, i must admit: this article in SELF magazine actually had me feeling a little guilty and wondering if this might be why i’m not seeing the results even i had expected while training for this half. it poses the question: are you working out too much? and i hate to say it but looking at my 12-week plan to train for this half, the answer is probably yes. (darn). this isn’t the first time people in my life have told me that i work out too much, but the truth is i’m just accustomed to working out 6 days a week. however, once my body started breaking down, i decided to look into this: in one week’s time i got very sick, every muscle in my body ached, and my energy was non-existent. not exactly the picture of health! this article opened my eyes to the reality that over-training achieves exactly the opposite of a lean, chiseled, healthy bod. no matter how clean you eat or how much you work out, if you’re stressing the body too much, you could be packing on pounds because of over-training. here’s why in a nutshell:
- if you don’t let your body recover and you continue to stress your muscles day-after-day, it causes your body to over-produce the stress hormone cortisol. this is the same thing that happens when you don’t sleep enough – so essentially working out too much is just as bad for your bod as NOT sleeping!
- when you work out too much, your metabolism starts to slow to conserve energy. your body is like, “hey um i’m working really hard and at this pace i can’t keep up so i’m just gonna hold onto this extra body fat so i’ve got energy for when you insanely decide to push me – again – you knucklehead.”
- if you’re working out TOO hard, you actually have less energy to move the rest of the day, and actually burning fewer calories because rather than being able to function, you crash. (guilty, oops)
those are just the highlights, but read the article for the full scoop – it’s fascinating.
so what other questions do you have about running, working out, nutrition, or shoot, anything at all? i’m happy to take a stab at helping you out in any way i can!
go ahead, i’m listening.