It’s a common misconception that excessive running will lead to weight loss because usually, it works at first, but it isn’t effective forever.
When your weight-loss plateaus after you’ve been running for a while, there are other factors to consider. Running is one piece of the puzzle; it’s not the whole picture for successful, sustainable, long-term weight loss.
It’s not always as straight forward as people assume. Yes, running burns a lot of calories, but there is more to it. You are running so many more miles, so why is your weight going up instead of down? There are a few reasons, and they are not all negative, or avoidable:
•You gain new muscle, a good result.
•You increase glycogen stores which increase water, also a good result. Increased stores allow you to run longer before you “hit the wall.” This is not fat.
•Your body adapts. Your body is not working as hard or burning as many calories as in the beginning; it feels easier, also a good result. If it never felt more comfortable, you’d never be able to train to run longer distances.
•You eat more before you run, (maybe more than you need —carb-loading anyone)?
•You consume additional calories during your long runs, such as energy gels or other fuel sources —which can be necessary for some athlete’s performance on distances longer than 90 minutes.
•You are hungrier from your workouts and therefore eat more after you run.
•You move less than you would during the day if you didn’t perform a long training run.
It’s not just one factor, but the combination that can sometimes lead to weight gain. What is important to remember that weight gain is not the same as fat gain. Not all runners gain weight during marathon training, but if it happens, you now know why.
What are your running goals?
Are you running for performance or running for weight loss? You have to choose one primary goal because conflicting goals give mediocre results.
The way you need to train for weight loss is different than the way you train for performance. You get out of training exactly what you put into it, so you have to be very clear of your training priorities.
There’s no guarantee that when preparing for a marathon, you’ll lose weight, and if you train to lose weight while marathon training, your performance may suffer in the process.
It’s better to tackle one goal at a time. Train for a while to lose weight, then once you reach your goal, train for performance. You may get mediocre results at both if you attempt to achieve both goals at once. You get superior results when you focus on one at a time.