Celebrating National Running Day With: How To Avoid Weight Gain During Marathon Training

In all the years that I have been blogging and writing fitness pieces, I don’t think I’ve every written an actual running post. Sure I’ve recapped a few races here and there but as far as running tips or suggestions I’ve always stayed away.

Why? Because running wasn’t my thing. I love to run but I also know the wear and tear it can do on a body so I’ve just kept quiet.

That’s going to change today though because it’s National Running Day!

Since I’ve officially paid willingly signed up for my first 1/2 marathon (see details) I now feel as if I have the green light to chat a bit more about running.

Don’t worry, I won’t make it a regular habit. In fact, what I have to say isn’t something you’ll find on most running addicts’ blogs…

Running Tip For Running Day: Beware of Running Weight Gain

After talking to lots of runners and collegues they’ve all shared a little secret with me: when training for a 1/2 marathon or full, they’ve all added on weight.

Wait… hold up…

Yup, gained weight, and it wasn’t muscle.

I’ve learned that weight gain during marathon training is actually really common. I know what you are thinking, how can anyone gain weight when they’re running up to 30 miles a week!?

Simple, because they’re running up to 30 miles a week!

Don’t we all have the internal battle at the end of a workout that goes something like this, “I just worked really hard and burned a hell of a lot of calories, I am good to eat a big dessert!”. Well, when you’re running all the time it’s a lot easier to let that voice win.

Oops… What happened to the rest of the donuts?

Suddenly, you’re eating more and justifying it with your mileage (I know because I’ve been there!). But here’s the problem, you don’t have to eat that much more during training and you certainly shouldn’t being eating poor foods like beer, pizza, cookies, etc.

Here’s the other issue, a lot of marathon runners will lose muscle mass from long runs. Because your body uses muscle as a fuel source. If you burn off muscle mass then you decrease your metabolism!

Holy No!

Which then again makes it really simple to eat more than you should.

How To Avoid (1/2) Marathon Training Weight Gain

  1. Remember to stick to your gut. Think about quality foods. You’ll run better and feel better by giving your body clean, all natural foods. Avoid processed foods, pre-packaged meals, high sodium junk and of course the cakes and cookies (on most days, of course a reward once a week is fine by me).
  2. Ask yourself if you would eat it normally. If you’re thinking about ordering a pizza ask yourself if that is something you would be doing if you weren’t running. Don’t allow the run to change your healthy habits.
  3. Eat before and after. Eat a small, balanced carb-heavy snack before (1-2 hours) a run and within an hour of finishing. This is important for two reasons. First it will help your energy levels during and after and help to keep your blood sugar levels up. And second it helps your body use carbs for energy instead of your muscle.
  4. Don’t neglect cross training. Don’t let your running consume your life. Keep a balanced workout program that includes strength training in order to maintain muscle mass and keep your metabolism going strong.

    Strength training is also going to help strengthen joints and help prevent injuries while out on the roads.

  5. Carbing Up Rules. We all love the idea of eating heavy pasta meals before runs but studies show that they’re not necessary. If you’re running for less than an hour then there is no need to guzzle down sport gels, carb bars or even sports drinks (gatorades). Stick to normal water during the run and then eat up your post run snack after.

    However for long runs that last longer stopping in the middle for a swish of electrolyte sports drinks or a 100 calorie gel isn’t going to hurt and can really help get your energy levels back up. On my last long run I tried:

    I really like the Vega brand, at least what I’ve tried so far. My running partner, Sarah said it best when she said it tasted like the center of a Fig Newton. I agree! Fig-a-licious!

So Happy National Running Day! 

I can’t help but to say that I am a bit on the sad side to find out that there is no National Strength Training Day. Perhaps this is a day I need to implement!


  • Will you be running today? 
  • What’s the farthest you have ever run? 
  • What “National —– Day” do you want to celebrate?


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