Many runners ask us,
how can I lose weight without hindering my marathon training?
We wish that we had a simple answer, but the truth is losing weight is a different experience for everyone. One method of weight loss might work well for you, while the same method will yield completely different results for another.
We believe it starts with understanding your metabolism. There are several viable strategies out there, but in order to truly understand what the best fueling strategy for you looks like, we advise you first learn how your metabolism is functioning today. This knowledge will become a starting point to build your strategy.
Weight Loss and Performance
Once you get a baseline of how your metabolism is functioning, next you will identify your goal.
When we are looking for weight loss AND performance, our bodies struggle with doing both at the same time. Ideally, we want to focus on one or the other. Depending on where you are in your training cycles/upcoming events, you’ll have some options. Planning your nutrition and fitness around your race dates will be the best tip to give you.
As we mentioned, when your goal is weight loss, focusing on performance simultaneously can be challenging. We advise you to break up your marathon training into two parts:
- First set a primary goal for weight loss.
- Then, when you get to your ideal weight, you can start training for performance and improving your pace as your secondary goal.
We recommend you plan on the weight loss portion for the front half of your training (or a base training period) when mileage is low. Then, when your miles increase, you will want to add those carbs into your meal plan for fuel and performance. It is still possible to lose weight during the back half of your training, but it’s critical to understand that it’s not the primary focus.
Our friend Angie over at the Marathon Training Academy struggled to maintain her energy while training and focusing on weight loss. While working with one of our Coaches, she was able to shed 30 lbs and began to see her marathon times drop after years of trial and error, hear more about her story here.
It All Starts With Your Metabolism
At the end of the day, it all starts with your metabolism. Our favorite way to manage weight and still perform well is to focus on speeding up your metabolism, which doesn’t happen overnight but is possible. Smaller frequent meals weighted towards the first half of your day can help with performance and metabolism. If you continue to struggle with weight management, try eating lighter before bed. This is a challenge for some but can be effective.
Our Coaches see the best results using a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and fats, not overly restricting one or the other during your training. We also suggest not changing your fueling strategy too close to race time.
Knowing where you’re starting and where you want to end is critical when considering the best approach. Understand your metabolism, plan your marathon training according to the results you want to see, and always remember to ask your MetPro Coach for advice when you are feeling stuck.