Weighting (Not So) Patiently

The recently tight jeans are showing significant give now. My stride feels generally lighter too. Unfortunately however any would-be augmentation in my running speed has yet to manifest.

The truth of the matter is that I have plateaued in recent tempo runs. A heartbreaking realization in terms of marathon prognostication.

In the meantime I continue to whittle away at my diet. I continue to fine tune my training. I don’t eat after 3:30 pm and I’m doing yoga for crying out loud! Why at this very moment I could easily pen a Grammy award winning tearjerker of a Country ballad on just how much I miss chicken skin.

Still, I am assured that it will all come together in time for the marathon on May 1st.

I won’t lie. I won’t delude you into thinking me the model athlete whose belief in the game plan holds unwaveringly resolute. No. For me this waiting game is immensely frustrating.

I watch my friends get steadily faster by the day. While any improvements I may have managed prove stubbornly absent. Seriously — I’ve run the same times or better while eating cookies, cakes, and cheesies!

Yet experts posit that a ten pound weight loss can lead to as much as a 9 minute drop in marathon time.*

So for now I continue to swallow the pain if not the calories. The gains, for the better, have just got to be around the corner for me. They’ve just got to.
*http://www.runnersworld.com/for-beginners-only/how-does-weight-loss-affect-my-running-speed

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13 comments

  1. I’m probably not in the best position to give any sort of advice on this matter at the moment, but just wanted to say, between all that training and calorie-cutting, please pay close attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you! It’s a fine line most endurance runners tread, and you don’t want to tip yourself over the edge when you are so so so darn close! to your ultimate goal. Stay safe, train strong, eat well, my friend!

    1. Thanks NT! I appreciate your feedback. You are a very knowledgeable and experienced endurance athlete. I really value and respect your feedback πŸ˜ƒ

      So please don’t sell yourself short — besides, I’ve seen your pics, we’re both way too small in stature to be able to afford selling ourselves short! πŸ˜‰

      Kidding aside, you raise some key points. Not the least of which is this: part of me wonders if my plateau may be in part due to too few calories. In other words, when I hit my goal weight and take my calories up to stabilize my weight, will the caloric boost also boost my speed?

      1. You know, the only way to find out is to test and measure, record and analyse, then adjust. This takes time, and I find that sometimes, we learn certain lessons over the course of a whole season better than in the span of a few short weeks.

        My personal take is that while it certainly helps to reduce the superfluous weight, cutting calories too low is more detrimental to daily and immediate performance than any potential gain you may get from shaving off a pound or two.

        Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book called Racing Weight which recommends athletes to take the weight off during the rest season, when training intensity and load is reduced, so by the time the new training cycle begins, you’re in good shape. Now of course, I know “some” of us are guilty of skipping this off-season, which shortchanges us of the chance to focus more on the weight and less on the training, eh?

        I’d say at this point, you know deep down inside what works and what doesn’t. Don’t fix what ain’t broken, and don’t be tempted into looking for quick fixes or miracle solutions to gain precious seconds. Trust in your training, and maintain a sensible fuelling plan with plenty of rest and recovery. (Boring and unsexy advice I know, sorry!)

      2. Thanks NT! I prefer to think “tried and true” as opposed to “boring and unsexy” πŸ‘πŸ½

        And you’re right. I’m actually in a down period in training right now (my intensity level in training is still high, but my mileage isn’t) and am trying to capitalize on that by trying to drop a few pounds now.

      3. I wouldn’t say a reduction of mileage is considered cutting back on training, especially if you’re maintaining high intensity and focusing particularly on speed. But that’s my personal opinion. Anyway, do play around with your nutrition (but remember to only test ONE thing at a time, e.g. changing macros, or timing, or portion sizes, or total cals, etc… one by one, so you can accurately ascertain a proper outcome.
        Good luck!

  2. I feel you, well not illiterately, but I know the feeling even though i’m no where near your league. as hard as I tray and as much as I run, and no matter how I’ve changed my diet I can’t seem to drop anymore weight then I have. I’ll be swimming soon so maybe that will help. NOW you are the fourth to talk about Yoga in the last two days so I guess that’s a sign!

    I’ve no doubts that you will get where you want to be, especially once winter is gone, because that’s just the type of person you have trained yourself to be. πŸ™‚ wish I could offer you some advice my friend, but sadly i’m ill equipped for that at this point in my evolution.

    1. Don’t sell yourself short Bill. You are very quickly gaining in your running experience. Plus you know s thing or two about being strong in tough situations. There’s a lot I can learn from you.

      As for yoga, I want to make sure my back, hips, and legs are loose to not only minimize the chance of injury but also to make my running easier. Eg., my strides could be a bit longer if my hamstrings and hips were more supple. πŸ˜ƒ

      1. Hmmm supple……… ;P

  3. razkristi · · Reply

    I have to say my first reaction to this was that maybe you are not taking in enough calories. I believe that once the body thinks it is being “starved” it does everything it can to hold on to calories, particularly when the physical demands are high. I think fasting after 3:30 could be very hard on someone – I know my body would rebel! This will seem like a srange comparison but when I was breastfeeding I desperately tried to lose the last five pounds. No matter how little I ate I couldn’t lose the weight. Finally I realized my body desperately needed the fuel, even if it meant a few extra pounds. Once I stopped breastfeeding ( after almost 5 yrs straight between the two kids!) the weight came off immediately. My stopping breast feeding would have been similar to rest period during training – your body can manage weight loss when there are no extra demands on it. Just my take on it with absolutely no scientific background!

    1. Thanks Kristi! I am actually hoping that my body can attain and adjust to some minor weight loss (8 lbs) over the next few weeks as I am actually training (relatively!) lightly. I probably have another 4-6 weeks before I ramp up training. ATB will be more a training run than a race ☺️

  4. Athletes have an ideal weight. Being below it is just as bad as being above. Weight loss can be fat or muscle. You need a reserve for a long event and to train for it. Be careful, and remember why you started this journey before you get too frustrated by where you are finding yourself in this journey (i.e., you have traveled much further then you ever imagined you could…that is not a failure).

    Have you been watching your %body fat as well as your weight?

    1. Thanks Raymond πŸ˜ƒ

      I’ve been keeping an eye on body fat % as much as I can. My scale isn’t the most accurate I’m sure and the fat % readings fluctuates depending on my level of hydration. But I am stepping on the scale at the same time of day on the same day of the week to at least make sure that any inaccuracies are consistent. Ie., the number might be wrong but the direction (gain or loss) should be accurate.

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