Still more evidence I can’t outrun my diet

Very early on in this blog I wrote about how shocked I was to realize that I hadn’t lost a single ounce after running 90 miles in one week.

That was hardly an anomaly. I’ve since learned that I’ve got to be really careful to avoid weight gain while training for a marathon. And if I don’t pay close attention to my diet on long-run day — when I’m likely to burn up to 2,000 calories in exercise alone — I will almost always weigh 2-3 pounds more the following day.

It’s not just that I can’t outrun my diet, as that absolutely dead-on saying goes. We’re not even in the same league. When it comes to ingesting calories, my inner pig really ought to be nominated for the Hall of Fame.

So the last couple of weeks, when my running was pretty light coming off a marathon, I finally lost the 5 pounds I’d been trying without success to shed the whole time I was training. It’s so much easier for me to cut back on my diet when I’m not training that the thought actually entered my head: Would I be better off, healthwise, not running?

Maybe. There are lots of other ways I could exercise to stay fit. And there’s definitely something in my psychological makeup that causes me to nearly panic if I head out for a run without having something in my fuel tank. (In fact, I still fret WAY too much about what I do or don’t eat in the hours before a run, or even worse, what I have the night before a race.)

If I were a logical person, I might say: You know what? Time to switch to a form of exercise that I don’t associate with food.

But my love of running isn’t logical. As long as my legs still work, I don’t think I could ever give it up.  So I’ll keep working on figuring out the eating thing.


This is from the hilarious book by Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. (It was easier to just grab a scan off the web than to copy it out of the book, but I do own a copy so I don’t feel bad about showing you a peek inside. )

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2 Responses to Still more evidence I can’t outrun my diet

  1. I never eat before running or during … probably because I am that slow I don’t feel like I need to – I guess by now I am mainly running using fat not sugar as energy. It can’t be compared with your marathon training, but I can’t help and wonder how increased speed/effort and therfore more glycogen depletion relate to craving more sugar.

    Oh … not that you asked, but if I had to choose between weighing more and running vs weighing less and no running, it’s clear I’d rather run. Much healthier for everyone around me.

  2. tischcaylor says:

    Good for you, to start that habit now of not equating food with running. Weirdly, back when I first lost weight I usually had my longest runs of the week on the day I had to step on the scale at Weight Watchers, and so I ate hardly anything at all even before a 10-mile run. Once I got to my goal weight, though, I quickly abandoned that practice and now I can hardly imagine it ever happened. I’m sure extra effort does equate to increased hunger, but in my case I do think a lot of it is psychological.

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