Happy Christmas Eve! Even though we aren’t going home to Atlanta this year, Vishnu and I have plans to relax, watch Christmas movies, and spend time with friends. Should be a great couple of days!
Oh and I have to fit some running in there as well!
With that, here’s what week 8 looked like:
Monday: Gaiam TV yoga
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run
Thursday: Total body strength training workout – one of my favorites!
Friday: 5 mile run
Sunday: 10 mile run – first double digit run…dun dun dun!
I ran almost 20 miles this week. Phew! I felt strong all week long, especially during the 5 mile run. Lots of positive emotions around this whole training thing.
…because my long run this week was the absolute worst! My legs felt heavy the entire time. And to top it off, my mental focus just wasn’t there either. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did it! I ran 10 miles and couldn’t be happier. But the run itself was just so-so.
While the running part genuinely sucked, I didn’t feel tired at all afterwards. I was absolutely exhausted after my 9 mile run the week before (to the point where I napped), but this week I grocery shopped, cleaned, cooked, etc. Weird how that works.
Running to Lose Weight
I wanted to address the topic of running to lose weight because I’ve gotten a few questions about this over the past couple of weeks. I’m no expert but have been running for a few years, so I naturally have some thoughts! Just remember every body is different. What works for me/doesn’t work for me may not be the same for you.
First of all, I partially attribute my initial weight loss in college to running. I regularly started running my junior year and lost a lot of weight. However, during this time, I didn’t make the best food decisions (re: under eating + lots of running). Sadly, this habit continued for the next few years, and I was able to not only keep the weight off but lose a few more pounds.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO ANYONE!!! Looking back, my behavior was stupid and dangerous. I did so much harm to both my body and my mind during this time.
Fast forward to my first half marathon. Overall, I was running more then than I am now, but I actually gained 3 ish pounds. I attribute this to a little bit of overeating. For example, after a Sunday long run, I went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with my parents. I ate chips, guac, salsa, an entire entree, and even some of my mom’s entree. This was a regular thing. Mentally, I thought I deserved huge amounts of food because…duh…I ran a lot!
I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO ANYONE EITHER!!! And not because I gained weight. Three pounds is really nothing when you think about it. I just wasn’t eating the right things during this time. I ate a lot of junk food because I thought I deserved it. Again, not good for the mind or the body.
[I honestly don’t remember much from my second half, so I’m going to skip that!]
Fast forward to this half marathon. I’m running, doing a little bit of yoga and strength training, and taking two full rest days a week. And…I haven’t gained or lost a single pound (on average of course). Nada. I attribute this to the fact that my focus is not weight loss. Instead it’s been to fit in solid runs/workouts, remain injury free, listen to my body, and fuel properly. By removing the “I deserve this or that” mentality, I no longer link my workouts to my meals. And I can’t discount the fact that my eating habits are much…hmmm…cleaner now than they have ever been.
So, I’ve lost weight running…the wrong way. I’ve also gained weight running…the wrong way. And I’ve maintained my weight while running.
With all of that being said (this is turning out to be a wordy post!), I do think it’s possible to lose weight with running. Shorter (maybe even faster) runs plus strength training, in my opinion and experience, is the best way to lose weight and/or lose inches. I’m a huge proponent of strength training – helps reshape your body, is so good for your bones, etc. And when paired with running (and good eating habits), it can be a huge catalyst for change.
In fact, this is exactly what I’m planning to do after my race at the end of January. I want to strength train (hopefully) 3 days a week and run 2-3 days a week. But my runs will only be 2-3 miles during the week and between 4-5 miles during the weekend. This is the perfect balance for me.
So the (very) long and the short of it is that in my experience running can help you lose weight, but it really does depend on a bunch of other stuff. If you’re really looking to change your body, pair moderate amounts of running with some form of strength training.
What are your thoughts about running and weight loss? I’d love to hear them!
In case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:
Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training