I’ve been consciously trying to gain weight for a couple of years now – I’m naturally slim and find it hard to keep weight on (yes yes, woe is me) and want to be bigger and physically stronger. I was a little worried about marathon training as I assumed it would undo all of the hard work I had out in to gain weight. After all, all that cardio? Weight loss central, surely. I’d heard the tales of people who had gained weight during marathon training, but assumed it wouldn’t apply to me – my metabolism is insane and I’ve never successfully gained weight in a short period before so there’s no way training for a stupidly long endurance running event was going to be the thing that did it.
Reader, I gained weight.
I am now comfortably above my target* weight for the first time. I was going to put that weight here, but it’s really not about the numbers and I’m aware that talking about weight can be triggering for some, so I won’t.
*A target my GP set me many moons ago, which is probably an arbitrary number, but one that to me signified health and strength.
I assume it’s the carbs wot did it. I have after all, been eating them by the bucket-load as any conscientious marathon runner does in the days/weeks/(months?) leading up to the big day. I hate demonising food groups though, so I must mention that my consumption of ALL food groups increased, not just carbs, so my overall calorie intake was higher than it has ever been (including 9 months of pregnancy, where actually all I could eat were potatoes.). Long runs make you seriously hungry. Like, crazily so. Monday and Tuesday of most weeks were just spent eating until I was no longer irritated by people breathing and birds singing.
Another change was that I ‘lost’ (they’re still there, just hiding) my precious abs. Another change was that I cared much less about my precious abs then I ever have done before. Turns out they don’t define me. Who knew. As my marathon training schedule grew in intensity I just no longer had the energy to do strength workouts 3-4 evenings per week, and rest days became about ACTUALLY RESTING.
So I’ve emerged the other side of the marathon bubble heavier, less toned, but infinitely fitter. And from here? I’m back on the strength workouts with a vengeance, and loving them. My next running aim is a sub-50 10k so I’m planning to get my body as strong as it can be, and prioritise tempo and speed workouts. Equally, I want to make sure my body is strong enough to tackle the marathon distance again (yes, I said never again. Yes, I changed my mind). Hopefully with the endurance that marathon training has given me, I’ll be able to find that elusive 50 secondss that have been taunting me for over a year…