Calling all runners/marathoners and food/weight folks!

Ok, here is the situation.

I’m (perhaps somewhat foolishly) training for a marathon. I’m going to run the LA marathon in March with a good friend, and I started training in August.

So far, so good. But there are some things.

  1. I’m a sprinter. I’ve always been a sprinter (swimming, running). It’s taken me MONTHS to be able to run 5 miles at a stretch.

  2. I have low blood sugar, and if I don’t eat something somewhat carb-ish within an hour after running, I feel sick and nearly pass out, if I’ve run more than about 2 miles. My friend, who is currently training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, told me that I probably am lacking decent glycogen stores in my muscles and I use it up fast because I have more fast-twitch muscle fibers. Makes sense.

  3. I gained 10 pounds in a month this summer from switching birth control pills. No other changes, just pill switching, and on the weight went. This means that most of my clothes don’t fit. I don’t want to have to go out and buy all new clothes, especially since I’d rather just be 10 pounds lighter.

  4. Even with all the running I’m doing, I’m not really losing any of the weight. And going off the BC pills isn’t much of an option for many reasons, not just the not-getting-pregnant aspect. I’m worried that if I switch back to my old pill I’ll just gain 10 more pounds.

So I guess here is where I need advice. What should I be eating that will give me enough energy to be able to run enough, and not make myself sick, but that I will still be able to lose this damn extra weight? FWIW, I’m a pescatarian (I will OCCASIONALLY eat chicken…maybe once a month). Red meat is out.

Also, I’m heavily muscled. I have the body type that bulks up fast, so the extra weight is noticeable on me (layer of fat over big muscles = jeans don’t fit). Until this year, I probably had about 18% body fat.

I’m a 24year-old girl, if that makes any difference.

Any advice, tips, suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks!

I’m kind of the opposite of you - I probably don’t have a fast twitch muscle fiber in my body, but I think I have some advice. Most will have to wait until I have more time, though.

Try a site like active.com. They have lots of great advice.

Whatever merit Aitkins has, his diet is not for distance athletes. You probably need 60-70% of your diet from carbs. While running, drink a protein-carb drink like Accelerade. Afterwards, drink something designed for recovery. It makes a big difference. Also see if you can stomach the liquid sugar products like powergel and gu.

Caffine is good for endurance, but be sure to try drinking it during practice runs, so that you don’t get the runs while running a race.

Anyone can run distance; it is far more mental than physical. If you can do the same thing for hours, you can make it.

Pick a flat to downhill marathon, but be sure it has a little topological relief. Nothing is harder than using the exact same muscles for 26 miles. A few hillls actually help.

Gotta run …

Ok, I’ve got more time now that I’m here at work. :slight_smile:

The reason that you are not losing weight running is because your body fat is already in a nice healthy range. I don’t know what to make of the fact that you gained ten pounds by changing pills, and yet are only 18% body fat. I don’t know if the pill changes muscle development or water retention, but unless you are an elite athlete, there is no good reason for a woman to get her body fat any lower. You are evidently never going to be Twiggy, and if it is looks that concern you, most of us guys wouldn’t want you to be. There certainly is no health reason to want it lower.

It sounds to me like you need to carb up before your long run, which hopefully will be more than 5 miles as you prepare. I recommend finding out what sport drink will be proffered on the course, and drink a bottle of that during the half hour before your run. During your run, keep consuming that drink, although one that has a little bit of protein, like Accelerade, is supposed to aid in metabolizing the carbs. Also, the liquid sugar products can be a great help. I carry a few on marathons myself, and I am reasonably quick. Which brings up a point - if you plan on running for more than 4 hours during your marathon, be sure to consume plenty of sports drinks. It is possible to over hydrate if you drink nothing but water.

After running, consume some recovery drink. These have protein and perhaps some amino acids. They seem to work for me - I was amazed over the past year that I could run 15-20 miles, and not be sore or tired later in the day. I run in the morning, so I also tend to eat a couple of bowls of cereal at the same time. (And yes, I am hopelessly skinny.) However, the drinks are pretty filling for most.

Finally, take a look at your diet. Even vegans can consume to much fat and protein. I read recently that even though runners consume more protein than most people, they only need 15% of their calories from protein - runners just eat more of everything than most people. (The Kenyan diet is very low in fat and protein by American standards.) Be sure you are eating plenty of complex carbs, like whole grains, as oppposed to potatoes.

Finally, I would look into a training program. Runners World, Cool Running, and Running Times all have work outs to prepare for a marathon. Carmichael Training Systems (of Lance Armstrong fame) will have a coach draw up a plan for you -based on your ability. You can also get advice from good runners by going to their sites. I’m sure Matt Carpenter and his running group would love to help out - his site is skyrunner.com. Finally, look up running groups in your area. Running shoe stores tend to have them. There are always plenty of people there who can give good advice. (As a rule of thumb, two fast days, one long day, and plenty of easy days are good.) You might want to consult a doctor if you still feel sick after just a couple miles.

Good luck, and let me know how you are coming along.

Since you have blood sugar issues, I’d really recommend you talk to your doctor about this as well. We can give you general training information, but if you have a medical condition, you could be putting yourself into danger by relying on strangers’ information.

Other than that, I think that SlowMindThinking has some good ideas and advice in general.

I’m training for the Rock & Roll marathon in Phoenix in January, but LA is definitely one of those races that are on my “must do” list!

Thanks for the tips, SlowMindThinking and Scout. What I meant was, I USED to be about 18% body fat - before I gained all the weight. And because I gained it really fast, I’m still not used to it. I’ve never had much visible fat on my body before, (small boobs and all) so trying on clothes tends to be depressing these days! I’ve never been as big as I am right now.

I’ve looked at a lot of the websites you mentioned and I have some marathon training materials. I eat pretty healthily already - always whole grains, wild rice, lots of whole fruits and vegetables, olive oil or canola oil, cook my fish in wine/juice/vinegar/water. About my only weakness is chocolate, and I ain’t about to give up chocolate.

If I weren’t training, I’d be able to drop the weight relatively easily, I think, with just lowering my calorie intake a bit and excercising regularly. But since I’m running as much as I am, my body is ALWAYS demanding food. I guess I just need to find the right balance. Last night I was looking at a book about marathon training for women, and it had a chapter about running and weight loss. About the only thing it recommended that I don’t already do is take a multivitamin.

Since I’m asking for advice, do any of you have advice about how to avoid blisters in strange places? I’ve lost calluses from both the pad of my foot under my big toe and under my pinkie toe, from having blisters develop underneath them. I tried changing socks to non-cotton, but that hasn’t helped. Most of my running is done on dirt trails and a little bit on asphalt. Every two weeks or so I lose the calluses again.

I will check out the gu-type gel things and the sports drinks. I don’t really like drinks other than water or juice, so I hope I can find one that doesn’t taste like chemicals. Any suggestions?

Thanks again!

mle

On the rare times I drink Gatorade, I usually dilute it. That makes the flavor far less overpowering. Everything else I’ve tried does seem to have that chemical taste. Gatorade to me doesn’t taste bad, it’s just awfully strong, so when I pour it 1/2 and 1/2 with water, it’s much better.

If you’ve tried non-cotton socks and still get blisters, I’d recommend you take a look at the fit of your shoe. I very rarely ever get blisters of any kind (except occasionally on runs of 20 miles or so), so I suspect it might be a fit or a shoe style issue.

Otherwise, using something like vaseline or aquaphor to lube your toes up might help to prevent rubbing of rough materials. Aw, you’re a tenderfoot! :wink:

I bet the blisters are because of your shoes. You really should get someone good to help you pick out your first pair of running shoes. As a general rule your running shoes will be about a size or a size and a half larger then you usually wear.

How many miles a week are you running?

My running shoes are a half size larger than my regular shoes. I think I will have to get fitted for shoes at a running store after I get paid at the end of the month, because I’m starting to think it is my shoes (the blister problem). They are more like pressure blisters; I always get them under existing callus.

I’m running around 20 miles a week right now, give or take a bit. Last week when I upped my mileage by a lot (I did 7.5 in one day: 3 before work and 4.5 after), I got nasty shin splints, so I decided to slow down a bit and not try to do so much in one day for a while.

You shouldn’t up your mileage by more then 10% a week. It is better for your body to gradually increase. Otherwise you are just setting yourself up to get hurt. http://www.runnersworld.com/home/0,1300,1-0-55-1051,00.html

Eating right before a run might make you feel sick. Instead try eating something a couple of hours before hand to make sure that you aren’t hungry when it is time to run. You should eat something that give you a mix of protein and carbs. An apple with a little bit of peanut butter is my favorite choice. I also like lowfat yogurt or lowfat cheese and a few crackers.

How many calories do you eat a day? The basic rule is that you burn about 100 calories for every mile you run or walk. That means that on a day you run 7 miles you are burning 700 calories. Starving yourself won’t necessaryly help you lose weight faster. You need to eat enough to be able to handle your runs.

Some good diet guidelines for runners can be found here. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/164.shtml

IMHO the best diet book for runners is

What does your doctor say about your low blood sugar?

You shouldn’t up your mileage by more then 10% a week. It is better for your body to gradually increase. Otherwise you are just setting yourself up to get hurt. http://www.runnersworld.com/home/0,1300,1-0-55-1051,00.html

Eating right before a run might make you feel sick. Instead try eating something a couple of hours before hand to make sure that you aren’t hungry when it is time to run. You should eat something that give you a mix of protein and carbs. An apple with a little bit of peanut butter is my favorite choice. I also like lowfat yogurt or lowfat cheese and a few crackers.

How many calories do you eat a day? The basic rule is that you burn about 100 calories for every mile you run or walk. That means that on a day you run 7 miles you are burning 700 calories. Starving yourself won’t necessarily help you lose weight faster. You need to eat enough to be able to handle your runs.

Some good diet guidelines for runners can be found here. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/164.shtml

IMHO the best diet book for runners is

What does your doctor say about your low blood sugar?

My blood sugar is borderline hypoglycemia. Basically, what my doctor told me is that I should eat smaller meals, spaced out throughout the day, and not go too long without eating. I can regulate myself pretty well on a normal amount of excercise in a day. I know when I need to eat, and I’m pretty good about knowing what my body needs. It’s very rare that I have a problem because I regulate it well just by eating a bit every few hours.

I haven’t talked to a doctor yet about my marathon training. When I moved to CO, obviously I moved away from my old doctor. Here, I have Kaiser insurance; it generally takes 3 months to get an appointment with a GP. Do you really think I should worry about my blood sugar and running a lot? So far I’ve been fine if I eat pretty soon afterward. What I’m concerned with is dropping the darn 10 pounds so my clothes will fit again; I can’t afford to go out and buy all new (bigger) clothes.

Thanks for the links. I will check them out.

Run, run, run.

What are you interested in, running a marathon or loosing weight? They can, and seem to be different things.

Have you chosen a training program. I think your issues with mileage and pain are due to overtraining. Find a training program and stick with it. I used the “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Guide”. It’s purpose is to get you to the marathon and across the finish line. It worked for me and one of my friends. Just do what the book says. I looked at some training programs in Runner’s World, they focus on time and running fast, I just wanted to finish.

Try wearing two pairs of socks. I wear ankle high nylons in addition to athletic socks. They solved my blister problems and are really cheap. I had the same problem with blisters under callouses. I kept the area as dry as possible except when running. I put preperation H on the blisters for a run. Sounds weird, but the principle is good, lubricate, and the ingredients include vasoconstrictors.

Good Luck. Marathon training is great! Marathon finishing is even better.