How to Lose Weight While Marathon Training

It's a very common myth. People know that running is a great way to lose weight. Over the years we have been inspired by before and after images of people who have lost tremendous amounts of weight after taking on running. We cheer them on as we see the image of them crossing the finish line of some race. We cheer because we all know what a tremendous accomplishment it is to cross the finish line of any race of any distance. And we are especially inspired when that distance is a marathon. 

There is an incredible amount of respect for the time and dedication it takes to train for a marathon and make it to the starting line injury free and still married (or in that significant relationship). It is understandable then, that we truly have respect for those who begin that process bearing excessive weight and shifting from a sedentary life to one in constant motion. 

But what about the average runner who needs to lose significantly less weight than these amazing individuals? What about those who need to lose say-15 to 25 lbs? Is it possible to do that and train for a marathon? Especially if that person has been a habitual runner for an extended time. 

So, how do you lose weight and train for a marathon? Let's take a look.

Marathon Training

Taking on the marathon requires you to first and foremost set a regular running schedule that will allow you to keep up with your scheduled training runs. Decide which days of the weeks you will run, what kind of run you will run on that day, and what distances those runs will be. Also, decide if you are a morning, afternoon or evening runner. Planning the time of day you will run will help you set aside dedicated time for those runs. 

There are plenty of great resources out there to find a training program that works best for you. 

Hal Higdon has a great training program that is designed for every runner from novice to advanced runners. He has even developed an app that you can add to allow you to have your training plan right there on your phone! I have used his training program for 2 of my marathons. It is very simple and easy to follow. This program is free, which makes it a great program if you are trying the marathon for the first time. 

Runner's World has training plans that are broken down into finishing time goals. These plans can be delivered in a couple of ways and they range in price from $9.99 for a plan you can print and refer to, to a plan that sends you daily reminders to any device for $19.99. There is also a plan to track your runs for $2.99 a month. 

Women's Running has one that is designed just for women. A pdf version of the plan is available for quick download and easy access. 

A quick google search will help you find many more. You can do anything from a do-it-yourself to purchasing some coaching if you want to go that route. Either way you go, find the plan that works for the type of runner you are. 

I'm a very injury prone runner and have found that if I do a 5 day running plan it is  guaranteed I will get an injury during the training and may or may not make it to race day. I have dropped out of a few races due to injury. Others I have shown up to the start line with the injury and deeply regretted it. Those are the longest runs of your life. Guaranteed. 

I ran across an article by Amby Burfoot in Runner's world in 2004 titled The Less-is-More Marathon plan. Based on research from the Furman Institute of Scientific Running and Training (FIRST), they designed a Train Less, Run Faster program. This sounded like a dream to me, so I printed off the program and gave it a try. It has only 3 days of running, plus 2 cross training, which was much easier on my body. I did finish with an improved time on my first half (15 minutes faster to be exact) and without injury. 

This prompted me to purchase Run Less, Run Faster which has a much more detailed plan that I found even better success with. Following that specific plan, I shaved almost 30 minutes off a previous half time. This plan was successful as it spared me the extra runs that were so risky for me as a runner. 

I am excited that so many options are available to runners now. When I started running marathons, they weren't available. That said, find a plan that works with your schedule, and fits your needs as a runner, and stick to it. 

Next time: How to Get the Eating Part Right

 (If you are wondering about the cool magnets holding the bib on my running dress, go here to find out more!)