Fifth Time’s the Charm?

Since the beginning of July, I have been working out very consistently with at least 4 or 5 solid workouts a week. I’ve also, for the first time in my life, been strength training at least 2x a week, but sometimes 3!! This is seriously unheard of for me, and I feel so good. I can see a lot more definition in my shoulders and arms in particular, and I actually (dare I say) look forward to using my muscles at the gym. It’s a good place to be!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this officially, but I signed up for another half marathon, which will be my fifth. It’s the Philadelphia Half Marathon, and it will take place on November 18, 2012. Even though I’ve already run four half marathons, I still think it’s a very challenging distance and appreciate my body’s ability to carry me through it.

Philadelphia Marathon

Since somehow November 18th is just 12 weeks away, my training plan for the half actually starts today! I tend to get pretty all-or-nothing with many things in my life, and running is no exception. When I train for a race, I find myself ONLY running, which is not good. My body needs strength and cross training, and I know that making an effort to do so will only make me a stronger runner.

I’ve never been in a place exercise-wise like I am in right now – where I’ve been consistently working out, doing a variety of different activities/exercises – and really enjoying it. My hope is that being in this place will help me tremendously with training for the half because I don’t want to give up the strength and cross training. I’ve already noticed so much improvement in my strength and in the amount of weight I can use for various exercises, and I don’t want to take any steps back in that department.

So my goal for this time around is to be very serious about not just running, but cross training as well. I’ve drafted a 12 week training plan (based off of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Plan) which can you can see here, but this basically sums it up:

    1. 1 “easy” run per week, starting with 3 miles and working up to 5.
    2. 1 speed training day per week, rotating between intervals and tempo runs, peaking at a 5 mile interval run. Yikes.
    3. 1 long run per week, starting at 5 miles and working up to 12 miles.
    4. A fourth run with 3 miles and strength throughout the training plan, but I may switch that up with cross training when I feel like it.
    5. Strength training 2x a week.
    6. 1 (or 2) days of cross training a week.
    7. 2 rest days per week.

All in all, I feel like this is a really solid, balanced training plan, and I am really excited to see myself build up my mileage again. I have been doing almost all of my runs inside on a treadmill lately, so I’m also looking forward to going back outside for at least the long runs, but hopefully some of the “easy” runs as well.

The one thing I am most worried about with training for this half marathon is that I tend to maintain and/or gain weight when I’m training for an endurance event. I don’t know that I’ve diligently been trying to LOSE weight while training for one like I am now, but I know when my mileage gets up there, my hunger does too. I know it’s going to be really important to listen to my hunger signals and eat smart and clean to fuel my body. I also am going to cut back on drinking (which is probably a good thing anyway) so that I’m not making dumb choices, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it.

All that said, my goal for this half is to really stick with my training program and approach this race feeling strong and prepared. I have wavered in the past when training and not put my all into it, but this time I am ready to. I’d love to PR and beat my fastest time yet – 2:08:52 – and I know that if I put the time and dedication in, I can do that.

Do you struggle with balancing weight gain when you exercise a lot and/or are training for an endurance event? How do you balance the two? Any tips?

8 Comments on Fifth Time’s the Charm?

  1. Katherine
    August 27, 2012 at 8:55 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Beth! I recently started training for a half marathon as well (my fourth), and have found the same thing with weight gain and maintenance. It is definitely frustrating! For the first few weeks, I wasn’t changing my diet habits that usually cause me to lose weight, but when I changed things up a bit… I did start losing weight again. I think you can expect to gain or maintain the first couple of weeks, but it is just water weight. After week two, I started upping my water intake by about 30 extra ounces a day and also eating a more protein rich diet. It worked like a charm. In the 10 days I’ve been doing that, I’ve lost about 3 pounds on the scale. I know everyone’s body is different, but that is what worked for me. I really love your blog and can relate to a lot of it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Bailey @ Onederland or Bust!
    August 27, 2012 at 8:56 am (8 years ago)

    November is 12 weeks away!? 😮
    Good luck with your training! I find when I’m really into running, that’s all I do as well. I recently got a hold of p90x and I’m going to try and do that and running… if my body holds up.

  3. Nicole G
    August 27, 2012 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    Hooray! I’m running the Philly full marathon this year. It’s a great race, a great course, and I’m so excited for it. You’re gonna love it!

    I definitely gained wait training for my first marathon (I seem to have mastered it a bit for half training) and I don’t want to do that this time around. Last week, I started really counting my calories again and only ate my base plus about half of what I burned. This way, although I might not be losing at the rate I want, I know it’ll keep me from gaining anything or being crazy hungry through the process. On my long run Sundays (12, 14, 16 or more miles), I’m giving myself that “cheat” day to eat whatever and then back to counting on Monday. Again, seems to be working, but I think as long as you are conscious of it you’ll be okay. It’s when you stop counting or telling yourself “It’s okay because I ran X miles today” that you run into trouble.

    Good luck!

  4. Victoria
    August 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm (8 years ago)

    I think that is very common for female endurance athletes because of hormonal interactions. Without getting into “ew” territory, let’s just say that ironman training caused me to gain 5 lbs (while only averaging about 1800 calories a day) and there were definitely clear, um, hormonal impacts. Cortisol is really bad for a woman’s endocrinological health, and long, slow, aerobic exercise produces a ton of it.

  5. Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio
    August 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm (8 years ago)

    I always seem to maintain when I’m training but I think it’s because I eat more post workouts. I really think you can continue to lose, you just have to find the balance.

    Great job signing up for another and best of luck! Have fun!

  6. Courtney
    August 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm (8 years ago)

    YES! I’ve been slightly frustrated that I’ve been running 3-4 times a week, training for a 5k and have not lost a pound. I’m sure I could improve my diet slightly but it’s still been frustrating! Good luck training for your half!

  7. Gina
    August 29, 2012 at 9:45 am (8 years ago)

    I’ve been training all year (C25k to get back in shape post-baby), then 1/2, & now full (10/21/12)…I have been able to lose weight the entire time. I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight & have lost an additional 20#’s! One thing I have in my favor is breastfeeding, which burns additional calories…but it also means I have to be more diligent in my fueling/hydration/eating choices. I think it’s key to not get into the, “I ran X miles, so now I can treat myself/go hog wild,” pattern. Just try & eat “normally,” while increasing carb intake prior to a LR or satisfying your hunger w/fruit…all things you know! I’d say to continue to make tracking a priority & not deprive yourself when you’re truly hungry. Good luck! I currently have a compression sock give-a-way to help with recovery in a non-food related way that ends 8/31/12 ( I’m excited to read about your training & wl progress!

  8. Amanda @ Running On Waffles
    September 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm (8 years ago)

    I’m running the full in Philly and I’m really excited about it!!! I just wish the weather in DC would FINALLY get less hot and less humid so my long runs aren’t so miserable! I did my first half in Philly in 2009 and absolutely loved the course. I can’t wait to head back in November. I’m also doing The Parks Half on Sunday, which will hopefully remind me how to not go out too quickly during a race…a big mistake I made during the National Marathon in March. Fingers crossed for great weather in Philly and PRs all around!!


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