Welcome to my running blog. I am currently training to run two marathons in April 2011 - Paris and London - to help celebrate my 30th Birthday. I often get asked about my training methods so thought would write a blog so you can see what it takes -also it provides me with a momento of the last few months of my twenties! In addition to the personal challenge I will be raising money for charity - please see my fundraising page for more details:

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Week 6 cont: Run Fat Boy Run - Food, Exercise and Weight loss

A quick update on this weeks training before I give my very non scientific view on food, exercise and weight loss – for those of you in a rush the secret to losing weight (shh – don’t tell anyone): eat less move more. For longer, but not necessarily better chat see below.

Anyway, the better half is off skiing this week so taking the advantage of that to fit in a few extra sessions and also to get to bed earlier. After the pummelling my muscles took on Monday I woke up early on both Tuesday and Wednesday and headed into the Barbican Virgin Gym for a quick pre-work workout. I have found I am very bad at running in the morning and often injure myself so avoid the treadmill and stick to the other cardio machines. Both days I did around twenty mins on various step/rowing contraptions then hit the weights to keep my upper body in shape (Back on Tuesday and shoulders Weds – I rotate each day focusing on different parts of the body alternating pushing exercises (chest and shoulders) with pulling exercises (back)).

Had rearranged my trainer to Tuesday as one of my post work classes had been cancelled (still need to outline the new program we’re working on -  will do another time) and Wednesday I managed a 15km run consisting of my usual river run with a couple of extra KM on the treadmill. Some days I love running and I fly round with a smile on my face. Wednesday wasn’t one of those days – the run dragged, my legs were heavy and was happy to get to the end and reward myself with a long soak in the hot tub. 

Will see how the next two days go – heading out to paint the town a particularly racy shade of red so will see if can fit in runs before parties and in whatever state I find my self in tomorrow.

Run Fat Boy Run – Food, Exercise and Weight loss

I love food. Love love love food. I love burgers, chips, pizza and chocolate. I love steak, roast chicken, sushi. I love a juicy clementine, a squishy pear, a firm banana; Fresh grilled broccoli, lovely leaks, potato gratin. I love healthy food and I love fast food. Everything.

I don’t love being fat.

Running has many benefits - I am sure it is helping improve my heart and lungs and general health but we are all a little vain and I love the fact it keeps me slim and trim while I can enjoy a wide ranging and varied diet.

Being particularly geeky I have kept a record of my weight over the past couple of years (we have scales at work and do a weekly weigh in – pretty sad I know) – check out the graph below. Have annotated events I have been training for and also periods when I have been inured or likely to eat more and exercise less (Christmas! Mmmm) and you can see, unsurprisingly a pretty strong link between weight and how active I am. When I don’t have something to train for I do allot less running – maybe 10-20k a week.

To get all sciencey, if I continued eating at the same pace this would suggest that exercising more helps weight loss – however this is not the whole story. My diet, drinking habits and exercise are massively correlated resulting in large positive or negative feedback loops (More geeky terminology!).

As I am sure everyone does I eat more and worse quality food when I am stressed or depressed or drunk or hungover. The harder I exercise the less stressed I feel, the happier I am and the less time or inclination there is to drink. When my diet is bad, in my mind there is not much difference having just one more sticky bun or chocolate cake or portion of chips. The bad food gives you a buzz but then you often get the sugar low so eat again to perk up etc. etc. When I’m exercising I eat better. So yes – as my wonderful graph shows when I exercise more I lose weight but I believe half of this is down to improved diet – not just bouncing around like the Duracell bunny.

Which has the bigger impact – diet or exercise? Running burns energy but not nearly as much as you can scoff down. One mile burns roughly 100 calories. A mars bar is around 300 calories. A pint of beer is around 200 calories. We could have a long discussion but it’s fairly obvious to see that it’s easier to eat less than to exercise enough to burn off all the things you would love to eat. In general exercise DOES help (especially when I hit over 50k a week – then I find I can be more of a pig!) but for your average person you wont do enough exercise to give you carte blanche to eat whatever passes you by.

I have lots of other tips for weight loss/maintenance – however most things have been well covered by newspapers/magazines at the start of the year (New year – new you!) – drink lots of water, eat lots of small meals, snack on nuts, drink green tea, eat protein for breakfast, keep a food diary blah blah blah. All v familiair and all work.

One final point I would add – I find losing weight (or getting fitter) is like an oil tanker - it takes a long time to turn. Eating better and/or exercising more pays off after about two weeks. Often I get annoyed that it’s not having an affect and then revert to my old diet/less exercise. By the time the weight comes off am going in the other direction! Whatever your plan stick with it for a while.

Bon appétit!

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