RACE WEIGHT—> I would love to hear your thoughts!

But first, of course I need to fill you in on our Arizona Adventures from last night before actually talking about running related matters.

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We spent the afternoon getting some work done at the kitchen table.

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And then our night activities involved meeting her sister and niece for a pedicure… they did a very good job at making my running feet look a little less runnersish.

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We made a stop at Yogurtland dressed real stylish…

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And took a creepy selfie.

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I filled up my cup with some sprinkles because I know it would have made Brooke proud.

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A movie felt like a good decision afterwards.  

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Straight from the movie we went to the couch with some of Megan’s fancy homemade popcorn.  We watched Friends until way too late.  

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Okay, and another hello from Brooke.  I am BEYOND grateful that my ex sends me Brooke pictures throughout the day when she is with him.  Heaven forbid I don’t know what she is up to all day long.  

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A reader sent me this email and I would love to hear your opinion/thoughts/experience with this subject:

“I’ve been doing a lot of research on “ideal race weight”.  I definitely think that losing a few pounds would help my marathon time, although I don’t think I am overweight.  I also can’t figure out a way to ‘diet’ without compromising my training.  The last time I attempted to shed a few pre-race pounds, I felt terrible and couldn’t recover fast enough to hit my desired workout paces.  

Do you or your readers think that ‘race weight’ has any merit and/or is something runners should worry about?  And if anyone has shed a few pre-race pounds, how did they do it a) healthily and b) without losing their minds from a lack of donuts? I just can’t seem to figure that out!”

My opinion on race weight (that I am not sure whether or not answers the question)—>  it is a super tricky subject for females.  There is a fine line between the perfect race weight (the lower range of your healthy weight range) and going overboard with losing weight.  There are major health consequences that come along with females that are underweight.  I think it is very common to assume that the lighter we are the faster we will be.  I think it is likely to be faster for a race or two while underweight before your body breaks down and injuries occur.  For example 5ish years ago I was underweight and I ran my fastest marathon time but then dealt with some serious injuries for a long time after that.  I am now about 20 lbs heavier than I was at that time and feel a million times stronger (with fewer injuries) now compared to then.  While I am sure if I was at the perfect ‘race weight/muscle mass/leaness/etc’ I would shave some time off my races… but to be honest it isn’t worth it to me (once again, this is just my option) to focus a lot on it because I don’t feel a lack of energy in my workouts (from cutting calories) and I’m happy where I am at.  I think that everyone is very different and each body prefers different set points where they will preform their best.  Finding that set point is the tricky part.

I think it is also super interesting because over time the elite distance runner’s bodies have shifted a bit to a more muscular build than they used to be.  The elites are also probably working very closely with sports nutritionists to ensure they are at just the right place for peak performance.  Long story short… I don’t feel like a few lbs will make A HUGE DIFFERENCE (my own opinion probably because I like donuts too much) but eating well (I know, I know… something I need to work on;), getting enough sleep, training/recovering hard, being at a healthy weight with muscle to power you up and down those hills that endure miles and miles of running is the goal.  

Great articles about this topic here, here and here!

What are your thoughts on race weight?  Do you ever diet during marathon training?  

What is your workout today?

Last movie that you saw?

Favorite Friends episode?

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103 comments

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I ran a few miles this morning but I’m taking some time off, migraines! UGH.

I don’t try to lose weight during marathon training but I do try to maintain my current weight.

I saw the new star wars movie.

Favorite friends episode is when Rachael and Pheobe go running, it’s hilarious.

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So sorry for your migraines. I have chronic migraines (I now get Botox for them, alas not the benefits one would expect…::smirk::) so I understand. Feel better…

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I get migraines too! They are the worst and running can sometimes make them worse.

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Yep. I can usually tell if running will help or hinder by the level they’re at. If it’s a 6 or above I’ll usually rest. If it’s under that I’ll give the run a try and see if I can get some relief for a bit. But I’ve had them since I was a kid so I have too many years to admit of dealing with them.

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Sorry about the migraines!! I get a lot of sinus stuff/headaches, no migraines. But my sister gets them pretty bad and recently found she was super low in magnesium. She takes a lot of magnesium and almost never gets them now.

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I get migraines too and magnesium often helps!

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I’ve talked about race weight and “ideal body fat” a bunch on my blog because it’s what I’ve struggled with the most! I feel like my body is most comfortable around 130lbs, but I look different from a lot of women in my coral or at the startingline. Last year I tried to cut weight for my marathon and my body just didn’t let me. I was loosing weight, but also performance so obviously it wasn’t worth it.

I think I have to maintain a certain amount of body fat to keep running so in the times I want to be leaner and lose weight, I have to scale back my running in fear of stress fractures or other negative effects! My body just likes a little extra fat and I’m okay with it!

It took me a while to come to terms with it though!

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I’m with you, trying to lose weight while training will likely lead to less energy when you’re training too. I don’t like the idea of trying to lose weight while training. Some people will naturally, some will gain weight while training (me!). I think its important to try to eat as healthy as you can and fuel your body with good sources of energy, but I think things like that (good energy), good sleep and recovery, weight training, etc. will make a bigger difference in the end than a few pounds will. Just my two cents!

Last movie I saw was Love Actually over the weekend. Just a cross training workout today, I’m still trying to kick my cold!

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I think if you try to lose weight while marathon training it backfires and you wind up risking your health – either injury, bone density, etc. Some people probably lose while training and others gain, but for most women it’s not healthy to put any pressure on weight – we get enough of it without doing it to ourselves!

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Where did you get those cute pants you are wearing in the photo you are eating popcorn? Love them!

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I actually dug into the “research” behind that alleged 2seconds/mile improvement for each pound lost, and found it’s basically garbage and based on nothing:
http://obligatorytriblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/lose-weight-gain-speed-myth.html

And then I analyzed my own race times vs. my weight:
http://obligatorytriblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html

Since then, I raced another marathon in 3:47. Compared to that 4:34 marathon in the analysis, I weight 0.75 lbs less. I don’t think the weight itself makes a difference.

I think you are spot on in your evaluation – you will race well when you fuel well and train hard and recover smart. And your weight will adjust accordingly.

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I don’t think we should focus so much on numbers on the scale but more so on how healthy we feel. We should be comfortable with our bodies and not have to worry about weight. I’m with you in that I don’t think a few pounds make a huge difference in racing.

It is so difficult to choose just ONE Friends episode, but I might go with “The One Where No One’s Ready” when they are all trying to get ready for Ross’ big night, and Joey puts on all of Chandler’s clothes. :)

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The best advice I ever got on this was from a nutritionist-trainer: your goal should be leaner not just lighter. That means losing fat but not compromising muscle, which can only happen if you increase your protein intake while reducing the overall consumption of starches, simple carbs, and sugars. It’s much better for you to eat these foods in targeted ways (i.e.: just before, during, and immediately after speed drills and long runs) rather than all the time, while making sure to eat enough protein to maintain muscle mass along with a ton of fresh vegetables. Because I’m sensitive to sugar and starches (as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I bloat a lot when I eat these foods), I’ve had to scale back on these and substitute healthier options that give me energy for running, like sweet potatoes — the perfect food!

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I totally agree on “leaner, not just lighter”! Focusing on “race shape” vs. “race weight” may be a healthier way to frame what we’re working towards.

For me, speedwork helps me to change the non-racing fat on my butt and thighs to muscle; when my thigh chafing is no longer an issue because I’ve slimmed down, then I know I’m in my racing shape!

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Sara, I think that’s great. Being leaner vs lighter. I will have to remember that.
I’ve only run one marathon but I didn’t gain or lose weight during training, just maintained. But I definitely think some fat turned to muscle because I was definitely more toned after.

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I’ve noticed the same types of changes in my body when I train for a marathon. I’ve also noticed that if I don’t strength-train with weights between marathons and, to some degree, also during then I tend to lose my shape really quickly after the race. Although I grew up with a marathon-running father who was ridiculously lean, I’ve noticed that in my own training especially as I get older, my bone density and overall conditioning improves a ton when I work at building muscle in the gym alongside running miles. I’m trying to carry this forward into my current marathon training cycle, and we’ll see if it helps me improve my finishing time!

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I agree with what you said! I find that I naturally lose a few pounds in the peak of my training but I know some runners gain weight. I find that listening to my body and sticking to whole, natural foods as much as possible helps alot. I would definitely prefer to weigh a little bit more and be healthy and injury free than underweight and have to deal with the issues that could go along with that.

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I don’t race but I also think that “dieting” while training would not be a great idea. I am fully on board w/ feeding the body when it needs fuel and training for long races means the body needs a lot of fuel. My workout today was a frigid (5 degrees) 3 miler + 1.5 miles of rowing. It was actually a few degrees warmer than yesterday and I could tell it wasn’t as intense. My husband and I have seen 6 movies this past week. I am off from work and it’s my favorite thing to do. Yesterday we saw Spectre! Today we will see Concussion and NYE we plan to see Joy. My favorite that we saw was The Big Short! Excellent film that I feel is a must see for all if you want to understand why we had the housing crash/recession in 2008.

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Thanks so much for posting my question, Janae! LOVING reading the responses – and am feeling like I should be much less concerned about weight and much more concerned about how my body is responding to training. (Which, so far this cycle, is GREAT!)

I’m off to hit the dreadmill for some tempo intervals. Snow is keeping me indoors today! Boo! :(

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Hi Janne
I don’t disagree with your advice/opinion but I think it’s worth mentioning that if someone is thinking of losing additional weight even though they’re already at a healthy weight might be a good idea to check in with the professional (Doctor or nutritionist) to be sure they do so in a safe way. So so many women in my life have gotten on a bad path with this kind of thinking. So I think it’s such a fine line to maintain on the very low end of healthy that you really need help to do it safely. Just my two cents.

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Ugh, sorry for spelling your name wrong!

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Friends episode: the one where everyone finds out! We are re-watching them all right now :)

Race weight: I think it is a made up idea! And maybe an excuse for getting too thin?? Personally, I ran PRs at my thinnest (via eating only salad) and then ended up with a huge long stint of mono and other issues. So that obviously was not a good weight for me even though I did race well briefly. Just don’t fight yourself and your body!! It is tempting because I do want that glory back, but not at the cost…

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I don’t diet while training for a race. I pretty much always stay the same weight unless I’m really stress eating. Several years ago I did a figure competition and cut about 10 pounds for that and I felt terrible – it was so hard to work out with so little energy. Also, I’m one that needs more carbs and that diet called for higher protein and low carbs. Also, after that experience I developed a pretty unhealthy relationship with food which took a few years to fix. When I want to lose a couple pounds now I just stay away from the candy bowl at work, try a little portion control at meal time and make it a point to not snack after dinner. That way I’m not depriving myself too much but still cut some unnecessary calories!

Workout today is 4 easy miles after work:) Last movie I saw was Spectre!

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I’ve noticed that during marathon training, I’ll crave healthier foods, and I wonder if that may lower my body-fat percentage and increase my muscle mass (simply by eating less sugars and relying more on wholesome, muscle-building foods). It’s not something I put a lot of energy into focusing on though, as long as I feel and run well.

I just saw “Concussion” over the weekend… Amazing. Definitely not a “feel good” movie but it related a lot to the types of things I study and I thought it was so interesting and well-done!

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We saw that movie today. Wow. Such an important film with a story that must be told.

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I definitely agree!

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I honestly haven’t ever even thought of race weight and that’s the way I feel best. I think as long as you’re running and training and eating right your body will do what it needs to as far as weight goes. But I’m also one of those people who can keep much weight on.

Last movie I saw was mocking jay part two and I cried the whole last part of that movie!

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I am with you, Janae. I think there can be too much focus on body weight as a measure of performance but really there are other more important things to consider (in my opinion) like muscle mass, strength and cardiovascular health. I would much rather way more than risk injury and negative health ramifications from holding a weight that is too low. Since I have really gotten into running and consistent strength training, I am actually up in weight a bit and I’m okay with it because I know I have built muscle my body is in better shape. It can be too much of a slippery slope to focus on weight.

5 miles for me and some yoga!

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I lose weight at the peak of training, but part of it is from having less muscle mass and part from watching my nutrition. I cut back on sugar during training and that helps me lose weight. But I think that intentional dieting and restriction of calories and carbs is dangerous, especially women.

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I’ve never been one to diet, but during training I definitely clean up my eat habits. That usually means less sugary things and alcohol. In January I’m going to try out the Whole30 (which isn’t really a diet but eliminating foods that can irritate your stomach then re introducing them to see what makes you feel best) while I start marathon training, so I’ll see if eating clean makes a difference!!

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Friends episode – The One with The Embryos (with the homemade quiz game)

I totally agree with the idea of “leaner not lighter”. Trim fat but without losing muscle! Easier said than done but worth it in the long run.

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Friends episode: “we were on a break!”
I don’t think ideal weight is as important as fueling nutritiously. Eating crap will affect performance way more than being a few pounds heavier or lighter than ideal. And who decided what ideal is anyway?

I’m about 20 pounds overweight but I know my running has been in the tanker because I est junk more often then not.

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Dieting during marathon training? Hahahahahaha. Oh. Seriously. I don’t know how people would. I am ravenous when training long distance. Two years ago, I weighed about 10-15 pounds less training for a half, but was plagued by overuse injuries and often felt weaker at the end of runs. Cross training has made a bigger impact on my race times than my weight.

Today’s workout is a rest day – walking with the dog :)

The one where Phoebe and Rachel decide to test Chandler and see if he and Monica are really together. “They know that we know that they know!”

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Like you Janae, a few years ago I became too thin and my body broke down in the form of multiple injuries. I’m still recovering from that and experiencing consequences. My advice to that reader is to maintain weight loss a separate goal from race training. The body can absorb so much change at one time and there is a time and place for both. To stay healthy and injury free, keep those two goals separate.

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Tonight I have 8 x 800s (My least favorite track workout!) I am training to hit a sub 2 at my next half! Fingers crossed!! Marathon training is the time when I feel like I can eat all the foods. But, I never train for a specific time with a marathon.

My very favorite tv show is Friends! I have watched the whole series no less than 10 times throughout the past few years. My favorite episode is The One Where Ross is Fine. When he drinks margaritas and is totally fine! Just hilarious.

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I don’t have an opinion on race weight because I don’t race. I just run because I like getting out there and it’s a little bit of time for me.

With that being said, I did participate in a diet plan for runners test group. It is now available. It is the k-fit 6 challenge. The coach is Kendrick Ribeiro. You can find him on Facebook. He is a running coach and I first used one of his marathon training plans when doing my first half marathon. Those of us in the first challenge group loved the training plan. I really loved the challenge and I think Coach K offers great info. (I sound like a paid advertisement but I’m not in anyway. I just really loved it!)

Check him out! If you’re reader has some questions, I can message you my email or Facebook info and you could pass it along.

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PS I have no idea what Coach Kendrick’s feeling are regarding race weight. This plan is simple about losing weight and toning up for runners. It is not about getting to an ideal race weight. I’m just suggesting it as a weight loss plan.

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Ageed … Race weight is a very tricky subject! I’m sure being a few pounds lighter would help with a speedier finish … But I’d rather be a little slower than deal with stress fractures/runner’s knee/everything that comes with bone and muscles being weaker. I also think it’s WAY too hard to diet during marathon training!

Last movie I saw – When Harry Met Sally!! Sunday night dinner and a movie with some girlfriends!

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OH my gosh. Your life just got so much better after that movie!!! So good.

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I read recently (in RW mag?) that you shouldn’t cut back more than 200 cal a day or it will negatively affect your training.

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While I’ve never lost weight to be at a “race weight” I gained weight during the past year and I can tell it’s taken a toll on my running. I don’t doubt that losing a few pounds can help you speed up a bit.
I probably can’t pick a favorite episode, they all make me laugh! I saw Star wars the first night it was out and it was incredible! I’ve been watching Harry Potter the past few days though :)

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We just started re-watching all the Harry Potters the other day too! :)

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Such a tough subject! I agree that I run a lot faster (and with fewer injuries) at the lower end of my ideal weight. For me key is cutting processed, low nutrient foods (I.e donuts).

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I’ve wondered this exact same thing.

Just for background (I’m not advocating, just mainly regurgitating what I’ve read in the past): One thing to note is that while an ideal race weight is a specific number, it’s supposed to represent the weight at which you have the ideal amount of fat to optimally perform. In that sense, it is still a version of “leaner, not lighter” because you’re working to eliminate unnecessary fat.

You can find an ideal race weight calculator online. When I used it, it told me I would have to lose 4-5 pounds to get to around 15% body fat. A few years ago, I was close to that weight and started to experience health problems (I never lost my period, but I could tell my body was having to work extra hard to start my period every month or so — I also had close friends and my parents tell me I was getting too thin) so now I make sure my weight does not go below 120 lb. It really surprised me that 115 would be my ideal race weight, given the fact I began to see health problems at that weight.

I played around with the idea of shooting for that weight during my next race. After reading about ideal race weight, I think the thing to keep in mind is that even elites do not maintain this weight constantly. They get to the weight a few weeks before the race, and then, they work to gain five to ten pounds post-race. I haven’t figured out whether I think that makes the idea of an ideal race weight better or not.

In the end though, I just do not think the two minutes it may or may not give me is going to be worth the potential harm.

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Also, I’ve always found this article really interesting:

http://www.runnersworld.com/health/running-on-empty

It definitely shows the importance of not getting too thin.

(Sorry, haha I think my response shows that, like your reader, I’m all of the place on this subject)

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I try to maintain a healthy weight, and haven’t dieted while training. I generally go by how I feel and how my clothes fit, especially since weight can fluctuate so much day to day.

I had a run on the plan for today, but it’s icy out, so I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing.

I finally saw the last Hunger Games movie – it was a little disappointing, but I’m still glad I saw it because you have to see the ending!

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I do believe that when I weigh less it feels easier to run and I get significantly faster and this is especially noticeable after I haven’t been running for a while and gain weight then start to run again and lose the weight…it could very well be that running again and being active boosts my strength and endurance and helps me lose weight and it isn’t the weight loss that improves my running but nevertheless I feel that it is easier to run when I’m lighter. I don’t really diet while training for a race I kind of just cut out the “extras”…afternoon muffin, late night snacks, extra beer…I still eat these treats just not everyday/multiple times a day :)

Today I will be going out for a 5 mile run if I can escape work for my lunch break

The last movie I saw was the Water Diviner which was a very good movie

Favorite Friends episode I would say anyone where Ross has the monkey Marcel

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I don’t worry too much about weight when I am training for a marathon or triathlon. If anything, I have to be mindful about eating enough calories, especially on long run or workout days. I just try and fuel my body with healthy foods (with the occasional splurge) and don’t obsess about weight. However, I do notice that I race differently when I weigh more or less. It’s all very interesting!

Today I have a 5 mile run on the schedule and am supposed to do hill repeats. My favorite. Hopefully I can find a hill around here that isn’t covered in snow and ice.

Last movie I saw was the new Star Wars movie! So good. I might have to see it again before it leaves the big screen.

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I’ve been craving popcorn lately and I really need to go get some!! Also, glad to head Daddy’s Home was good! I’m dying to see it.

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Last movie I saw was Elf..such a good one. I am on my dads elliptical today because it’s wet outside and I don’t want to slip and fall (I’m clumsy).

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If a runner is at a normal healthy weight I suggest cleaning up the diet for health and strength rather than weight loss. I coach runners on foods to eat while training, what helps you feel your best and helps the body reduce inflammation. Eating less sugar, more complex carbohydrates, lean protein and vegetables + fruits will help your performance improve. You often lose a few pounds along the way. The upshot is you need to eat when you run high mileage. Elite runners like Meb eat but keep treats to fun size portions.

Today is cross-training for me. I ran last night and will go again tomorrow.

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That’s interesting Janae. I think race weight is really dependent on the person. Some people do well with more muscle amd some don’t. For me I know I’m at a good weight when I’m racing well and still enjoying life too.

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I think maybe elite/professional runners may benefit from working hard to change their diets to lose a few extra pounds because running is their source of income. But for us regular folks, I don’t buy into “race weight” all that much. Sure, if you can drop a few pounds in a healthy fashion without compromising your training… go for it! But most hobby runners would benefit from more training/better training than from dropping five pounds if they are already thin/healthy.

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I don’t worry so much about my weight. I find that if I focus on staying consistent and getting stronger, then a lean body and healthy performance weight are a happy by-product. As I’ve worked on getting stronger and improving my time over the past couple of years, I’ve realized that training won’t make my body stick thin. I’m not at all overweight, but training makes my body look a little more muscular. I’ve gotten faster by putting in the training work, not by losing weight. It’s so awesome to see and feel my performance improve, so I try not to worry too much about what the number on the scale is.

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Favorite Friends Episode – Last two minutes of “the one with the red sweater” I laugh at Joey’s reaction EVERY Single time.

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I’ve found that eating “cleaner” tends to help me lean out while giving me energy for my runs.
The injuries that come with calorie cutting are not worth it in my opinion. It doesn’t matter how low your weight is if you’re out for a stress fracture for months (been there!). Great topic!

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I am currently a bit overweight, have been for about two years due to infertility treatments. Now that I am done with that I am hoping to get back down. I was a lot faster 10 lbs lighter but when I was 20 lbs lighter I did get injured a bit more. It is really a happy medium with your own body.

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Race weight can be a tough topic but I don’t think it has to be. I think you should keep it simple by focusing on making healthy food choices and limiting the junk when gearing up for a big race and that will give you the edge you are looking for.

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Very good post and I really love your opinion on the race weight issue. My body loves to be at 110 lbs, I try and listen to it and eat whatever I crave. I also wanted to mention re: muscles required to run hills… trail runners have very muscular builds compared to road marathon runners and look much healthier.

I would never try and lose weight during marathon training. The lack of fuel would most definitely have a negative effect on the long runs.

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My body naturally slims down when I am running miles upon miles however I never try to cut calories especially since I am already on a somewhat limited diet
(strict vegetarian by choice).

No workout for the next 2.5 months since I am on modified bedrest to keep this baby IN as long as possible. I cannot wait to get back to training, plan on signing up for a 1/2 for motivation!

I cannot remember the last movie I watched, probably Gran Torino with the husband a few weeks ago!

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This is a great topic Janae! This is so well-timed for me, as I’ve been battling myself on this lately, and I’m enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts. For me, it’s been more helpful instead of focusing on a number or specific percentage, finding what I am doing when I’m performing my best. The “leanness” I’m at when I’m hitting my key workouts, recovering well, and running my strongest is where my body wants to be….even if that number is not what I’d necessarily prefer. Being too underweight has led to injuries, fast burnout, and sickness, and it took the joy out of running for me. It’s hard to shake the thought though that “if I lose just 5 lbs, maybe I will be more likely to run my goal race.” Maybe, maybe not, but I’m not sure it’s worth the risk….

Today was an easy 8 miles. Next week starts my taper for my next marathon :) I’m not sure I have a favorite Friends episode, I love them all! If I had to pick, I’d say the one when Joey keeps covering for Monica and Chandler when they are trying to hide their relationship :)

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I try not to diet, per say…overall just eat healthy and consume more whole foods vs
processed or eating out.

Workout today is an undetermined distance/pace/etc. Today is my birthday…and I decided I will run 1 minute for each year of age (39). Hopefully I will end up with ~4.5 miles-ish.

Last movie I saw (sort of) was “Pixels” with my kiddo. We had seen that when it was out at the theater, then he received a copy for Christmas.

As for “Friends”…how could you pick just one episode?!?!?!? They are all amazing!!

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I am stuck and would love to lose ten pounds for my running and myself. I’m definitely not overweight but I’m at the higher end of my healthy weight. I need to reign it in. Unfortunately between Hypothyroidism and Celiac, I am not losing. I’m just stuck. So frustrating.

Is there any way to narrow down a favorite Friends episode? Really?? I don’t think so. I couldn’t do it. I love so many. “What kind of scary ass clowns came to YOUR birthday party?”…I think instead I could choose my favorite lines…so much love for “Friends”.

Last movie…my husband and I saw two movies in one day. I bought him “War Room”. Amazing. We both loved it and highly recommend. Then we went to the theatre and saw “The Big Short”. Also really really good. Enlightening, sad, funny, really good.

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I found stand to lose w few pounds, but I’m not overweight or anything. Really if I could just incorporate more cross/strength training into my regimen, i would see a major difference.

Favorite Friends episode?! There are so many to choose from! I do find that I LOVE the episode where they are watching the prom video and Rachel kisses Ross.

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I promise, I have not been drinking! ;)

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My favorite Friends episodes are The One Where Everyone Finds out and the one where the girls lose their apartment to the boys.

My workout today is a 30 min run. My husband and I are building into a solid running routine.

The last movie I saw was Star Wars! New *favorite* movie!

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I think “race weight” is ridiculous….I mean, if you’re overweight then yeah….losing a couple pounds might help you get faster because you’ll be in overall better shape. However, I can tell you that many of the women (and men) who have whooped me and left me in their dust are far from what people would consider a “racing weight”….And for those of us with muscular frames, reaching the ideal weight is just never going to happen. I found a racing weight calculator and it said I should be around 120….I didn’t even weigh that in HS. I feel healthiest around 130-135….it’s a weight I can maintain and feel good about. I NEVER diet during marathon training – that sounds like a recipe for disaster. You shouldn’t be reducing calories while stressing your body during training – that will actually cause weight GAIN.

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This is just anecdotal of course, but I’ve had no luck with cutting calories to reduce to a race weight. The problem is, I’m already technically under weight. I’m 5′ 3″ and 106 pounds but I feel certain that I would be a bit faster at 100-103 pounds and my fastest marathon was run at 98 pounds. But I can’t seem to force it. End up depleted and tired and not able to have good workouts. I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found that it may not be a weight thing that would improve my time, but a body fat thing. I want to stay in the healthy range of course (12 percent) but being leaner would offer that boost without compromising calories that I need to train well. This means clean eating and only healthy fats. Not easy!

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Oh and as reference my marathon pr is 3:07 and I’m working towards that elusive sub 3. And I last watched Star Wars episode 7!

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I don’t try to diet during training but I do try to focus on putting optimal fuel/nutrients in my body and try to cut out any junk; and I tend to lean out in doing so which does help me race better I think.
8 x 400 for me this morning.
I haven’t seen a movie in a bit I think it was the latest Hunger Games. over due for a movie date!

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Timing of my calories, especially my carbs, seems to help me maintain/lose weight without compromising training energy. Eating my carbs and fruits in the morning and less as the day goes on.

Favorite Friends episode is The One with All the Wedding Dresses.

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I think that this is a very interesting topic. It comes up big time in bike racing and is pretty dependent on the type of race. If a rider is racing an uphill race, they will be pretty cautious about weight the couple of weeks before. If it is more of a flat or downhill course, the weight doesnt mean as much.
Marathon racing is interesting. When I trained for mine, I lost weight naturally, but my sister has gained weight with hers. I think a lot has to do with paces and types of workouts going into the race. You tend to lose more when doing speed workouts, but just running more of a base to get you through the race, you will not see much of a loss.

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Tricky subject, but I definitely don’t think “Race Weight” is something you should work so hard for that you feel like you’re losing your mind. If you eat a healthy diet that is 80% healthy with a focus on vegetables and lean protein, and train consistently at a certain level (higher-level), you’ll likely hit your race weight naturally (what happens to me). It shouldn’t be forced. Once you force it, that’s when you get into trouble.

However, when I’m eating donuts or muffins or too many ‘fluffy’ carbs daily or a few times a week (like NOW) – well, of course I won’t hit my race weight. It’s very frustrating but right now I’m choosing too much of the crap over what I really want. I think the runner needs to be honest with him or herself. If it’s a struggle to give up what they really love, then there’s a real emotional component and attachment going on that needs to be addressed first…or maybe it doesn’t need to be and the runner just needs to question why they are trying to hit a certain weight (what are their real goals – and why).

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I accidentally lost too much weight last winter due to not eating enough for the amount I was running, and it SUCKED. So many health problems and doctor’s appointments… and gaining back the weight I needed was not fun. Now I’m 20-25 lbs. heavier than my lowest weight, and I’m running way farther and way faster – and of course, eating WAY more. All that to say, I agree, lighter is not always better.

I ran about 10 miles today… and my marathon is in 5 days… oops. I’m the worst at tapering.

I saw Mockingjay: Part Two on Christmas, and it was pretty good! I read the books and thought they rendered it pretty well.

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i personally feel like i have about 10 pounds to go before ideal race weight but thats still in the mid range of where my weight should be for my height and age. when i get to the upper range of that scale i definitely feel slower and that its harder to run. i dont think its a good idea to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of losing weight though. i still eat enough protein / carbs to keep me fueled. i didnt fuel right for one race and almost passed out. i never want that to happen for real so i make sure and keep and eye on what im eating.

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I love your outings with friends- they always sounds os fun! How was the Will Ferrel movie? A part of me wants to see it, but it doesn’t look very good based on the trailer.

I am not a racaer by any means, but I just read and article by a fellow blogger named Margaret that I LOVED. It spoke of the ideal running weight very honestly. Here is the link! http://www.youngandrungry.com/when-running-makes-me-mad-yr-reader-survey/

Favorite friends episode: when Phoebe tries to seduce Chandler. HILARIOUS

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Julia thanks for sharing this! You are seriously the best! I thought of this too when I read it this morning :)

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I’ve read a bit about race weight though I think the real focus should be on someone’s diet and nutrition during training and racing season if they want to perform well. When I started running on a more regular basis earlier this year, I lost 10-15 pounds and was told I was running too much. (Still a few points above the lowest end of my healthy BMI for the record and my closest family and friends shared no concerns). However, I know that changing my nutritional habits was the biggest driver – I used to INSANE portions of meals. And tons of sweets. I still have moments where I eat a lot but it happens far less than it did before. And much less sweets are being consumed. Since then, I have PRed in every race distance up to a half, and haven’t had any problems with GI issues like I did prior to this change.

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I can’t decide on my favorite Friends episode – there are too many. Pivot episode always makes me laugh though!

Brooke is a cutie!

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There is evidence that being at an ideal weight/body fat percentage may result in faster times, but attaining that weight or degree of leanness is where it becomes complicated. Running Times published a good post on this last year: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/your-fastest-weight

As a sports RD, I talk to endurance athletes all the time about optimizing their nutrition during training, and more often than not, I advise against trying to lose weight during a training cycle, especially once someone is past the initial base-building period. When ramping up and looking to make gains in fitness and reap the benefits of training adaptations, there are so many critical nutritional considerations for before, during and after runs and workouts to help with performance and recovery. If someone tries to restrict during this time, he or she could be be compromising their ability to meet his or her nutrient needs. At that point, I often find that the risks of cutting calories/foods/food groups (i.e. injury, illness, poor performance, lack of energy, development of disordered eating behaviors, etc.) outweigh the speed benefit of possibly dropping a couple of pounds. Also, based on my experience and a lot of the comments, it seems like “ideal” body weights, just like training and nutrition plans, are highly individualized and should take into consideration a slew of other factors aside from just one’s gender, age, current weight/body composition and fitness level.

More anecdotally, I’ve raced better and stayed healthier in the past couple of years than I ever have before when I was about 15-20 lbs lighter. Sure, there are times when I think about trying to drop a few pounds to see if I can find a balance point where I’m a bit speedier while remaining healthy/injury-free/not overly concerned/consumed with controlling my eating habits, but it’s clearly a delicate balance that requires a lot of effort and carries some risk. Losing weight is also not a primary focus for me right now since I have plenty of other areas to explore to improve my training, including working on mental toughness, fine-tuning my race fueling, and getting better at prioritizing recovery.

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I lose inches but gain a few pounds when I Marathon train…so I don’t know what my ideal weight is! I definitely don’t lose weight when running really long distances and just try to make smart decisions.

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My race weight is a big issue as I know I am currently overweight. My fastest half marathon was when I was at my lightest, but I was still a healthy weight. Now that I am heavier I am much slower.

If donuts are to blame, cutting them out probably wouldn’t be a bad idea…

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This has been on my mind and coming at a good time. I have had my fair share of weight issues. When I trained for my first marathon in 2011 I dropped 10lbs pretty quickly even though I was at a healthy weight (dropped to 109lbs with a 5’3″ height). I lost my period (which is still not back). I did get a marathon PR in 2012 of 3:16:49. Shortly after that I had my first stress fracture before Boston in 2013, luckily recovered in time to still able to run it, although I did miss 1 marathon before it. I am trying to run a marathon in all 50 states. I had kept that weight and started birth control and no issues. I was learning how birth control can mess you up so I went off of it while marathon training and instantly got a stress fracture this summer. I slowly realized my body is not at a healthy weight even though I was in the racing weight range. Since this summer I have gained 6lbs and I got a PR at this new weight in November of 3:12:32! So that made me feel better that weight isn’t the only reason to get PRs. I think it comes into training and fueling. I am still struggling since I had been restricting calories that I know I need. I entered a binge cycle and probably disordered eating. Being at too low of a weight messed me up and trying to accept a higher weight still. I know I need to gain more and get back to the weight I was at before I even started marathon training and get my period back. Not healthy or worth the risk! Running is an extreme sport and you definitely need to fuel it properly in order for it to function well. Trying to learn my lesson and any tips would be appreciated! Run strong!

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I’ve had a friend ask me about why she can’t lose weight running. And I never started running to lose weight. My running helped with post baby depression. I run more for mental clarity. I don’t really weigh myself and have never had an ED. So I’m clueless about weight and running. But I don’t think losing weight should be a priority at all when training.
And that is awesome about your ex texting pics!! That seriously is the best. The bond between us moms and our babies…no words. We just have to know they r safe and happy. Great news.

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It’s great that your EX sends you frequent pictures – I know it must be tough to be separated from Brooke when she’s your constant companion when she’s around so that’s really thoughtful of him.
Love the Froyo outfits, especially the footwear.
It’s hard to choose a favorite Friends episode – maybe the one where Chandler and Monica propose to each other.

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I think that as a runner (if you let it), your body will eventually get to its desired weight. I believe that there is a certain set point that every body performs it’s best at, and it’s up to each individual person to start listening to their body to get to that point. I know that for me, when I was 10lbs underweight and was deep into my exercise addiction, I didn’t have a lot of energy. I was at the peak of my endurance, running 10-12k nearly every day, but I was running 8 min miles. Now, I haven’t weighed myself in over 6 months, but I believe my BMI to be in the 19s. I can run a 20:08 5k and a 41:52 10k–something that I hadn’t ever believed that I would be able to do. I can tell that my weight has flu curated these past few months, but you have to let nature take its course and be patient.

My workout today was a 6k run in the snow! Even though I had my YaxTrax on, there was absolutely no traction in the soft snowy roads, and it took a lot of effort just to get those few kilometres in that I did. I hate winter running in Canada. :'(

I JUST got finished watching Carrie for the first time. I’m still cant tell how I feel about it.

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My workout today was my favorite – dance cardio. And last night my fiancee and I watched Hostel, which I had never seen before. Crazy movie!

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I think that if you are able to hit your paces and feel good during training than your weight during the race doesn’t really matter :)!
If anybody could please check out my blog that would be amazing:
https://sweetpotatoesrunner.wordpress.com

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I know I need to lose some weight to be faster but after reading a book about racing weight…I think I am going to go more with body fat than weight. The book also talks about how to time weightloss b/c like many mentioned before, it does not go well with increased training.

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I was SO SO worried when I started marathon training (for my 1st in September) that i was going to gain a ton of weight, cause that is what I had read. You eat more=you gain more. But that wasn’t the case! I didn’t gain, but I did lose about 4 pounds, but I also made sure I ate well, and that I didn’t over eat because I was hungry. I think I also gained muscle during that time too, and that helped with the transition. AND I was injury free! But I was slower than slow (due to a number of factors on race day).

My workout today will be running 4 miles on the treadmill.

We saw Star Wars in the theater on Christmas, and then just watched “Once I was a beehive” last night, which was pretty funny!

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I don’t think racing weight is a myth. That said, I don’t think it is static. You can’t loose too much fat without compromising your health and muscle just so happens to weigh a bit. The result is that the ideal racing weight changes.

For me, losing 5 lbs makes a noticeable difference. My running is easier. Of course, I’m someone that typically has 5 lbs of padding in the off season. I love food, however. My best solution is allowing unlimited fruits, veggies, and going crazy on good fats (nuts, avocado, etc) during training. Also lots of water. I try to minimize the less useful food I love (ie- cookies, candy, oodles of fresh bread). That seems to cause leaning without the pain of deprivation.

Today- 8 easy.

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I never diet. But I decided to eliminate some bad habits ( Salty snacks & desserts) on June 1 last year. I lost about 10 lb. I PR’d by 2 minutes in a marathon I didn’t really train for (on a hilly course). Three weeks later I PR’d my 1/2 by 2 minutes. P. S. I’m old…. 46.

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I don’t diet when I’m training for a race (or ever, for that matter). To me, dieting = stepping on the scale, and that’s a slippery slope. I do tend to eat healthier when I train because I want my runs to go as smoothly as possible, but there are plenty of cheat days along the way too. : )

The last movie I saw was Home Alone 2! (Home Alone is superior in my opinion.)

There are too many good Friends episodes to choose from, but some of my favorites are the one with the holiday armadillo, the one where Chandler’s mom kisses Ross (maybe I’m getting that wrong?), and the one with Ross and the leather pants.

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For my ‘race weight’ I try not to focus to much on the actual number but rather on how i feel and what I put in my body. when it’s race season I tend to be a little more conscientious with my food, leaning towards more vegetables, fruits, proteins, and complex carbohydrates like brown rice and sweet potatoes. I think it is also super important to balance that with adequate sleep but also relaxing once in a while say if you go out for dinner or its someones birthday, ya know?Then to go back to a ‘normal’ weight in off season is also important for your body’s recovery and rest period.

I think having a healthy balance between running, weights/core conditioning/yoga, healthy foods is where it’s at :)

I have been on vacation so it has been super relaxing and I have been treating myself to extra yoga – todays workout what a wonderful hot flow yoga class and an easy 40′ run :)

Hmm favourite friends episode?! gosh there were so many – the tears when the series ended :(

Cheers!

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I definitely agree with you Janae on the weight issue. It can become too much of a concern and then get in the way of being healthy. My problem is that when I try to eat very healthy, i.e. greens, salads, fruits it then becomes a digestive problem when I run. I have not gotten a solution yet.

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Race weight is tricky because of the risk of disordered eating and/or eating disorders. Everyone’s best weight is individual but keep this in mind: my competition weight in college was 3-4 pounds heavier than I am now but a full size smaller in clothes. Would I like to be a bit thinner now, specifically getting rid of the flub spots around my middle from three babies? Yes. Am I willing to go below my current low-for-height and low BMI weight? No. I’ll figure out another way…more core work, more weight lifting, less sugar, more protein, something…and if that comes with a little more weight, that’s okay.

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It’s hard for me to diet during half marathon training. I have gotten better though with making the right choices and fueling my body with the right stuff in the last couple of years (i.e., choosing better dishes with lean protein instead of going right for the chocolate chip pancakes after a long run.) I will say that I have run races at my very thin weight range and have ran a little bit faster, but I don’t let that affect what I can do now. There was a time when I could run long while restricting, but now my body doesn’t want (and does not deserve) to train like that.

My workout today is hopefully going to be a 3 mile run and some weights. I’ve been sore from longer runs last week so hoping to take it easy today. Happy New Year!

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We saw Krampus before Christmas………..I enjoyed it! I cannot pick one Friends episode…………they are all hilarious! But the Thanksgiving one where they play football is great!

I have gained around 5 pounds from the I started training for my first marathon in 2013. My weight has stayed there ever since…………..must be a comfortable and “fit” weight for me. I (as a girl) would love the scale to say a smaller number but I wear the same size clothes (smalls in most things, mediums in running tights) as before and I know that I am in better shape because I can do longer runs than I could before I started training. I don’t want to obsess over weight, and usually I don’t think about it. I am not fast, so for me dropping weight to get speedier isn’t worth it.

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Love that you get Brooke pictures throughout the day- that makes my heart happy! Love you girl!

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I’m not under or overweight, but last race season I lost 10 lbs just because of racing. I think there’s something to be said for race weight. I PRed almost all my races last year including taking 8 min off my marathon time. (Try running with a 10 lb ball and you’ll see how much weight that really is. So it’s not so crazy that a few less pounds can really help with race time.)

I lost the weight over about 4 months by cutting out most of my sweets and “bad” carbs. (I mean, their good, but you know). So I was still eating carbs and had plenty of energy for workouts. It sucked not having sweets for the first two weeks, but after that I didn’t mind it. I would have one sweet a week and it had to be something really worth it so I really looked forward to it.

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Trying to “diet” while marathon training is 100% a horrible idea. Running for weight loss is one thing, but to truly train and be healthy, you need to be taking in adequate calories both for the workouts, and for the muscle repair that happens afterwards. Yes, it’s easier to run faster with less weight to move, but there is a point where you lose to the point of being unhealthy.

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Having a balanced nutritional program and if done correctly works wonders for energy and recovery. It’s trial and error and one has to listen to their body and how it responds which is the best indicator. What works great for one may not be the best for another.

Workout consisted of treadmill and weights.

Last movie we saw was Star Wars but heading out this Friday to see that funny movie Daddy’s Home – hopefully it’s not just the commercials that are funny and the movie is worth it – wife/kids are wanting to see it.

Favorite friends episode – just starting seeing that show again of late – the one with Ross’ pet Monkey Marcel is always pretty funny.

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Was it Megan’s caramel corn or another recipe…because I NEED!!

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