Is Marathon Training Good for Fat Loss?
Looking to slim down?
Many people who have a weight loss goal decide to set their sights on training for a marathon.
But, is that really a good way to go about fat loss?
The truth is that these two goals are usually counterintuitive.
If you want to complete a 13.1-mile race, your goal is going to be very effective at exercise so that your body is able to be as efficient as possible as you run.
This means you’re going to be eating and training so that, at the end of the race, you feel great because your body has burned the least amount of energy possible.
On the other hand, if you want to lose weight, your goal is to not get used to exercise.
You don’t want your body to be efficient at exercise because they means it has adapted to your routine and it isn’t burning as many calories.
Instead, you want to be changing up your routine so that you can burn off as much energy as possible–thus resulting in more fat loss.
Now, this isn’t to say that training for a marathon can’t or won’t lead to weight loss, but if you are looking to lose fat at the same time as training for a marathon, you need to go about it in the right way.
First, you have to eat right.
What you eat has to both fuel your body for the training you are doing while also giving you all the nutrients your body needs to get better at running.
You need to be eating enough, too! Weight loss is all about eating at a deficit, which means you are burning more calories than you are taking in at the end of the day.
However, with marathon training, that’s a surefire way to fail! If you burn 1200 calories in a day, you need to be consuming at least that many so your body has everything it needs to build up your muscle and endurance.
Second, to promote your weight loss goal while training, you need to mix things up while perfecting your running.
This means that, instead of steady state running every day, you will only do one long run each week and then do interval running every other day of the week.
In this way, you’ll still be clocking in the mileage while your body struggles to get used to a routine, leading to weight loss.
5 Benefits of Long-Distance Running
Long-distance running is broadly defined as continuous running for around eight kilometers (which translates to roughly 5 miles).
If you are thinking about taking up long-distance running as a form of exercise, then you should know about the various benefits of it.
With that in mind, here are 5 benefits of long-distance running (besides the obvious ones like weight loss and better endurance).
You will feel better
One of the major benefits of hard exercise like long-distance running is that it can have a noticeable benefit on your mood and general outlook on life.
Long-distance running can trigger your brain to produce endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that regulate your mood.
The production of endorphins is what triggers the famous “runner’s high” that many of you have probably heard of before.
It can help with stress
Another great benefit of long-distance running is how it can reduce stress levels.
When you are running, both your mind and body are focused entirely on that task.
The brain has to regulate blood and oxygen flow, and it has to focus on keeping your body moving.
This means that you aren’t focusing on other things that may stress you out.
Your brain essentially has time to reset itself. It also helps that while you are running, you are likely to be focusing on your breathing, which studies have shown to be helpful with stress.
It builds muscle
Typically, we think of running as being solely a cardio exercise, but long-distance running can build significant amounts of muscle.
The muscles in various parts of your body actually receive quite the workout while you are running.
Obviously, the majority of the muscle gains are going to be in your legs and calves, but other muscle groups do benefit as well.
You will be more energetic
Your body is capable of producing more or less energy to meet your daily needs.
A lot of people who constantly complain about having no energy tend not to exercise often.
That isn’t a coincidence. When you don’t use a lot of energy, your body produces less of it.
Long-distance running uses a lot of energy; so naturally, your body produces more of it.
This leads to you being more energized throughout the day.
Running can help you control cravings
If you are trying to lose weight or kick a habit like smoking, then long-distance running is a great form of exercise to take up.
Studies have consistently shown that long-distance running and other vigorous exercises help people deal with cravings.
The reason for this is that the running and the endorphins that your brain releases when you run, act as a sort of distraction that keeps your mind occupied on things besides your cravings.
What Is the Runner’s High?
If you are around people who are into long-distance running, then you may have heard of the idea of “the runner’s high”.
A lot of people have heard of this concept, but most really can’t explain what it is.
You may even have experienced it without realizing! Here’s a guide to what it really is and how you can make it happen.
What does runner’s high mean exactly?
Although running isn’t always seen as a particularly strenuous exercise, at least when compared to exercises like weightlifting, the truth is that long-distance running puts a tremendous amount of strain on your body.
During a long-distance run, all the muscles in your legs, calves, and even the muscles in other parts of your body get a massive workout.
This is not only tiring but also painful.
People who first start out long-distance running usually experience lots of aches and pains after their first few sessions.
This is where the runner’s high comes in.
See, your body is smart and very adaptive.
It can recognize that running long distances is taxing on the body.
At the same time, it also recognizes the importance of being able to run long distances.
So, your brain comes up with a very simple solution to help you deal with the pain: chemicals.
A runner’s high is when your brain is flooded with a mixture of various chemicals, including endorphins.
These chemicals do two things.
First off, they help dull the pain you feel while running.
Secondly, they produce this sudden rush of energy and good feelings.
Even though the term “high” is used, a runner’s high isn’t necessarily close to the sensation the body feels when using drugs.
Instead, you feel as though someone has just pumped you full of excess energy.
You also just feel good, you feel happy, and you want to carry on running!
How to achieve a runner’s high
A runner’s high requires two things, length, and repetition.
You have to exercise for long periods of time, while also doing it regularly. And “long” really does mean long.
Achieving a runner’s high with anything less than a few miles worth of continuous running is very difficult.
Your body also doesn’t just produce the feelings after one session, you have to regularly exercise in order for the body to start producing the chemicals necessary for the runner’s high.