Sunday, February 22, 2009

Runner's World Post

I just left a comment on Runner's World online. It was to a new runner that was having trouble losing weight.

Here's what I said.

I've gone from 260 to 210 by running.

1. Don't eat gels or drink gatorade for your runs. They are too short and you'll congest as many calories as you'll burn. 300 calories in, 300 calories out will not make for weight loss. It'll make for a good run and you'll get fitter, but won't lose weight.

2. Eat less carbs. No bread. No sugar. No sodas(sugar). No candy. No pasta. Get your carbs from veggies. Oh, no ice cream or desserts.

3. Run til you can't run anymore. Then walk for 2-5 minutues. Then run some more. There's no sin in walking, if it allows you to extend your workout.

4. Slowly increase your mileage each week. 10% per week is a good plan.

5. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT. Make sure you are having fun. Run in parks. Around stadiums. Up mountains. In races. Take pictures. Along lakes or rivers. Run with friends. Run alone. Run down a parade route by yourself. Streak.

Do whatever it takes to have fun, so that you can't wait to run tomorrow.

Good luck, the pounds will come off.

Yes, I did everything above. I even ran everyday for 26 days in a row. I hope that's what they thought I meant when I said to streak. Oh well, either way is good as long as you're having fun.

What do you think? Anything I should have added?


Glenn Jones said...

boy Pat - item #1 is real key! I am suprised at the number of runners that I know of that are pounding gels and sports drinks for a four mile run. I don't think they realize the calorie count of some of those!

Congrats on your weight loss! I'm clipping along at a little slower pace - 260 to 220 in two years. I'm targeting another 40 over another two years...

Sumo said...

Pat, I agree with most of what you suggested. I've gone from 378 to 277 in a little over a year.

I found that I have to replace my electrolytes, but I do it with very low calorie powder drinks--otherwise I get very sore muscles.

I also don't avoid carbs. I eat a lot of pasta, whole grain bread, cereal, and the like. I do avoid fats though--including oils. I did the low carb thing years ago and had no energy. I did lose a bunch of weight, but gained what took me 18 months to lose back in 3 months. So I avoid the carb thing.

Congrats on your success! Seems like you are kicking some serious butt!

Adam said...

You wouldn't know it from my girlish figure now, but I actually lost around 40 lbs or so as well.

I would add drinking lots of water. It kinda fills you up and you burn at least SOME calories walking to the bathroom all the time!

Jeff said...

Great advice, especially #5. You're the poster child for that one.

Uncle Fester said...

I can't find this on Runner's World so I'll post these comments here.

Weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you take in. Plain and simple.

- Taking in calories during or shortly after exercise is actually a very good thing. The whole "golden hour" idea. Electrolyte balance, muscle recovery and all that. A gel, Gatorade, a banana - whatever. The much bigger problem is feeling entitled to a double-cheese with fries on the way home.

- Less carbs, no bread, no pasta, etc. is totally unproven. Total caloric intake is all that matters. Diets Don't Work. Save your money on Atkins books and buy a new pair of shoes instead.

- "Run till you can't run any more?" Yikes. Every runner needs to find their thresholds for maintaining good running form and avoiding injury.

- Your MOST IMPORTANT POINT is not most important to everyone. It appears that the blog-runner crowd is all about "fun". For many of us, it's more about discipline and goal-setting and accountability. Not "fun". In fact I would say that expecting "fun" leads to disappointment when it isn't. And a lot of the time, it isn't. But we run anyway.

- Running 26 days in a row is asking for BIG trouble. You must be more injury-resistant than the average person. I would never recommend it.

The one bit of personal advice that I would have offered, is that in my experience, I don't start to lose weight or "feel" differently until I've been running for 6 weeks. Whether that's metabolic in nature, or due to rebalancing of muscle vs. fat, I don't know. But I've been through it so many times, that I know not to bother with the scale for the first couple months of a new running program.

Pat said...

Uncle Fester, thank you for leaving a comment. Seems like we don't see eye to eye.

But, that's ok.

I don't know if all calories are the same. I know the scientist will tell us one thing. But, history eventually shows their errors. I just know from my experience that restricting carbs helps me burn fat when I run. It doesn't make me a better runner, just a lighter one. 50 pounds lighter so far.

Getting tired and bad running form doesn't go hand in hand. I think you can push yourself and keep good running form. As a matter of fact, I think the walk breaks help to maintain that good form.

Now, about fun. Have you noticed that participation in 5k's, 10k's and marathons have skyrocketed since Fred Lebow decided that races should be fun in NYC? Did you notice the Rock and Roll series of marathons attracts tens of thousands of runners.

Discipline, goal setting and accountablity is what pushes most runners out the door. I know that's shocking. But, have fun first and the rest will follow. Even Uncle Fester liked to have fun.

Finally, I hope this doesn't sound like I'm critizing or yelling. I'm not. We don't walk the same walk and that's ok. I'm not a serious runner and never will be.

Sumo said...

Pat, I agree! Everyone is a bit different... like me with the low carb thing. I'm on a heart healthy diet prescribed by a cardiologist, I hope you didn't think I was criticizing the way you've lost your weight--I just do it different.

As far as having fun, I have fun when I run. It's not always fun, but I love it. Running the races with my running club makes me smile, running with the group on Sundays makes me smile, doing a long run down the river makes me smile. I hurt sometimes, I push sometimes, I grunt through sometimes--but I'm smiling!

Oh, and as far as streaking--today was day 55 for me. I went against all recommendations, I don't hurt any more than when I ran 3 days a week. My mileage is up, my running has improved, my weight is dropping (102 pounds so far,) and I'm smiling more.

Pat said...

Sumo, I appreciate your comments, as well as, Uncle Festers and everyone elses.

We all do what works best for ourselves and I can always learn from others.

Keep the comments coming. You don't have to agree with me.

Uncle Fester said...

I think a natural part of becoming more experienced in any aspect of life, is the desire to help others. I think initially we all make the mistake of assuming that "what works for me, will work for everyone". Eventually we learn to filter our advice and get down to the real hard-core basics, which are:

Weight loss = Calories out > Calories in.

Increase mileage slowly.

Know your body. Don't run through injuries. Rest days are important.

There seems to be a period of adjustment to a new exercise program, before its effect can be noticed.

Of these things, I am sure. Anything else would just be "my opinion" and I would not want anyone to rely on it.

Pat said...

See Fester you can agree with me.

I agree, as most people do with calorie equation. I, also believe as most people do that you can be addicted to things which make you binge. You can be addicted to carbs, so limiting them works for a lot of people.

I'm glad you agree that increasing mileage slowly is a good thing.

And I agree about knowing your body. You know when I started my streak I had visions of running all year. After 26 days I could have kept going, but thought that the streak didn't fit my other goals. Now I run every other day. And I never run thru injuries.

The adjustment period I'm not so sure about. Since you said, 'seems to be' I take it that your not sure either. I guess that might be one of those things that are different for different people.

You seem like a confident person. I would think that you would be more confident about your opinions.

Actually, I think you are. I bet you even agree with me that half the time opinions are right and half the time facts are wrong.

Uncle Fester said...

Come on now, I don't agree with you any more or less than I did before.

Again, gels or gatorade during or right after exercise can be very beneficial. As long as they are accounted for as part of one's daily intake and not as a "treat". Also, at our level of running, our bodies are not smart enough to know a pasta-carb calorie from a veggie-carb calorie. A carb is a carb. If your brain thinks it needs to inhale pounds of pasta at a time, then that is a mental problem that should be easy to overcome through simple portion control and by focusing on total calories.

Facts are always right. I don't even know why that's debatable. (Maybe you were just being tongue-in-cheek.) And opinions are worthless unless you can figure out what the underlying facts are, if any.

For example, I still shake my head at your "the most important thing is to have fun" comment. The heart of the matter might be more like "figure out what it is about running that keeps you motivated". Everyone will have a different answer. For some, I suppose fun could be a motivation. It never has been for me. Others are motivated by goal races. Or weight goals. Some people enjoy variety, but enjoy the satisfaction of running the same course every time out. Some enjoy group runs, others hate them. Like I said, find your preferences and stick with them. That's part of the advice I have given to new runners on many occasions.

That is all. Best of luck.

Pat said...

I figured out the problem. You've never read the original post on Runner's World.

You don't have all the facts.

Which is my fault. I posted the answer on my blog without the question.

Heck, I don't even remember the question. All I know is that you keep coming back to a blog you disagree with to let us know how wise you are.

Here's what I've learned over the years. If you want your advice to be taken, you have to have credibilty with your audience. So, do you think you have any credibilty here?

Uncle Fester said...

Don't recall caring whether I have any "credibility here" or not. Nor did I say I was especially wise. I do know that everyone has different motivations. It's a fact. Your advice did not take that into account, it was a mix of facts and opinions.