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2410 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2009 4:55 PM by Run Coach Robert
Yodiwan Pro 123 posts since
Oct 1, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 29, 2009 6:36 PM

I gained 10 pounds in four months ... while running 20-30 miles a week.  What's going on?

Last September I weighed 119 pounds, which is a healthy weight for a female of my height (5' 3"). When I put on two pounds over Labor Day Weekend, I didn't think anything of it since I'm active and eat relatively healthy foods (although it was a little odd given that I ran a PR in a 20K race that Monday). Problem is, I kept gaining weight. I ran (and somewhat undertrained for) the NYC marathon in early November, so I was running 30-35 miles in the weeks prior (during which point I ran a half marathon PR in Philly -- 1:47. Not superfast, but I can hustle.) After the marathon, I scaled back a little to 20-25 miles a week. Runs consisted of sprint workouts, tempo runs and 10-12 mile runs on weekends. I averaged about 75 percent of my maximum heart rate on longer runs, 80-85 percent on other runs. Strength training was sit ups, crunches and push ups. You can imagine my chagrin when the scale topped 130 pounds by the end of the year. (I realize 130 pounds is still a healthy -- even enviable for some -- weight, but before you launch into "Oh, please, cry me a river," note that 10 pounds represents nearly 10 percent of my body weight.)


As far as I can recall, my eating habits have not changed over these past few months. I went to the doctor -- the blood tests and sonogram came back normal. While I realize these tests are not infallible, I do feel fine. (Knock on wood!) I'm not experiencing fatigure or any unexplained -- or even explained -- pains so instinct (and the tests) tell me I'm not suffering from any serious medical condition.


The best possible explanation I've gotten comes courtesy of a couple spinning teachers, who suggested that all my running (six days a week with little or no cross training) might have made my "running muscles" so efficient that my body just wasn't getting the workout that my head thought I was. (It occurred to me this might be the case when I found myself running 10-12 miles on consecutive days because I thought it was too much trouble to take the subway.) So I've started cross training more (spinning, weight lifting) which are activities I did on a regular basis until about last April and I've also taken up boxing. So far I haven't put on any more weight -- maybe I've hit on the problem -- but I was wondering if anyone else has experienced / heard of anything like this before?

Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not.  When you race him, he will win.

  • PedDoc1 Pro 159 posts since
    Apr 25, 2008


    Two stupid questions for you.  First, how has your calorie count changed?  I find that the more I run, the more I eat.  I'm running 25-30 miles a week and finding my weight absolutely stable, entirely because of how much I eat. Second, how have your body proportions changed?  Remember, muscle weighs considerably more than fat.  You can very easily pack on 10 lbs of muscle, have no change in shirt, bra, pant, dress sizes because you've replaced fat with muscle.  In fact, you can go down sizes while increasing weight if your body fat percentages are dropping.



    Hope I hit the target on one of these, and I really hope it's that your dress size hasn't changed.  It was you that said ten pounds represents ten percent gain (actually, about 8 percent, but who's counting).  If you added ten percent weight, it's GOT to show up in the jeans your significant other loves to see you in, unless body fat percent is dropping!



    05/09 Bridge the Gap, Quincy, Ill HM: 1:45:27
  • Run Coach Robert Legend 782 posts since
    Jan 7, 2009

    The answer to your query is actually very simple. Your body has adapted to the intensity and duration of your workouts. It has become more efficient at what you demand of it, so it actually burns less calories doing it. You can consume less, though this is not the best option. I recommend cross-training and changing up the intensity and duration of your workouts.

    Robert Martin

    NFPT Certified Personal Trainer

    NFPT Endurance Specialist

    RRCA Running Coach

    SPINNING Instructor

    GRAVITY Personal Training Instructor

    GRAVITY Group Instructor

    Power Plate Level II Instructor

    2010 & 2011 Team Aquaphor Sponsored Athlete

    Gatorade G Series PRO Lead Ambassador, San Diego

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