Everywhere Edge

Ask the Expert - Gaining weight while marathon training

October 3, 2007

Q: HELP!!! I'm training for my first marathon and to my surprise, I've GAINED 10 pounds since March!!! I don't feel like my diet has significantly changed, and I'm putting in about 35 miles per week now. I'm about ready to go back to my old workout and ditch running!!! Please help!!! – Beth, Detroit, MI

From Lynn and Bob:
First of all, congratulations and best wishes on your upcoming marathon! Training for a marathon is a formidable accomplishment.

It’s difficult to answer your question without knowing additional details like height, weight, diet history, lifestyle before and after training, the intensity of your old workout, etc., but here are some thoughts for you to consider. Are you more muscular than before? Muscle weighs more than fat so increases in lean body mass may be the cause.

Your eating habits have not changed much but have you increased your portion sizes? It may be helpful to keep a food log for a week. Include everything you eat, including snacks and drinks and be fair about your portion size. Use the calorie counters that are available for free online to determine your caloric intake. As a rule of thumb, to maintain your weight, you can typically eat about 15-17 calories per pound of weight per day, plus the amount of calories expended while exercising.