Although I’ve been running for 25 years, it didn’t correlate with weight loss . In fact, I consistently laced up my running shoes, even at my highest weight! Here’s why I kept going!
I remember my first marathon. I had put what felt like a million miles on my feet. Despite running almost every day, I never lost weight. Running so often may have prevented my weight from getting too out of control, but I never got lean.
It’s not that running in itself can’t lead to weight loss. But for me, it wasn’t until I started eating mindfully and controlling for calories that the weight started to fall off.
I got married at 23 years old. My husbands sisters were all runners. I had brief attempts at group aerobics, and gym cardio equipment. But I had never headed out onto the road for a run.
That all changed when I got married. I listened to my new in-laws and other runners rave about how much they enjoyed running as a way to be alone with their thoughts and get away from life for a short time.
That’s when running began to appeal to me. The idea that I could get outside and think without interruption became more and more important as I navigated the next 25 years of raising a family and household responsibilities.
I ran at all seasons of my life. I ran:
- While I was a newlywed to reflect on my goals and dreams.
- While I was a new mom, to have a break from caregiving.
- While I was in school, to think about what I was studying.
- While I was working, to relieve stress.
- While I vacationed, to explore new areas of the world.
- While I was at my heaviest weight, to keep moving and maintain the habit.
- While I was at my leanest weight, to burn extra calories.
- While I was training for a race, so I could have a goal to stretch myself.
- While I was in a mid-life crisis, so I could have a running friend to commiserate with.
- While I was on a running streak, to continue sharing a morning sunrise picture for 125 days in a row on my personal instagram account! (seriously… you should check out some of the morning pictures I got!
- To listen to podcasts or audio books, so I have time to learn new things!
- To slow aging! It’s true! Studies show that running can help you live longer, and that is definitely a high priority for me!
I could go on and on. I’ve been running at my highest weight and at my lowest weight. I’ve maintained my weight through training for a marathon. I’ve lost weight while only running 1-2 miles a day.
Running for me has never never been about weight loss. The only way I’ve been able to lose weight is by counting calories and portion control.
But I still love to run, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. (and if you want my list of best gift ideas for runners, check it out here.) I don’t adjust my calories any more based on my mileage. I do have a high carb day generally the day before a long run, but otherwise, my diet stays consistent.
I also love to run races! Especially if my family or friends will run with me. Just two weeks ago, I talked my family into running the Labor Day Pun Run.
Since the pandemic hit, and most races have been cancelled, it was a nice distraction.
The morning started with my usual pre-race meal, a banana and oatmeal!
I challenged my 17 year old son that I could keep up with him, and he bet me $10 that I couldn’t. I knew I’d lose, but I also knew it would inspire me to run my fastest.
And I did! I ran my guts out. I’ve never been this fast in my life. At 46 years old, I’ve doubled my speed from my 20’s. Years, and years of slow consistent running was the key! Most of my runs are in the 10-12 minutes per mile range, yet on race day, I busted out 7:30!
So, if you think you want to start running for weight loss, consider that your diet will probably be a bigger factor in your ability to lose weight. But running for cardiovascular and mental health is very effective!
READ NEXT –> FINDING JOY IN THE WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY
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