During my marathon training, I have learnt that runger is a real thing. Runger, in case you’re not familiar, is hunger caused by running. When you’re putting on a lot of miles and burning upwards of 2000 calories on a long run, its inevitable that you’ll be hungry. But I had no idea just how hungry you can become. The other night after my long run I actually woke up in the middle of the night so hungry that I had to get up and eat.
The real problem with runger is that it can lead to weight gain. That’s right, even though a person is training for a marathon and running for hours on end, they’re still gaining weight. Life sure is cruel sometimes. But it doesn’t have to lead to weight gain as long as you remember some key points.
1. Running is not a license to eat
A lot of runners joke that they run to eat. When running, and especially when marathon training, calorie requirements are higher. However, it’s important to remember that the calories are not unlimited. It’s easy to feel that a treat is deserved after a long run, but too many treats can undo the calorie burn and may lead to weight gain.
All food is not equal
Calorie requirements are higher during marathon training, but the extra calories shouldn’t be filled with junk food. Our bodies require extra carbohydrates to replace glycogen stores and protein to repair and rebuild muscle, not pizza & beer.
Increase your calories by having larger portion sizes at mealtimes or incorporating healthy snacks throughout the day.
Plan ahead to curb runger
When runger strikes and you’re over hungry you’re way more likely to choose unhealthy foods or overeat. A box of cookies seems really tempting when you’re starving but can add up in calories quickly. Have healthy snacks prepared and on hand before long runs so you’re not tempted by junk food.
Thirst can often be confused with hunger so it’s important to remain hydrated to prevent unnecessary snacking. Water is always the best way to hydrate. Too many sugar-sweetened beverages can also lead to weight gain. Sports drinks outside of activity are not needed and can add a lot of unnecessary calories.
Have you ever gained weight during training?
How do you control your runger?