What does that shit do to you?

I’ve been meaning to talk a little bit about what training for a half-marathon does to your body, and so weirdgirl’s questions came at the perfect time:

Has this training resulted in much in the way of toning and/or weight loss? I’m still plodding around 6km in 30mins and would like to up the ante a leeeetle bit to drop some Kgs…More distance or just faster, do you reckon? Oh and i FINALLY ordered some compression skins tights, dunno if they work, but i’m looking forward to trying them :)
Will you keep running at all after the race is over?

Toning and/or weight loss…well, that is a tricky one. I’ve noticed my hips shrink, my calves bulge and my thighs and my ankles have become a bit more defined (and by ‘defined’, I mean now I have ankles because I had cankles before…) My boots are definitely snugger, but my jeans are looser.

I probably would have lost a tonne of weight, but I’ve spent the last 4 months eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not, but it’s been relatively guilt-free eating so I’m guessing that’s better than the guilt-ladden-I-should-go-and-vomit-all-that-stuff-up-now feelings I usually have after consuming large quantities of norti food. After most of my runs, my clothes are drenched and I get lovely salt encrusted sweat paths down the sides of my face. I generally come home and guzzle about 2 litres of water over the following couple of hours to try and replace what I sweated out.

For losing weight, I don’t think you can go past controlling what you eat and doing some moderate exercise like walking. I find running makes me too hungry and I feel too much like I deserve a ‘reward’ so it’s tough to lose weight.

One thing I have really noticed though, is the improvement in my recovery time. As soon as I stop running, my breathing returns to normal and my heart rate drops quite quickly. I’d imagine my fitness is not too shabby at the moment.

I stretch religiously after runs, but don’t stretch before in any way shape or form. I usually do a five-minute walk as a warm up and the first couple of kms I always take super slow until I get warmed up. I also walk for five minutes or so afterwards. After a long run, my body aches for the rest of the day and I’m pretty wrecked. I’ve generally got tender knees (IT band) and my back aches a fair bit. I slather up with deep heat just about every night.

On my longer runs, I’m generally doing a 6min/km average pace. My faster runs (8kms and less) are probably 5 or 5.30min/km. I will never break any speed records either, but if I go too fast I just can’t do the distance. Personally, I’d say that you’re better off doing a combination of longer runs and some short, faster runs. Both styles of runs do different things for your body and it’s good to mix things up. In terms of distance, you shouldn’t increase distance by any more than 10% each week.

I’ve tried running in both my compression tights and normal tights and honestly, I can’t really tell the difference – my pace is the same and I don’t feel any different afterwards. But I do like the ‘upright’ and ‘held in’ feeling I get from compression tights as opposed to the ‘hanging out everywhere’ feeling I get in normal tights. I bought a skort (tights with a built-in skirt) to cover my unattractive arse (what is it with short t-shirts???) and I feel much less body conscious in it, which is a good thing.

I was actually thinking about what to do after the race on the way home tonight. It does seem like a waste to throw away all my training, but I’m not sure what I’d do – another half-marathon? Start training for the marathon next year?? God help me!  As you know I have a very short attention span and once I’ve marked something off my list of things to try, I’m done and dusted, so I’m seriously doubting another half-marathon. As I’ve said before, I really don’t enjoy running so maybe I’ll go back to aerobics or something more mentally stimulating for a while. Speaking of mentally stimulating, I’ve been listening to podcasts while running as a way of distracting myself. I find it’s much better than music 🙂

Thanks for the questions!

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