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Eating to Fuel Your Running

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Fueling doesn’t have to be confusing. Janine Bowman, marathon runner and registered dietician at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., sheds some wisdom on reader-submitted nutrition puzzlers.

I just finished my first marathon. I’m thrilled with my accomplishment, but not with the fact that I gained weight while training. What went wrong – Michelle

Janine Bowman: There are three potential reasons for your weight gain. First, it’s possible that nothing went “wrong.” When you train intensely, you build muscle. As muscle is denser than fat, this may cause the number on the scale to increase slightly.

Second, you could have been eating too much. Many equate “training for a marathon” with “eating whatever I want,” but in fact, it’s easy to overcompensate in the consumption department. In this case, take a close look at your daily calories and see how much you are really taking in.

Third, if you skipped meals in an effort to lose weight, you may have lowered your metabolism, which leads to weight gain. In the future, make sure to eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism high.

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