I’ve been planning to write this post eventually, but didn’t know exactly when I would be sent over the edge.
I know I’m a bit behind the times, but I have The Biggest Loser to thank for it.
Before I really get started on this rant, allow me to disclaim: I am not a doctor. The opinions below are just that – opinions. Consult a professional (not a blogger or, worse, a television personality) before beginning a serious training regimen.
I just got around to watching the “Biggest Loser Marathon” episode this week. I was seriously impressed by the marathon runs of all four competitors, but particularly Daris. Homeboy is a RUNNER!
Later, as he described how difficult it was to lose weight while training for a marathon, I had a feeling I might be disappointed with what would come next. And I was absolutely right. Daris was slammed for making that statement. Whether or not he was making excuses for poor habits, my heart sank as I thought about the message this sent to millions of viewers.
I have a very firm belief on running and weight loss that I have held for quite awhile. You can run to lose weight, or you can run to get faster. It is very unwise to try to do both. While one might naturally come along with the other, there’s a very fine line before arriving at the conclusion that one LEADS to another. On their own, intense training and weight loss are prone enough to obsession. Put them together, and I feel it is nothing short of dangerous.
I feel this way because I’ve seen many loved ones fall apart – both emotionally and physically – as a result of undereating and overtraining. It hurts my heart to see people I care about lose control, when they started out with the best of intentions. You can tell me 100 stories about people who have lost a ton of weight and set world records and maintained perfect health the entire way, but it wouldn’t sway my opinion that it’s a very risky, slippery slope.
If you want to be fast, your body needs fuel. If, like Daris, you want to run a marathon in four hours (or – ahem – three hours and forty minutes), drastically cutting calories is not going to get you there. So eat. Of course it’s best if you don’t eat like a moron, but give your body what it needs to succeed.
Whew! With that off my chest, I’m off to gorge on mass quantities of pasta in advance of a half marathon tomorrow morning. Hooray racing!