Gaining Weight After Long Runs
I started noticing a trend awhile back about my weigh-ins after long runs. I’m one of those silly people that weights themselves daily. Back when I was in weight-loss mode I tracked everything like crazy. My weight loss/gain. My calorie intake and output. I don’t necessarily track calories anymore, but I still weigh myself every morning. When I do my long runs on Saturdays, Sunday I’d be 1-3 pounds heavier. When I do my long runs on Sunday, Monday I’d wake up and be 1-3 pounds heavier.
At first I chalked it up to over compensating, a.k.a chowing down, after a long run. I tested this theory two weeks in a row. I counted my calories to see if my input was more than my output (which would’ve been impressive seeing as how I already require about 1800 calories and I burn about 1400 on my longest runs). I still woke up 1-3 pounds heavier, regardless of not tracking and eating my face off or tracking and staying under my normal calorie goal. This research not only annoyed me, but it also intrigued me.
I did some research on other runners who were also distance trainers. Each one of them reported the same thing, some even up to 5-8 pound gains after long runs!
So here’s the scoop; when you run long distances you are putting a pretty hefty amount of cardio and stress on your body. Your body’s reaction is to cradle the damaged tissues in water. You muscles are now inflamed and retaining water. While this usually results in strength as your muscles repair themselves, this also results in temporary weight gain. Another contributor is a depletion of sodium (or salt, I’m not very scientific) which also causes water retention.
In conclusion, running long distances turns your body into a giant, walking water balloon. Don’t fret, you’ll be back to your regular weight in a couple of days.