Yesterday, I made the final decision to end my test of 60-minute running sessions early. I have seen plenty enough to know that this routine is not sufficient for me to maintain my weight. While it’s technically not impossible, the swings are just too much for me to handle on an emotional level. Additionally, I would probably never be able to take a break.
At first glance, this test sounds like a failure. It most certainly is not, though. First, the test was to determine WHETHER I could maintain my weight doing only 60-minute runs. In fact, I had my doubts that it would even work. And while certain portions of the test looked promising, there was always a bad day where I got too hungry and could not stay out of the Danger Zone. I am referring to the 2.0 KG Danger Zone that I set during this experiment. It quickly became clear that I would need to limit my max weight to about 2.0 kg throughout the day to have any decent chance of either breaking even or losing a little weight with a 60-minute slow run.
Although some days saw a max increase of only about 1.4 to 1.6 kg, that was very difficult to accomplish on most days. I think I can average a little less than 2.0, but the real problem is I would never be able to take a break day. So even if I come in averaging less than 2.0, the occasional break day risks the entire routine. Ultimately, I see no reason to continue this test, as there is virtually no chance of succeeding. However, that’s not the end of the story.
The good part about this test is that I have determined that doing a slow one-hour run on SOME BUT NOT ALL DAYS is sufficient to maintain weight. Instead of trying to do this every day, I can do it when I stay below the 2.0 kg Danger Zone. In fact, I lost weight on many days during this test. It’s the bad days that always end up hurting me, though.
To put it another way, I need a more flexible approach to exercise session intensity and duration. Some days, a slow run of 60 minutes will work. Other days, a slower 75-minute or 90-minute run or a faster 60-minute run may be enough.
A related issue is recovery periods after the occasional cheat or break day. Instead of intentionally holding myself back, I’d like to do more when in a recovery period so that I can recover faster. Although the last recovery period was actually quite good with slower runs only, that won’t necessarily always be the case.
During this test, my body seemed to be able to stay below the 2.0 kg Danger Zone for a few days. Then, my body started screaming for more food. I could only stay under that mark for a few days at a time. Ultimately, this is why the slow 60-minute runs won’t work as a permanent routine. I simply can’t get enough to eat every day with that Danger Zone level. This happened several times even though the test is ending in less than 3 weeks. Honestly, I just cannot do it. It’s not enough food on some days for me to survive on. Sure, if I were in the middle of the desert and scavenging for food, I would survive. But it’s not a comfortable level of food in a modern environment. Yes, I am trying not to overeat. But starving is not good, either. That balance allows me to stay below the Danger Zone on some days, but certainly not all of them.
Total 60-Minute Days: 53
Result: gained 1.2 kg (77.4 to 78.6)
Total Hard Runs: 34
Result: lost .3 kg (77.4 to 77.1 kg)
includes one break day, one cheat day, and one semi-cheat day
Total Slow Runs: 19
Result: gained 1.5 kg (77.1 to 78.6)
includes one cheat day and one break day
The numbers above are worse than they should be because I decided to end the test on a break day. So the “total 60-minute day” results and the slow results probably would be a little better if I had continued on a few more days. The good part about these numbers is that the hard runs resulted in a slight weight loss. In the event that my body is in condition to run faster, I will do that in the future. But if my body is not feeling too good, I can still just run slow for longer than 60 minutes. It doesn’t matter which way I go with that. But particularly when exceeding the 2.0 kg Danger Zone, a slow 60-minute run is not going to work.
I am now going to talk about Day 420 only. The test is now over, and I will immediately be in a recovery period because I am a little overweight now. My starting weight today was 78.6 (coming off a break day). I may end up gaining a little weight again today. But that is fine because things will get back to normal.
I didn’t really feel like tracking closely that much. But today’s pre-workout results were actually very good. I woke up and went to the bathroom and then weighed in at 79.2 kg. That is only .6 kg above the starting weight. Even if I were to do a slow run, I would be losing plenty of weight today. However, since I have ended the test and am in recovery mode, I am going to do a slow 90-minute run. It’s time to go for a big recovery because the last 2 days were highly destructive (from 76.8 all the way up to 78.6). I don’t even want to think about how bad that is. This is what convinced me for good that slow 60-minute runs are only for days when that’s enough. It’s not always enough, and there are times when a more aggressive approach is necessary.
I was at 79.0 before starting the run and finished my 90-minute session at 78.0. That was a weight loss of 1.0 kg for a slow 90-minute run. At no time did I push it, and my heart rate was approximately 124 when finishing the session. So the pace was similar to my slow one-hour affairs.
I am doing a final weigh-in a little early, but it’s still a weight loss of .6 kg today. That is a pretty good cut off the 1.8 kg gained over the past 2 days (including yesterday’s break day, which showed a large increase of 1.1 kg).
78.0 is still way too high because it’s 3.0 kg over my target maintenance weight. As a result, I plan on having another 90-minute slow run tomorrow and continuing these until getting back down to at least 77.0. That could be tomorrow or could be a week from now. This is very hard to predict, so this schedule is not set in stone since it depends on fluctuating results. But after reaching at least 77.0, I can then focus on a more flexible approach to exercise, meaning doing what I need to do that day instead of sticking to a rigid schedule. This concept is discussed in further detail above.