Update: Reverse diet, Marathon Training, Finding Balance


Over the past 16 weeks, I’ve been going through a reverse diet (explained in this post) with my ADO Fitness Coach Amber.  During that time, I’ve also started training for the Shamrock marathon in March with a goal to PR and Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2018.  My ultimate goal, however, is to find a HEALTHY balance where I am eating a sustainable amount of calories, doing a maintainable training plan, and keeping the physique I like.  Over the past 16 weeks, I have lost 6 pounds while gradually INCREASING my calories by nearly 900/day and Decreasing the amount of working out I am doing to a sustainable level.  (dates in photo go from left to right)


In the past, I have trained to peak (for either a race or NPC show) and this past summer, I’d had enough of being in a constant cycle of train for a goal, accomplish goal, and needing a new training goal to keep going at a hard pace to achieve the physique I liked and felt good/confident in….  Now, there is NOTHING wrong with training to peak, but what I desired was a training and food plan that I could do for my entire life and maintain a “fitness model” type of look.

This past fall I trained to peak for one last NPC show in October (I had already registered), and then joined ADO to start a reverse diet with Amber.  I also began training in September for a November half-marathon.

  • At the time of my “peak week” (left photo below)
    • I was working out 90-120 minutes a day for 7 days a week.
    • My weekly running mileage was at 50-60mpw… and
    • my Macros were 130p/90c/30f (approx. 1150 Calories/day)
    • I achieved the physique I wanted, but this was NOT sustainable.
  • Currently (photo on right below),
    •  I am working out 90-100minutes a day, 5 days a week & then a long run day & a rest/recovery day (workouts detailed below).
    • My weekly running mileage is 45-55mpw …
    •  My Macros are currently at: 145p/240c/55f (approx. 2035 Calories/day)

*I am pointing out the mileage because I’ve had a few people comment that I was able to up my calories so much because I’m running — I was actually doing MORE miles/training leading up the NPC show (I have no idea how, now that I look back… lol)




For those of you who have been following my training, I have made some slight adjustments to my workouts and my food pre/mid-workout. I WAS trying to do a higher mileage plan (50-65mpw) from the Advanced marathoning book – if you read my last marathon update post, but I found it was just taking a toll on my physically — Basically, my running & plantar fasciitis kept getting worse and worse until the last couple weeks where I dropped back on miles.

So I’m taking what I learned from the principles of the advanced marathoning book and also 8020 Running book as well as my past racing experience & have designed a plan for myself that is lower mileage but will help me maintain my physique, train to increase my speed/strength for running, and is sustainable. This plan is also very enjoyable for me & I love how I feel as a result of it!

 *I know this plan will Not work for Everyone, but I share because it’s my blog 🙂 — And: If you have similar goals, this might be a good starting spot for you as well & just modify as you go!*


This is my basic week of training – Here’s a Chart for the visual learners (myself included)  which is explained in more detail below:

*I do all 3 parts of the workout at once (90-100min) & in the order of part 1-3


Sunday through Thursday: (workouts are approx 90-100minutes)

  • 3 days of a 40 minute lift (I use the CARVE workouts) followed by a 45-60minute run (6-7miles).
  • 2 days of a 50-60 minute run (6-8miles) followed by a 30-40 minute plyometric workout
    • Plyo workouts I use: I use the BeachBody On Demand App to access workouts like Insanity, Max30, etc for these OR I’ll use the CARVE 4 workout (plyos/glutes)
      • this is the change in the workouts  — I was doing JUST longer runs here of 10-15 miles.. However: I formerly PR’ed in a marathon by incorporating the Insanity workouts & they include a lot of plyo and core work which I feel help me increase running speed & tone up my legs/abs/arms.
  •  I also follow my workouts with 10-15 minutes of stretching  and using the roll recovery — detailed here

This is my recovery day, which I explained in my post here.


Saturdays: Long run day of 10-20miles. I’m currently training with a team so I’ll be doing their mileage for that weekend.

Total Mileage: 30-35miles during the week + the long run = 45-55mpw.


  • Note on running paces- I run by feel & will be using the treadmill most days. I keep my pace “easy” & occasionally add in intervals if I feel good that day-> 80% of the time approx. will be an easy/talkable pace.
    • However, part of my reason for now including the plyo work is because I don’t like to do tempo/speed/track workouts on my own during the week.  By including these workouts in liu of a few miles, I get the same interval training effect for my heart & also am working the same fast-twitch muscles (as a track/speed workout would in a typical marathon training plan) . I enjoy doing the plyo workouts as a switch up to running as well.
    • An easy pace for me currently is about 8-9min/mile …
    • On the long runs, I will keep pace with my group who is faster than what I typically do at an easy pace.


Pre workout nutrition: this is also a slight change. I workout out in the mornings so this is what my food is looking like these days, & working well:

  • I eat my pre-workout meal while I do my Bible Study.
    • On Sun-Thurs: I mix 1 scoop of UCAN with a little water to make a gel & eat with 1-2 rice cakes


    • Friday– I just have some tea – I get a separate set of  “rest day macros” from my coach these days which is lower carb/calorie – the deficit pretty much equates to the pre-workout meal on my regular day 🙂
    • Saturday: A UCAN Bar (I like the PB-Chocolate & coffee & cinnamon roll flavors) OR rocket fuel (1 scoop ucan + 6-10oz water + 1tbsp MCT oil blender) … some mornings I’ll add a rice cake too for fullness .



Mid-workout : also a slight change from my previous training plan update

  • Sunday-Thurs: I have found the ucan/rice cake combo gives me great energy for the 90minute workout. I don’t need a boost in the middle.
  • Friday– none
  • Saturday : I’m using some all-natural HUMA chia energy gels to use every 45-60minutes during my long runs (simulated race runs).


Rest of the day Nutrition: 

  • I use IIFYM (explained a bit here and here) so I just focus on hitting the macros my coach sends me  for the remainder of the day using foods/recipes I choose. I use the my.macros app to track my intake. 
  • My favorite recipes are in the recipes tab of the menu hereI eat gluten free & keep my recipes to 1-5ingredients :).
  • These recipes are some of my Daily staples right now: protein ice cream , devotion waffles & devotion Donuts.  (Pictured below) And I also include a couple lg bowls of veggies during the day  for fiber & micronutrients 🙂


  • I also make sure to drink at least 1 gallon of water a day. Yep, I carry a gallon jug in my cute jughugger (in photo below) with me to make sure. 🙂 I usually refill it by midday.
  • I also incorporate digestive enzymes from Gains in Bulk (1serving 2x a day), a multivitamin from N53, and I use N53’s Sleep1 to get solid rest each night & wake up refreshed (helps calm me down, & I wake up with no groggy feeling).
  • Find links & discounts to all the above products here. 🙂 — There are also links to the CARVE workouts I use & ADOFitness as well .. 


FEELING BALANCED & Looking ahead:

My marathon is in 7weeks! And I am also planning to do a half marathon in 10weeks.

I am still in the “reverse diet” process where Amber is gradually increasing my calories so I can eat more calories/fuel but stay lean/light for running. I’m not sure how long this progress goes, but I am definitely enjoying the process :).

I am not perfect, but and Striving to Keep Faith First & Find a BALANCE of fitness, food, life!

Happy training everyone!  



5 thoughts on “Update: Reverse diet, Marathon Training, Finding Balance

  1. This is awesome! Huge congrats to you! Absolutely my goal!! I have been trying for the past almost 2 years to repair my metabolism with IIFYM . I am currently reversing and all I’ve accomplished is a 20lb weight gain. I don’t recognize myself, I have to live in sweats and workout clothes. Rather than achieving freedom, self love and a non obsessive relationship with food and working out, I have done the exact opposite. I guess IIFYM and reverse dieting aren’t a fix for all (though it sure seems to be!)


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