Movie Review- Brittany Runs a Marathon

Or is it going to be EMILY runs a marathon…

Before watching this movie, I wondered how similar it would be to Emily runs a marathon. I’ve run 2.6 marathons; I completed 2 and DNF’ed another.

As a marathoner and dietitian, I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about marathon training.

Weight– stated in the movie is that you will lose weight while training for a marathon. Not true, it really depends on a multitude of factors including what and when you eat. I have seen  a few reasons for the opposite-weight gain. First, water weight, while training for a marathon, the muscles break down and for repair and rebuilding, it requires water. Also during taper weeks, the muscle store energy and water. The assumption that you’re burning a lot of calories, leads people to over consumption and in particular large portions of food. Just because you completed a long run, doesn’t mean you should order the large pizza.

Weight loss, it can happen. Maybe this is obvious, due to increased training and keeping diet fairly the same, people lose weight. This is isn’t necessarily healthy or unhealthy. You need to fuel yourself, for your runs, and recovery. So ask yourself, if you’re eating to support all of your goals.

Brittany mentioned she lost 34 lbs  then she threw away the scale. And I’m glad she finally threw the scale away. Marathon training should not be about weight loss. Marathon training is hard on your body and you need to refuel it. If you want or think you need to lose weight, I recommend trying to do so before marathon training or in the beginning weeks of marathon training and then maintaining weight. Marathon training should be more about your love of running than hate for your body.

So, I’d like mention that you should refuel your body properly with a nutrient dense diet e.g. lean protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc.

Hair

Sure, start training for a marathon and all of a sudden you hair will look better. In the beginning of the movie, Brittany was not taking care of herself and this included her hair. Her hair was a hot mess. Her hair improved with marathon training but likely it was from getting it color and using a brush. Really, it’s that simple- she needed to brush her hair. If anything, marathon will decrease your hair quality,  because you’ll be too busy to brush it and spend all the money on shoes rather than getting her hair done. Well, at least that was my experience…

Dating Websites

Train for a marathon, join a dating website. Okay, yes I’ve done this. It makes sense, as you train for a marathon you feel a newfound sense of confidence. Brittany as myself went on some real interesting OkCupid experiences. In the end, I appreciate that Brittany chose to respect herself and did not accept the disrespect from her boyfriend. In the end, Brittany ends up in a respectful relationship so that’s cool (not that I have any experience in that, lol). But respect!

Doctor

 I appreciated that he brought up the healthy lifestyle with Brittany, but he approached it the wrong way. He told her she needed to lose 55 lbs, while this might have been her ideal body weight or might have had her fit nicely in the BMI chart, it doesn’t work. Brittany joked that she needed “to lose Siberian husky. Her sarcasm had a point. It’s unrealistic to demand and expect extreme weight loss to occur overnight.

SMART goals are effective and much more manageable. Patients should also choose their own health goals and be an active participant. Instead, I’d have rather the doctor ask some questions about Brittany and her health, maybe determine a weight goal together and refer to her to dietitian. I’m obviously biased, but I think a dietitian could have greatly helped in Brittany’s marathon refueling strategies and weight loss journey. Brittany could have formed a better relationship with food and achieved a goal weight in a more reasonable method.

Alcohol

Okay, friends I think you know I enjoy beer (and wine and liquor). Being a part of beer runner groups, it’s obvious I combine running and beer, although usually not simultaneously. I was sad to see that Brittany had a problem in alcohol in the beginning of the movie e.g. late night parting/ binge drinking, but while marathon training she abstained from alcohol altogether. Please do not think you have to abstain from alcohol while marathon training.

It’s okay to have a healthy relationship with alcohol i.e. 1 drinks for women and 2 drinks per day for men. And no, you aren’t supposed to stack them all from the week for Saturday night.

Training

In response to expensive gym memberships, “running outside is $0.” Unfortunately, running outside is not $0, while it can be more cost effective than expensive studio gyms, there are certain items you MUST invest in. You are going to be running a lot and will definitely need these items:

  • Quality running shoes- let’s protect you feet
  • Sports bra- women only
  • Wicking material clothes- because you don’t want chafing.
  • Quality nutrition- all day nutrition including before, after, and during exercise

Nutrition- it’s not either or (Take out  versus Smoothie)

One scene of the movie shows Brittany looking in her fridge with all take out/ fast food and her runner neighbor drinking a smoothie. FYI, it’s not all or nothing as I felt this scene portrayed. Smoothies and takeout definitely have their place in a healthy diet, but there’s also a lot of other healthy foods for runners and all individuals.

My favorite Chinese takeout is the garlic broccoli with rice. It’s spicy and the rice is plain, so it’s kind of middle ground. I find the fried rices are sometimes too oily.

Smoothies- I just make mine at home. The fast food smoothies are usually loaded with fruit syrups or sugar and are very large. My very plain recipe is 1 cup mixed frozen berries, 1 cup yogurt,  2 TBSP hemp/ flax seeds. Occasionally, I’ll add a protein powder or vanilla extract to jazz it up.

AND the cheeseburger!! OMG as a runner, if you want a cheeseburger, please eat the cheese burger- you probably need the iron! There was a scene where, Brittany was “caught” eating a cheeseburger and felt guilty. This shouldn’t be the case, a cheeseburger in moderation is certainly healthy. Again, it’s not either or.

Training

Also, I feel they left some of intense training aspects out. There’s a lot to marathon training like running 5-6 days per week, I don’t feel that was as highlighted in the movie as the weight loss part.

If you’re a runner and/ or dietitian, what did you think about the movie? Where do you think the mark was hit or missed?

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