I had good intentions sharing another day of eats. I wanted to drive home the point that my “typical” fair is anything but typical….Instead I thought I would touch upon more of my nutrition thoughts/findings.
My coach recently posted to his athletes about making sure his runner’s anticipating an upcoming race focused on nutrition. I agreed with his post and also wanted to elaborate why I have found nutrition to be so fundamental to my success as a runner.
Like I have said before, nutrition is the utmost key to my success.
I live, breath, “eat” this philosophy on a daily basis, (do I get it right 100% of the time?, no)
Nutrition is the foundation of a healthful life, however, it does not stand alone in the journey to complete health, (it is combined with spirituality, emotional well-being, environment, etc.)
Like nutrition and it’s role in life, nutrition is a building block in which a sound runner is formed. Runners need a solid base of nutrition, sleep, training, and a good fitting pair of shoes (doesn’t hurt) to help them be as successful as possible.
My point in all of this is that focusing on good eats prior to race day is great, but what is even more critical is focusing on good nutrition before you even don your first pair of running shoes. I’m not telling those runners about to run a race to throw caution to the wind and forget eating well if that has not been priority thus far; I am saying that if you haven’t been focusing on fueling your body right prior to starting your training program, you might not reap the benefits you would have had you started earlier.
Now, I understand that there are many who will flat out debunk my thoughts by smoking a pack a day, never sleeping more than 2 hours a night, drinking, partying….all those lovely not-so-healthy ways of living and live to be 110, have run a couple marathons, and see so many “health-minded” people go before their prime, (it is a sad thought…but it is unfortunately the case in this crazy world).
I would like to be the person that takes my chances with the latter; I am willing to put in the time, the research, and patience towards seeking what foods make my body as sound as possible, (after all I not only want to be a great runner, more importantly I have 2 little people who I adore and want to be around for).
How do I go about making nutrition a priority in my world as a runner/mom/everything else?
- Listening to my body. This is so critical and often ignored the most. I believe that I am the most powerful healer in my life. Yes, I have doctors whom I love, honor, and trust…however, they don’t live in my body…so if a food test says that a banana is okay for me to eat…but I feel lousy eating it…better believe I’m going to skip the banana (this is hypothetical, but a point worth making).
- Don’t do what your training partner does. I will say this over and over again. I really believe that every body is different. “One man’s medicine may be another man’s poison.”
- Don’t obsess/sweat over the small stuff. I have a major sweet tooth…so much so that I am paranoid on a daily basis that I am sacrificing my health by consuming it, (this was hard for me to admit…but something I am trying to fix by enjoying food and not letting the sugar monster consume me). However, if I stress out about what harm I am doing to my body I am ignoring the good I am doing as well. Stressing about stress is very real…nutrition can be so consuming that you forget to enjoy life as well.
- Be a mindful eater. This is hard for runners. I never feel super hungry the day of a long run or intense workout, however, the next day is another monster. I have to always remind myself to slow down and think about what I am eating rather then just getting what ever I can into my ravenous belly.
I hope that these points have helped raise a valuable question in your own training, “am I eating right for my body?” It is so easy to get caught up in the glow of an intense powerlifting session or excited about the track workout you just crushed and celebrate over a few too many beers, pizza, and the sheet of cookies calling your name, (after all, we’re runners…can’t we afford to eat what we want?)
Yes….go ahead have a celebratory beer, (if it doesn’t mess your belly up like mine), yes, eat some pizza with your buddies after a 20 mile run, (congrats to you if you do run 20!)…I do encourage you to stop though and think about how you fuel your body on a regular basis that will inevitably lead you to a path of success or a “dead-end” where you are only reaching a piece of your potential.
Happy running, healthful eating, (with the occasional cookie), and always finish with a smile!