This week marks the third week of half marathon training! Sorry, five weeks from now these updates will probably be super annoying. Ehh, maybe they’re already annoying. I’M JUST SO EXCITED.
I never thought running could teach me so much about nutrition and maintaining a healthy relationship with food, but it has. As always, remember I’m just a random teen from PA sharing my thoughts. Always consult a professional if you have nutrition or exercise related questions.
Eat Enough: Running is super energy intensive. Even as it gets easier when we get stronger, you’re still burning calories while you run. It’s very hard to be a successful, happy runner if you’re not eating enough.
Carbs Aren’t Bad: There is a reason why over 60% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. We need them. Our bodies break down glucose (from foods like potatoes, grains, fruit, veggies, etc) during cellular respiration and make ATP -> acronym that stands for a complicated scientific word that means energy. We use ATP to do everything, including running. Plus, carbs taste like hugs.
Treat Yourself…In Moderation: Everyone should treat themselves, not just runners, but I include this because training can get intense. We get too wrapped up in worrying about how weight affects pace, wanting to PR, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that unless you’re an elite/professional runner, it doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
Bonking is Preventable: I’ve only seriously bonked twice in 4 years of running. Both experiences were nutrition related. Once was during a 10 mile training run, and I hadn’t brought any carby snacks with me. Also I hadn’t had a big enough, carb rich lunch. The second time was during a summer half, and I had paced myself wrong and was dehydrated. I’m not saying I’ll never bonk again, but fueling properly definitely helps!
Running Suppresses Appetite: This one is frustrating. Especially during the summer, you finish a hot run and feel like you’re on the verge of barfing and food is the last thing on your mind. It’s still crucial to get nutrients into your body. Smoothies, toast, or a piece of fruit are always good options. (Low fiber, low fat smoothies will be gentler on the tummy)
Don’t Focus on Calories Burned: This goes for any type of exercise. Run because you want to be a better, stronger runner. Run because it makes you feel happy. Run because you want to meet new people at your local running club. But please, for pete’s sake, stop looking at your runs as calories burned. It takes away so much joy. If you hate running, DON’T RUN. There are a billion other ways to move your body.
Whole, Nutritious Foods = Better Runs: Treat yourself? Absolutely. Treat yourself all day every day? Ehh, not so much. Our bodies recover more quickly, fight off pathogens, and feel more energetic when our diet includes more plant-based, nutrient rich foods.
Fiber Pre-Run is risky: I love running super much, but it’s not always (read: rarely) glamorous. It’s a poop story, okay. You knew it was coming.
Rewind a good 3 years. It was my first “real” long run I had ever done, and I decided to run 8 miles. I started running, my dad was biking along side of me, and five miles in I really had to poop. But, the run was a loop, and we were in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve ever experienced runner’s trots, you feel my pain. If you haven’t, Google it and be enlightened. I told dad he needed to bike home and get the car, or I would literally poop in a field. He biked off, but by the time he got home and brought the car, I was about a 1/2 mile from home. I was too darn stubborn to cut my first long run short by a few minutes, so I waddled home. Thankfully, my digestive system is used to long runs now, and I’ve learned that lots of fiber pre-run is a gamble…lesson learned.
So tell me…
What has running taught you?
Have you ever had to learn the hard way when running?