We know that one good long run does not lead to success during the marathon, right? We need to look at the big picture of one’s training: a runner’s weekly volume, progress from week to week and their ability to consistently perform well (and feel good) on the run. Yyou can have a HORRIBLE 20 mile training run and still plunk down a kickass marathon. Don’t forget about the other nuts and bolts that comprise your training: the recovery runs, the the tempo runs, the base runs, the recovery days and fueling/resting well! Bottom line: I always encourage athletes to look at the big picture of their training to determine their overall progress!
What if we take the need to look at the big picture of one’s training and apply it one’s nutrition and fueling patterns. On Monday I published a post entitled The Meals and Miles of Last Week’s training. You saw the miles I ran and what I ate for dinner each night. What you didn’t see was the ice cream I had on Wednesday night or the cookie that I had Sunday afternoon with Lillian. You also didn’t see the oatmeal I had for breakfast or the chicken soup I slurped down for lunch most days. I suppose what I’m trying to get at is this: one healthy meal per day doesn’t make someone a healthy person. The same goes on the flipside too: you can eat one unhealthy meal and still be a healthy person. So how do we know if we’re doing a good job living a healthy life style and eating healthy? We look at the big picture! We can start by looking at everything we consume in one day.
So let’s take a look at what I ate on Monday. I by no means suggest that this is the perfect or healthiest way to eat. I’m finding my way like the next person. This post represents simply what I have been eating and is intended to to highlight what I have found that works for my body on the run. Plus my nutrtion ebbs and flows. In my opinion the meals below represent a pretty typical and well balanced day (for me)… mostly healthy stuff with some not so healthy stuff thrown in).
A few notes about how I eat:
1. Eat often: I tend to eat about every 2-3 hours. I REALLY love food.
2. Snack attack: I NEVER leave the house without 1-2 healthy snacks on hand. If I am going to work for the full day I *try* to pack my meals so as to make healthier choices and save $$.
3. Small mid-day meals: I tend to eat a small breakfast before I run and dinner and a lot of food in the middle of the day. I rarely eat after 7 pm. It’s not a rule, I just rarely do it.
4. I do not diet. I do not count calories. My general philosophy is to listen to my body by eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full and eating healthy, nutrient rich foods more often than not.
5. Eat real food. I don’t do cleanses. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I don’t *only* eat organic. ~ I probably could/should educate myself even more on what I put into my body, but I’m still learning. For now I eat a lot of chicken, beans, ground turkey and greek yogurt for protein, sweet potatoes and quinoa for carbs and lots, lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day and something sweet thrown in there to keep me sane :).
Here’s how Monday’s meals panned out..
Monday I woke up around 7 am and at a bowl of cooked apples and oats (recipe coming soon). Oats are incredibly healthy, delicious and filling; at the same time they are one of the worst things to have pre-run because they are difficult for your body to process. Alas, this is my life and this is what I ate. In spite of my indulging I didn’t have to make any bathroom stops… we will call that a win today.
Around 8:30 AM headed out for my morning run (7 mi @ conversational pace). After the quickest shower known to man I hauled a** to the running store for a 10 am- 9 pm shift at the running store. Whomp whomp. Once there I impressively inhaled second breakfast: Trader Joes greek yogurt topped with trail mix (almonds, raisins, pistachios and walnuts, drool!)
By 12:30 I was famished, yet again. I took a break from work to answer some coaching emails, munch on some melon and inhale leftover black bean burger atop a spinach salad with veggies.
Yea, that didn’t cut it for long. By 2:30 runger reared its ugly head and I grabbed a Peanut Butter Clif bar from the shelf . I’ve been trying to say away from these and eat “real food”… but it was there and I was there and our eyes met and my stomach rumbled and …. yep….
Around 4:30 I was given my dinner break (don’t kid yourself this was simply first dinner). I trotted over to Whole Foods in search of sweet potatoes, but sadly no luck. I grabbed some cooked carrots, bean and rice pilaf (is that a pilaf? what exactly is a pilaf?) … bean and rice combo of some sort- and a cheese stick because it was a cheese stick and I wanted it in my belly. Just that simple.
Then I ate a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Then I ate another one. Yup. I showed some self restraint and capped it at 2 for the night. Phew!
This is a pretty typical day for me: some healthy, some not so healthy, all delicious!! 🙂 So what do you think….? What would you add to this mix? What are your favorite snacks to fuel/recover from your runs?
Never stop running (and eating cookies),