sole to soul running (what I’ve learned so far) : 1

Posted: October 9, 2008 in marathon, running
Tags: , , ,

August was my run birthday month. I’ve yet to lay claim to it. There is a rule in my family that says you cannot claim anything unless you’ve reasoned out and announced 1. Why you need it, or more importantly, 2. What you’ve learned from it. Which is why although I am already in my 30s I can only lay claim to the wisdom of a 6 year old.

Here is what I’ve learned so far in my one year of running progressively longer distances…

Not by bread (or pasta) alone does a runner liveth…

We runners need our water and our sports drinks and our gel packs and our vitamins and our fuel belts and our pace watches and our technical shirts and our rocket boosters attached to our shoes…

But seriously, nutrition is important. I’ve always enjoyed food and I love eating. What running has done is that it has forced me to focus just a little bit better on exactly WHAT I EAT and, more importantly, WHEN I EAT IT.  Diet is a very bad word to me. I’ve threw it out of my vocabulary years ago!  It’s easier to just eat right and that means giving your body exactly what it needs or close to what it needs at the time it needs it. Although it really isn’t. Not quite.

Carbo-loading as I knew it when I was swimming competitively has a very different face now that I just run, well, passionately. I’m never going to be an elite runner. My goal is not to finish in the top three but simply to finish and to finish well. Well being operationally defined as me breathing and therefore alive.  This means that what I eat needs to sustain me for the long distances. It should feed not only my stomach but also my muscles and my brain. (Actually, my brain is the first thing to go during a very long run.) I don’t want any of those shutting down in protest in the middle of any run. What I need is food that goes the distance.

These are the sites I go to when I need help sorting this entire foodstuff drama out. I know there are lots of places you’ll find advice on the Internet. These are the ones I go to when I need the good ones. They dish it out plain and simple. Here are a few of the articles I’ve found most helpful.

The Performance Eating Continuum by Coach Joe English

Nutrition for Recovery by Coach Dean Hebert

The Best Food for Runners, a Runner’s World Article

When I was much younger, I could just burn, burn, burn! I could eat a whole plate full of pasta and some pizzas and all those other carbohydrate intensive meals and I would actually be able to walk and not roll on the day of competition. If I do that now, I will be a very fat, very bloated, cholesterol laden corpse! So I do carbo-load but I don’t give myself license to binge. I always try to remember that what takes seconds to put in my mouth takes weeks and months to remove from my body. It doesn’t always work but I am getting better.

Running requires you to focus on food for the body.  So you need to eat (and drink!) properly before and immediately after a run. There is a scientific and a technical aspect to nutrition as it pertains to running. I’ve read a few of them and most of the data simply goes way over my head. So I keep it simple and simply let this thought be my guide.  What you put inside my body is what it will dish out at me when I most need it! And there you go. That’s as simple as it can get and certainly something my stubborn head understands.

And the video below? Well, this is my favorite site to get recipes. Well, actually to watch someone else cook. This episode isn’t for pasta though; it’s for a salad. Check out the FOOD COMMANDER online. It’s hilarious!

When I had my house renovated a few years ago, I knew exactly where my kitchen would be. And I pointed this exact spot out to my interior designer. She managed to give me a look horror before stating… “You cannot be serious! Every house needs a kitchen!” Well, see, the location I pointed to was inside my father’s house and that was two cities away!

So there’s the caveat. I don’t cook. I used to but since I live alone I think it a waste of precious time I can spend in front of the television or reading a book! Oh well, I’m guess I should be glad she won out and I ended up with a little kitchen in my house. It’s not the best, but it works especially when I’m busy creating my gourmet peanut butter sandwiches.

One day, in a future not so far away,  I do imagine myself sweating it out in the kitchen again. At this time though I prefer to reserve all the sweating for the road ahead…

Well there is food for the body and then there is food for the mind and soul. But that will have to wait until another time… and the next post.

to be continued…Really! 🙂

  1. lonerunner says:

    As some people(who hates to cook) say, a kitchen is nothing but a big room that holds a toaster. 🙂

    funnily enough, i was actually checking out these contraptions a few days ago! it was couch potato day for me so i decided to do a bit of time traveling…

  2. DATC says:

    I never knew you swam competitively. In that case, when are you going to do a triathlon? C’mon, I know you want to! 🙂

    One more thing I learned in a year of running: running is not a cheap sport. Aside from all the gadgets & gear, figure in the cost of physical therapy, cross training, gas/plane fare to get to the races, etc. etc.

    🙂 Haha! I don’t think the others sharing the pool with me knew it either! 400m-1600m free were my events mostly because nobody else would swim them in HS. Most of the time, I simply needed to finish to earn the team points for the overall lead! Like my coach said…slow but relentless. I guess I’m pretty consistent whatever sports I end up in.

    Triathlon requires riding a bike. I have yet to find an event that qualifies riding bike to coffee shop in the corner and back as training…

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