When you chat with runners about their training, you are likely to hear how great a workout went, how an IT band required a round of physical therapy, or how grueling a long run was. But you will almost never hear a runner say “yeah man, I really crushed that side of broccoli” or “did you see my perfect ratio of carbs to proteins in that meal?”
Even though we may not talk about it, nutrition is a key part of training. As a runner, it is a good idea to strive for your plates at meals to be one-quarter quality protein, one-quarter minimally processed carbohydrates and one-half fruits and/or veggies. It may not be something you take note of in your training log, but focusing on smart nutritional choices will result in smarter training and better results.
It sounds simple, but in practice nutrition can sometimes be overwhelming. Healthy eating habits are important but should not consume your life. Figure out what healthy eating options work for you and don’t over think every calorie you consume.
As an example of how a typical day could progress, I am sharing my training and meals from last week on National Running Day when I made an effort to be very active.
So here is what I had… all in a day’s eats…
When the first rays of sunshine peak through the blinds, I was already up considering which loop to run. I headed to the kitchen for a glass of ice cold water to lower my core temperature and something quick and easy to digest for my 60 minute run. It was a banana then, but sometimes it is raisins or a handful of pretzels.
After my frolic around DC during which a neighborhood child offered me a high five, it was time for breakfast. On the menu was steel-cut oatmeal with peanut butter, honey, and blueberries, but other days it’s often a two egg omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.
After I refueled from my morning run, my dog and I headed to the dog park where I did some walking lunges and form drills while Luigi inspected every possible blade of grass.
Then, I rode my bike six miles to Clarendon. Since I just tackled the behemoth hill and was about to undertake a strength routine, I had some trail mix as a quick snack. And, upon completing my exercise session, I went over to the store where a spinach and arugula salad with tuna fish, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, sour cherries, and red peppers was awaiting me.
Throughout my eight hour workday where I spend most of my time on my feet, I snacked on a couple of handfuls of Cheez-It crackers and enjoyed a pear in the middle of the afternoon. After work, I rode easy miles downhill back home.
Dinner was salmon and a side of quinoa with cauliflower and black beans. And, of course, I always have to have something sweet before I go to sleep, so I indulged in a couple of scoops of my guilty pleasure – Ciao Bella Passion Fruit sorbetto.
All day long, I made good choices that kept me fueled for plenty of moving. While most days I don’t necessarily track everything I eat, I recognize the role nutrition plays in letting me do the things I love.
Next time you see me, don’t be surprised if I bring up my shopping list because food is a major factor in my training– as it ought to be in yours.
By Joanna Russo, Pacers Clarendon