Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Food, Food, Food

After last week's PR/major life accomplishment, I think people have started developing expectations. Case in point: I ran with my running group on Saturday, and over a post-run breakfast, I told a few of them about my half-marathon. One of them asked when the sub-3 hour marathon would happen.

Yes, the sub-3 hour marathon is a goal. But first things first -- break 3:05 and BQ.

On Sunday, I went for my scheduled 15M run. While I was drawing the post-long run salt bath (yes, I'm making it a thing -- try it and you'll understand), I got a text from a friend of mine asking about injury relief. She's training for her first half-marathon, did a 12M run, and reported some pain behind the knee. I referred her to my good friend, the foam roller. (If you haven't foam rolled before, I fully recommend it. Either before or after you try that salt bath.)

While this isn't the first time that a friend has asked me for running advice, I'm honored to be consulted, because it means that people think I know something about the sport. Later that day, I couldn't control my hunger. If you ask my family, this is just a typical day in my life. But this was worse than usual! I spent the rest of the day alternating between trying to be productive with schoolwork, and eating so I could focus enough to attempt to be productive. Still, I realized that knowing "something" doesn't mean knowing "everything," and so I set out to learn more about refueling after a long run.

What do you do when you've burned 1,500+ calories on a run, and your body needs about 2,000 calories to carry out its basic functions? According to the math, you need about twice the calories you'd normally eat just to function normally. How do you work in this many extra calories?

I researched fueling after a long run, and found that the Live Strong website "How To Plan Post-exercise Recovery Meals" best explained things in layman's terms. It also cited Nancy Clark's "Sports Nutrition Guidebook" as a reference. I borrowed this from the library when I was training for Chicago and read it, and it's a fantastic book. Maybe it's time I invest in my own copy? And while I'm at it, perhaps I should get "Food Guide for Marathoners"as well.

OR I could just look into the Michael Phelps diet! Remember those reports of his 12,000 calorie a day diet during the Beijing Olympics? If any athlete knows about eating crazy amounts of food, it'd be him, right? Well, here's the 12,000 calorie a day diet, outlined (source: WSJ):

"Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

"Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

"Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks."

Said diet put into perspective. (Source)

Most of these foods are not in my normal diet, primarily because I try to eat healthy most of the time. (And by "try," I mean keep to the 80% healthy, 20% alcohol/everything else. I find that when I eat more nutrient-dense foods, I feel and function better.) So now the issue is, "Is there a way to consume seemingly exorbitant amounts of cleaner, healthier food?" In my research on the Michael Phelps Diet, I found this article from Men's Health that describes how his diet changed from the Beijing Games to the London Games. And an article titled, "The New Rules of Marathon Nutrition" from To sum it up, eat whole grains, lean meats, eggs, some dairy, and fresh produce, and eat until you're satiated.

So basically, just eat more of what I already eat? Oy. If you need me, I'll be at Costco, and trying not to go broke while fueling myself for this training. In the meantime, I'll also take other recommendations on balancing eating properly during training and not going broke.

(Disclaimer: Though I've taken nutrition courses, I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. If you want advice from a trained professional, you should seek one out.)

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