Fueling a Runner
Coming home from my morning runs, I usually look forward to breakfast, something like a bowl of hot cereal with things like cinnamon, flax seed, and some sort of berries added to it. Then at some point throughout the day I have lunch and start some dinner preparations so that most of dinner is ready when Jason and I get home from our evening run. Apart from time running and working out, I realize that I spend a lot of time planning, preparing, and eating. In training, I think the second most important thing next to actual running and working out is eating, followed closely by sleeping. That’s the life of a distance runner, and most athletes.
When my mileage increases, I always notice my apatite increases as well. Shortly after finishing a long run I usually raid the kitchen for anything immediately eatable. This is why planning meals and nutrition has become more and more important to me past just eating a large amount of anything to refuel.
I also believe some of my upbringing built my interest in food as well. My mom did an awesome job of raising my five siblings and me with the best quality food she could. My family didn’t have a lot when I was growing up and for a long time, I thought food stamps were just money specifically for food that everyone had. I didn’t realize it was government aid for poor families. My mom never resorted to Wonderbread and bologna sandwiches, though. Instead, she learned how to make meals by buying bulk whole grains, gardening, raising chickens, and cooking deer meat that my dad shot. This, along with the ample time I had playing and hiking around the hills when I was young, is what I believe built a good foundation for me to run well later on.
With this past, my interest in food and the apatite I get from running many miles makes the process of fueling and refueling my body a neat learning experience. I continually grow in learning to appreciate what effects the types of food can have on your body. I’ve learned things that work for me and things that don’t. Things that I like and will do, and things that sound like good ideas but I don’t really like and won’t do.
I definitely still believe that the best way to become the best runner I can be is through working hard in training, but learning to fuel my body with the best fuel I can, helps me work better. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this improved area of training in the upcoming racing season.