I began running about 10 years ago in an effort to lose the baby fat I had accrued over my back to back (to back to back) pregnancies. It was a great way to burn calories, and I was able to lose the weight pretty quickly.
I kept running once the weight was off – one, because I liked the challenge and two, because I. love. food. Lots of food. Particularly junk food.
So I ran to eat.
This worked for many years. I could eat bowls of Honeycomb cereal. Scoops of ice cream. Blow Pops. Candy Corn. Jelly Beans. Mmm mmm mmm. And I never gained weight.
Then one day, I got old, and my muscles began to hurt. Not the good hurt, where your muscles are sore from a workout, but hurt hurt.
They hurt while I ran. They hurt while I bowled. They hurt while I sat.
Thinking it was because I was running daily, I made a decision to cut back my running to just 3 days a week, and use my elliptical trainer on the off days.
I still hurt.
I changed shoes.
I still hurt.
Not willing to give up running entirely, I did some research on the internet.
Turns out, ingesting a bunch of sugary foods wasn’t giving my muscles the nourishment they needed to recover from runs. They needed protein. Healthy fats. Healthy carbs. Healthy food.
But running was important enough to me that I knew what I had to do. I began replacing most of the sugary foods I ate with natural peanut butter, whole wheat bagels, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, spinach salads, almonds, chicken, steamed veggies, but I still had a big bowl of ice cream at night.
I didn’t hurt!
I’m now training for a half-marathon. in case some of you forgot. And I want to keep my muscles strong, and keep their energy up, so I’ve been reading about what kinds of foods I should eat.
And I love this! I love learning! I love experimenting! Just like years ago, I’m keeping track of what I eat, but this time I’m looking at the grams of carbohydrates and protein instead of calories. And I’m learning that it’s a good idea to start overloading on carbs a week or so before the big run.
Today I ran 10.6 miles. I wanted to see if my increase in carbs the last few days had any effect. Hard to tell, really, but I think it did. I ran a comfortable 7:59 pace and although I still was ready to quit by the end, my legs weren’t cramping up like they usually do.
And I’m learning what NOT to eat before a big run. Like fiber, artificial sweeteners, gum, and ice cream. (woe is me). But I’ll give it up the night before my big day, if it avoids an embarrassing turnout…
So while I started my running career running to eat, I now find myself
Eating to Run.