If you’ve been training for a while now, and were thinking:
- How have I not lost any weight yet??
- I want to eat all the things all the time!!
You are not alone. When I first started training I used a mad fat stack of pancakes as a reward for just getting out and doing the training. Keeping in mind that the basic formula for weight gain is calories in vs. calories out I would often “reward” myself for doing 5 miles with a 1,000 calorie breakfast because I was famished after exerting all that energy.
But then I took myself on a little fitness journey and learned a bit about nutrition, and how to train and lose weight, or maintain my weight. So I thought I would share some of what I learned with you!
Think of food as fuel. In order for your body to get through a run, short or long, it needs some carb action. Eating the correct combo of foods before and after your run will help you have a great run, and ensure that you recover without eating all the things.
Example: Before your run – Toast with peanut butter and a banana. this is a good balance of carbs, fats, and the banana has potassium to help with those side stitches and cramps.
After your run – Chocolate milk immediately (Carbs, protein, and fats), followed by some fresh fruit like watermelon, oranges or grapes to rehydrate you and replenish some of those carbs you burned up.
Remember that you burn about 100 calories a mile, so if you track your calories and are looking to lose weight choose foods that are low in calories, but have a lot of bang for the buck, like a salad with grilled chicken breast and tons of veggies. You will fill up, without totally negating your run. If you are looking to maintain, feel free to eat back those calories…but don’t choose a bag of Doritos and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (that is what I did after my last half! I burned 1344 calories and amazingly a bag of Doritos is 1300 calories.)
The night before a long run, or race day grab some yummy pasta, but skip the garlic bread. The pasta is, you guessed it…carbs for your run. But don’t go nuts. Stick to portion sizes. I avoid the garlic bread because of the massive amounts of sweating I do…garlic tends to ooze out of my pores and nobody needs to smell that.
HYDRATE. But please remember that your body also needs salt too…when you sweat your salt contains a little sodium, and if you don’t replenish that too you will swell up like a balloon! So during your long run, or race day, carry a few salt packets with you or pretzels. A lot of gels, goos and chews have sodium in them too so do what works for you.
Finally, on the topic of gels, goos and chews. Try out a few on your training runs. I like Goo Chomps, and gummy bears. I have a few gels but they are just not great tasting. My go-to is gummy bears. They are the perfect amount of chew, have some sugar for energy and feel like a treat so that at the end of my run I don’t go bananas eating all the things.
I hope these tips help you with your nutrition plans and keep you on track with your training!!