Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Figuring Out A Runner's Diet

Food isn't one of the main reasons why I run, but it certainly is a benefit of running.

According to running guru Hal Higdon: "The average runner training for a half marathon and running 20 to 25 miles a week probably needs a daily caloric intake near 2,500 to maintain muscle glycogen stores. As your mileage climbs beyond that, you need to eat more and more food, not less."

I had to do a double take. Near 2,500 calories a day? That's just awesome.

Since I'm in taper mode, I was looking around to some sorts of tips on tapering, specifically with food and caloric intake. My Loper pace leader sent a thing out a while ago about food, but it didn't include caloric intake. So I went looking around and figured I'd check Hal Higdon's Web site. It really has a bevy of information, and among the things I found was a story called the Runner's Diet.

In simplified terms:

* 2500 calories
* Common recommendations suggest 15-20 percent proteins, 30 percent fat, 50-55 percent carbohydrates (score!)
* Concentrate on complex carbs: fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, legumes
* Nutrtionally adequate food selection: fruits, vegetables, grains/legumes, lean meats, low-fat milk products, fats/sweets (listed in descending order of importance)

So how does that help me? Well, coupled with the list I received a while ago, it's helped formulate a plan, or least has helped give me some options. Here's the list of suggested foods my pace leader had given us.

Oatmeal (with blueberries)
Waffles, Pancakes, French Toast (no/little syrup)
Bagels-whole grain (with peanut butter)
English Muffin/Bread-whole grain
Graham Crackers
Popcorn (light)
Brown Rice with Chicken or Fish
Black Bean and Rice Burrito
Potatoes (baked, sweet, yams)
Whole Wheat Pasta (with marinara)
Sandwiches (with lean meat)
Salads (watch dressing)

I don't like eggs so that's out but I think the rest of the stuff includes things I can plan some meals around.

I can't keep bananas around here that often as I'm already helping myself to so many of them, so I have to restock often. I need to get me some sweet potatoes and bagels too. Nonfat plain yogurt is my new best friend. And also I bought some Fiber One cereals recently as they were on sale. Those things are good but so expensive.

If there's one area that I need a lot of work and practice on, it's nutrition, and to make sure I not only stay around the same amount of calories but also to make sure I'm consuming the right kinds of calories. That's not only important now in this taper but also beyond Surf City, especially if I'm going to continue running long distances.


Katie A. said...

I have read that same thing about the calorie intake. I cannot get to that number to save my life! Even this week with all my mileage building up, I just can't hit it unless I dive into the sweets.
I think that if you are serious about your nutrition planning, I would go and see a sports nutritionist after your marathon. Many health plans already have them in network and they are very helpful. I went to one a while back (like 18 months ago) and we created several different plans for eating depending on what area of training I am in at the moment (i.e. taper, marathon, maintance). It was really worth it. Happy Wednesday!

Angie Eats Peace said...

I need to be better about nutrition. Usually, I just eat more, when I run more, but I do not always pay attention to if I am getting enough carbs: fats: proteins.

And, I am SO in for Run Through Redlands! Let's do it! We can do a few training runs on those crazy hills.

Morgan said...

My biggest issue while training is eating enough. I just can't seem to get it down no matter what I do. Thanks for sharing the info and go get your eat on! :)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Interesting, I like most of the foods you listed, now if I could just justify the calorie intake...oh, I guess I could start running...

Lisa said...

This is where I struggle. I'd like to lose a few pounds but you can't do that when training for a race. I bought a sports nutrition book by Nancy Clark that is highly recommended on the forums at Runnersworld but have only read a few chapters.

Your list looks good to me. You need the carbs for energy. Protein is more for muscle building but is still important.

thrasherswife said...

Since I'm not running for anything other then calorie burning, i am so all about the protein lately. Trying to stay away from carbs as much as possible during the week, concentrate more on protein and then do whatever i want during the weekend. No calorie counting here, I think I'd go insane trying to do that.

Kerrie T. said...

I think bagels have been causing me to gain weight. Bagels are evil! No more bagels for me.

PS: I don't like eggs either! They make me feel nauseous. (I think it's the yolks, though, 'cause egg whites seem to be OK and are actually really good when they are on a bagel...waaaaah!

Willoughby said...

It looks like you've got a good amount of variety. That should make things easier.