Forget ultras. This is the real runner’s challenge.
Call me crazy but I did not think marathon training would be accompanied by sipping on vegan pad Thai noodle soup for lunch. In my head I saw myself eating giant sub sandwiches with meat and cheese and a side of chips every day. Pizza? Yeah sure! I’m marathon training!
Yes, for marathon training I thought you can eat butter rolled in sugar on a stick and it won’t matter because you’re logging so many miles a week that your engine is revved up and ready to obliterate all the extra calories. I guess I should have known better when Meb and Ryan Hall post their meager meals on Twitter all the time. I’ve never seen Ryan post a giant sub sandwich. Meb only seems to go nuts by sprinkling a few ounces of Krave Jerky on his spinach salads. And these guys are logging hundreds of miles a week.
Apparently the author of Racing Weight is right. Ok, I haven’t exactly finished reading the book. But between my race buddy and I both skimming, we’ve collectively gleaned a lot. The biggest takeaway from the book is that I’ve been eating too much fat in my diet and that fat isn’t easily digested with performance training. I’m butchering the book’s message but that’s my interpretation as it applies to myself. Also, I need to eat more carbohydrates. Hey, that’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time right? Um, until you find out that there are “good quality” carbs and “poor quality” carbs and that I’ve only been eating poor quality carbs.
The book also breaks down calories needed per day in order to lose weight but also fuel your running. I’m not gonna lie, this is the biggest pain in the ass to compute. Then you’re left with a magic number that you have to apply. For me that means entering it into an app (yet another pain in the ass). Thankfully my kids aren’t old enough to process me scanning every piece of food before I eat it. I look psycho.
But my old ways of training and eating weren’t working. I would eat less and lose weight but I couldn’t power through a run and was exhausted all the time. Or I’d eat more, have great runs, and never lose a pound. Get this… now I’m actually watching my time drop AND my weight drop! Ok, 2 weeks does not a trend make, but I’m gonna be excited about it anyway! I feel really good. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything yet. I’ve given up red meat and alcohol too. I guess I’m lucky in that, even stranded on a dessert island, my thoughts would only be of rice and fish (too bad you can only have 8 grain of rice while training on a diet). The whole “no extra fat” thing is taking a little more time. But come on, there is nothing else that tastes good in coffee except cream!
Last night after a late night medium distance run, I had to force my last meal down. I didn’t feel like eating at all. But I’m living and dying by the numbers now. I’m talking net calories people. I normally love the whole “net calories” concept, like on Sundays after long runs. But during the week, it still seems counter productive to eat that much. But the scale doesn’t lie. And so far it’s still going in the right direction.
This comes in a “bigger size?” I need to find this supersized version!