On Facebook, I asked recently about suggestions for questions for the day of the hump. Lots of good stuff that I'll either use here or we'll post on FB, depending on the question (not sure if we want to read 300+ responses to how do deal with Gu-Doo.)
One topic that came up repeatedly in various forms was nutrition. What do you eat during the day to fuel your run? Do you adjust your calorie intake on rest days? What do you think of a high-protein, low-calorie diet during marathon training?
I'm no nutritionist, but I have learned what works for me with regard to my eating and running:
1. I have to eat before a run. Doesn't matter what time or how far. Usually a banana suffices, but a graham cracker or two or a pumpkin muffin also works. (A bunch of ideas about pre-run fueling from the RLAM crowd can be found here.)
2. I have to eat when I come home from a run. Since it's usually morning, I'll drink a glass of chocolate milk because it's the ultimate recovery drink, then have an English muffin with almond butter and honey; or yogurt, a mix of Greek and non-fat plain, with fruit and cereal; or, sometimes, if I'm feeling ambitious, eggs. I have to eat protein to feel full, and I have to eat well; after a run, breakfast influences the rest of my eating patterns--good or bad--for the rest of the day. If I eat a couple soggy mouthfuls of Ben's Raisin Bran that has been marinating for 30 minutes and call it good, I'll be craving an ice cream sandwich by 10 a.m.
3. In order to eat well for the rest of a weekday, I rely on leftovers. I never whip up a lunch from scratch, unless you count a PB+J from scratch. When I prepare food, I usually employ the one-mega-dish method. I make a batch of something that's feeds 8, and then Grant and I eat it for dinner...and lunch...and dinner again...and, if we're lucky, lunch again. I don't really use it in the summer, but in the winter, the slow-cooker, when I remember to plan ahead, is my savior.
4. I'm not a great cook, and I really don't enjoy spending time in the kitchen unless I'm making cookies, so I tend to favor easy and minimal preparation. One of my fave recipes from this summer, from my mom, is Cowboy Caviar; I like it because it's a cinch to make and it's got protein and veggies, so I can knock those two pyramid pieces out without any thought. I eat it plain, on a bed of spinach, with tortilla chips or rolled up in a tortilla.
2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans, rinsed
1 (17 oz.) bag of frozen corn, drained (I used 4 ears of real corn, cut off the kernels, then roasted it on the stove)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3-4 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper
1. Make dressing (last four ingredients)
2. Combine top 6 ingredients in a large bowl
3. Pour dressing on veggies, cover and chill. Garnish with more avocado slices if you wish.
5. I'm on a continual quest to eat less sugar. Sugar plays with my mind, my mood, my motivation. Cutting down on the white devil would be much easier if King Sooper's didn't put 6-packs of ice cream sandwiches on sale 10 for $10; if M'n'M's hadn't invented the Pretzel version; if PMS and writer's block weren't immediately eased by the intake of anything chocolatey, creamy or artificially flavored strawberry.
I could go on--especially about The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health, which I grabbed from the library display table and have used frequently the past 3 weeks; the vegetarian recipes are super easy, pretty healthy and darn tasty--but we want to hear from you. Do you have rules you eat by? What have you found that most definitely aids your running--or most definitely does not? What's your version of cowboy caviar? (Feel free to share simple, shorter recipes.) What's in your fridge that fuels you well--or weighs you down?
Give the RLAM crowd some of your Rachel Ray insight, and we'll reward a random winner with a head-to-toe K-Swiss kit: a sleeveless top with mesh inserts that provide serious A/C; pink, split shorts with four-way stretch that just have to make you smile when you pull them on; and a pair of the Keahou II, an award-winning neutral shoe. Total value? Over $175--and the outfit will make you look like a million bucks.
So what's in your fridge?
p.s. We know what's on on Amanda's feet: a new pair of Vibram Bikilas. We had a whopping 516 entries with some very thoughtful, insightful answers to how running makes you feel. Amanda's entry, picked through random.org, was this post we can all relate to in one way or another:
Running makes me feel sleek and strong…things that I have hardly felt before. It makes me believe that I can do almost anything in my life…again, not a familiar feeling. The first time I ran a 5k without stopping, I cried. Amazing!