Thursday, August 13, 2009

Listen to Your Stomach!

I'm currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon and as the long distance miles add up, I find myself constantly hungry. I was the fat kid growing up. You know, the one who wore the plaid pants because nothing else would fit. The husky-sized toughskin pants from Sears (you remember, the ones with the reinforced knees that never wore out). Enough strolling down memory lane...my point...what was my point? Oh yeah, my point was, ever since I lost the extra pounds in high school, I've been very conscious of my weight. When I start eating more than usual, I become a little paranoid that I'm over eating.

If you're a distance runner, this kind of thinking is pure hogwash. You heard me. Hogwash. When you run more and run longer, your body needs more fuel. Not only does it need fuel during the run, it also needs you to replace that fuel after your run. I've realized that thinking of my food as fuel helps me get beyond the idea that I'm over eating. If I'm training hard and I'm hungry, that's my body telling me I need fuel. I've also realized that I can avoid that constant hungry feeling by eating more often throughout the day.

Basically, it's all about putting back the calories you've expended. For me, eating more often throughout the day seems to help achieve this. I'll eat breakfast (an English muffin with peanut butter and preserves); then around 10:00AM I'll have a mid-morning snack (usually a handful of almonds or a granola bar). I'll eat a regular lunch; then by 2:00PM, I'm ready for a mid-afternoon snack. I'll have a regular dinner and then a few hours after that I'll have a snack of yogurt and granola or something similar. The more frequent smaller meals works for me, but for another runner, having three larger meals and no snacks may work just as well. It doesn't really matter as long as you're taking in the needed calories to sustain your normal body functions plus the extra caloric demands from your training.

I weigh around 138lbs. A person my size needs about 1,400 calories just to live and breathe (Resting Metabolic Rate). Since I'm a pretty active guy during the day (not including any running), I'll need an additional 700 calories. Someone my size burns about 110 calories per mile. So, for a 10-mile run I'll need an additional 1,100 calories. So for a day in which I'm running 10 miles I need to make sure I eat about 3,200 calories. On a day with an 18-mile long run, I'd need to eat about 4,300 calories. No wonder I'm so hungry! But telling a weight-conscious person he needs to eat 4,300 calories can really freak him out. That's why I like to think of it as fuel. It's like putting gas in your car. You may only use 2 gallons of gas to drive to and from work, but if you're traveling out of town on a business trip, you'll use the entire tank.

So, the moral of this story is—Train Hard, Eat, Drink, and be Happy!

25 comments:

Running Through Life said...

I think thats a good philosophy for life in general. Good advice, "Train Hard, Eat, Drink, and be Happy"!

unathleticrunner said...

Good post! :)

Amanda said...

As I eat my 2nd breakfast of the morning...:)

Chellie has Issues said...

It makes me think I should be eating more, but you're right to a former fat person it's scary. Maybe this is why my weight has stayed where it is. I've been currently eating 1,200 to 1,500 cal. a day and running up to 35 miles a week. Maybe not enough? Let me tell you I ate a TON this weekend and I gained 3.5 lbs. though!

Meg Runs said...

Hey, nothing wrong with those plaid pants...my son would love them now, they're "vintage!"
Thanks for the reminders...eating throughout the day is such a plus for me. I don't count calories, I just try to eat "clean," guess that's the new buzz word.

Morgan said...

Eating more is my favorite part of running! :)

Lorenda said...

This made me laugh! My sisters and I were recently talking about wearing Sears toughskins as kids, we thought we were the poor kids because "all" the other kids were wearing Levis!
I always thought the paranoid about eating thing was a girl thing.
I was never overweight until I had that 2nd kid. (the things we sacrifice for having kids!) After losing weight and starting running
I get those same paranoid thoughts, I will start thinking that I just burned all those calories so eating is not the thing to do as that will undue all the calorie burning I just did.

Zoƫ said...

Excellent post! I love it! I've actually been thinking about this recently too, as I feel like I'm hungry more often than I used to be. Almonds are fantastic and amazing! Thanks for keeping the "fuel" in perspective, RunnerDude!

(the word verfication for me is "frostang"---how appropriate! Frosting with attitude!).

Jeff Pickett said...

I can sympathize with always being hungry. That gift of running is what keeps me in line at Taco Bell and other fast food places when I'm in training. Is it the most healthy? Of course not. But my metabolism seems to help me keep things in check and I've not gained any weight. How can you when you're long distance running?! My favorite new food? Adopted from a local juice store I add 2 scoops of protein powder, teaspoon of honey, teaspoon of peanut butter, 2 scoops of frozen yogurt, ice and some water blended into a smooth and tasty after dinner snack or recovery drink. I'm not sure of the caloric content - and for right now as I train for a marathon - I'm not counting!

SchoolKidRunna23 said...

Really good post RunnerDude!

Denise said...

I just asked my followers to list their favorite blogs and yours came up. I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner. Great post! Very true, although I find it so hard to eat to refuel. I feel like I'm defeating the purposes.

And totally frustrating that I gained weight during my ultra training. Now I'm working to take it off.

RunnerDude said...

Hey SchoolKidrunna23! Welcome to the blog! Thanks for the feedback!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Chellie Has Issues! Welcome to the blog! Sometimes not eating enough can actually put your body in starvation mode causing your body to actually store fat as a preservation tool.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Zoe! I love it...Frostang!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Tony! Like the summer pic! Looks like you're running strong!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Amanda! I knew we had a lot in common! LOL! Just now finishing up my night-time snack. LOL

RunnerDude said...

Hey Meg! Yep, I should have hung on to those pants. Might be worth something now. LOL!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jeff! Sounds delish!. With all your running, the calories in your smoothie are probably fine. May want to check the protein content. You only need 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Since you're training so hard you can probably go with the 2grams per kilogram of body weight per day. Your body won't make use of any more than that. It will just be stored as fat or it'll will be become expensive poo. LOL!

Fair Weather Runner said...

i totally agree with you here. i am so much more hungry when i train for long races. so true, and well put!

Adam said...

YES! I absolutely hear you. I’m around 145 which is down from 180 about 4 years ago. That said, I figured up the other day that at 50 miles per week, I need to eat about 3000 cals a day to maintain. Yowza. The unfortunately reality is that salad isn’t cutting it. Bring on the feedbag!

Dena said...

So after our 18 tomorrow morning it's a free for all at Brueggers or Panera - whoo-hoo!!!

The Biz Runner said...

Runner Dude - another great post. Check out what I wrote this week on my blog recently about a competitve eater who runs to keep the weight off - including marathons!

http://www.thebizrunner.com/2009/08/hot-dogs-as-carbo-loading.html

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Fair Weather Runner and Adam! Adam get yourself something more than that salad, you hear!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Dena! You bet! I think I might add egg and cheese to my bagel!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey The Biz Runner! Thanks! That's a crazy post about the hotdog eater running. My biggest question though is....how in the heck did he qualify for Boston if his personl best is 5:04:10? Guess his "celebrity status" got him in. LOL!!!