Sunday, June 25, 2006

Holy sweet carbs

Whew, I had a fantastic 14 mile run this morning. I know I usually put this stuff on BerlinBlog, but this is more a food/lifestyle type revelation rather than purely running.

I'm really starting to appreciate the importance of what I eat and how it impacts on my running. Yesterday I made a real effort to eat a lot more complex carbs than I usually do on a Saturday, with pasta in the evening, a few slices of very dark rye bread and some muesli just before bed, as well as my normal porridge and assorted fruit and veg. I've also started drinking lucozade on the run rather than water.

I'm in a "sod the calories" phase. Yes, the lucozade might be stuffed with sugar, but that's the point. If I run 14 miles then I burn off roughly 1400 calories. That's more than enough leeway to justify a bottle or two of lucozade to keep me going during the run.

I've got to the point in my marathon training where I'm starting to feel like I definitely need to eat more to sustain it. It's quite hard psychologically to make myself eat more than I'm used to, particularly when it's carby stuff, as I always wonder whether it's the first step on the slippery slope, but I'm finally appreciating how important it is.

Last week I had a crappy 11.6 mile run. I also got on the scales on Monday morning and saw a big drop. This week I've been eating more, and I had a good 14 mile run. Most of it was round the same course, but I coped with it far better. So, tomorrow the scales might not be down as dramatically tomorrow morning as they were last week, but I've finally started to understand that I don't necessarily want them to be.

I was quite shocked the other day to see that my BMI was hovering around 22.9. That's a lot lower than I thought it was, and it was another reminder that this isn't about weight any more. I keep on saying on here that I'm now more interesting in eating to run rather than eating to lose, but sometimes it's hard to put it into practice. Or at least I was putting it into practice for my pre-marathon training mileage, but I didn't increase it as much as I needed to in order to take account of the extra miles I'm running - 21 over the course of the past 2 days when I used to do about 20 per week, for example. I'm still being quite cautious when it comes to increasing what I eat, and maybe I need to give myself more slack.

I think what I'm actually going to end up doing is getting into a weekly cycle, adjusting what I eat each day to take account of what I'm doing that day and the next, so that Saturday and Sunday I eat a lot to take account of the long runs, but during the week when my mileage is lower I cut back a bit. More carbs at the weekend, more protein during the week. I'm going to play around with it, now I've seen the real difference that yesterday's carbs made.


Blogger M@rla said...

Ummm... running 14 miles burns 1400 calories? You mean, if I were able to run 14 miles, I would have completely burned off everything I ate that day, and would be able, if I so chose, to eat the whole thing again? It's like a miracle!

Sorry to focus on this one tiny point in your interesting post, it just really caught my attention! Of course, at my present pace, 14 miles would take me 3.5-4 hours, supposing I was actually able to keep running for that period.

12:50 PM  
Blogger K said...

Mar!a - I have totally thought this too. I do all my proper cardio on machines that tell me how many calories I've burned, and it's quite hard not to think "Better keep going for another few minutes; then I'll have burned 300 calories and I can have some chocolate when I get home." Which is not the idea at all!

I've heard this attitude called "exercise bulimia" if you take it too far: that is, instead of getting rid of what you eat by throwing up, you get rid of it by doing extra exercise. I can see that's not a very healthy way to think about exercise - and would probably prevent it from being very enjoyable, either...

2:42 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

There's a book called Food for Fitness by Chris Carmichael (I believe he was one of Lance Armstrong's trainers) and it has a lot of great info about eating when training for events, etc. You might find it helpful. I don't know if it's available in the UK, but I would think you could probably get your hands on a copy!

2:54 PM  
Blogger M@rla said...

Ha ha! k you have cracked me up. I am FAR TOO LAZY to indulge in something like exercise bulimia. It's just a beautiful dream... :-)

4:31 PM  

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