As runners people expect that we always eat planned and well balance meals… that our refrigerators are stocked with the freshest kale from the local whole foods grocer, or that our pantries look like they belong in a Trader Joe’s store. To some extent that is true. To put our bodies through distance events and recovery we need to eat the best that we can. The majority of our meals need to be balanced and filling to get us fueled up for the next run.
But there is a dark side to us that only few know. Something we don’t normally admit to those looking for our nutritional or training advice. A secret that if found out could ruin our reputation among those people who put us up on pedestals as divinities (too deep?). What I’m about to divulge may get me kicked out of the local Organic CSA, but I like you so I’ll take that risk.
Here I go….WE EAT JUNK FOOD.
(Insert dramatic pause here)
How many times have you heard of a race being sponsored by a local microbrewery or a BBQ restaurant? What about the allure of the deep dish pizza and cupcakes at the end of a long race? So, you think we run these events because we like them? Apparently you haven’t read all of our posts. Remember… running is stupid! If it weren’t for beer many of us wouldn’t even bother to show up at events. True statement.
But it’s not only at events we eat badly. Any random Tuesday night, kids’ basketball tournaments or vacations are all invitations to loosen the strings on our post-workout running pants and stuff into our mouths whatever high-caloric treat is put in front of us. This is just a small sampling of actual items eaten by members of Team Shenanigans over a two week period of time. And these are only the things we took pictures of!
Italian sausage with onions cooking in olive oil and garlic, beer, pizza, an ice cream sundae the size of your head (for one person!), some random Margarita concoction and a breakfast that would put most of us into a food coma. Although I didn’t get to partake in all of these delights, I’m presuming the people who posted these treats enjoyed every bite or sip without the fear of guilt.
Being a runner, like many things in life, is all about balance. We all work hard at training for our sport and shouldn’t feel bad about occasionally enjoying a piece of cake or a glass of wine (or two). The whole idea is make 90% of your lifestyle good, clean eating and consistent exercise and have fun for the other 10%.
Just remember that tomorrow you’ll probably need to get up before sunrise to pound out those 20 miles, so take it easy out there.