Last week after I hit publish on RoaD #3, I started looking for a favorite nutrition book that I used several years ago by Nancy Clark. Instead, I stumbled across this book — Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald.
This is another book that I used some years ago, but not to its full extent. I remember glancing through and trying a few recipes, but thinking everything else in the book was so complicated that I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out. I also wasn’t to the point where I am now — frustrated and annoyed at any thought of fueling myself for runs.
So, I spent most of the rest of the day (and my free time the following) reading this book and learning about Fitzgerald’s philosophy. I learned a lot about macros (fats, proteins, carbs) and the importance of tracking those… as well as the essential breakdown for runners. It depends on how many hours you are working out, obviously, but a runner’s diet should predominantly be carbohydrates in order to fuel properly.
If you aren’t eating a lot of carbs, and focusing your diet more on proteins and fats, it can lead to a number of other issues — like overfatigue, slow recovery from hard workouts, increased chance of injury, etc. A lot of these issues aren’t necessarily related immediately to diet, but it makes sense. If your muscles don’t have the right “food” to recover, it isn’t a surprise that they won’t be able to and that it would impact your running.
Early last week, I tracked my food intake just to see what I was consuming. I evaluated my favorite avocado toast (delicious!) and a few other of my snack foods (nuts) that I ate only because it felt like they kept me full, keeping the hanger away.
What I found out? My eating was so effed up! One day, nearly 50% of my calories came from fat. The next? Too much protein.
Based on Fitzgerald’s recommendations, I am following a carb-heavy diet — approximately 65% coming from carbs, 15% from protein and 20% from fats. This is somewhat of a test, see how it goes, with the option to tweak at any point. What I was doing wasn’t working, so it doesn’t hurt to try something new… if it doesn’t work? I’m where I was before.
I broke out the Runner’s World Cookbook (already love a lot of recipes in here) to figure out what would make the most sense for breakfast — something heavy in carbs but with a balance or protein and fat. I ended up with the spicy quinoa recipe, which includes walnuts, craisins and apples. I ate it for the rest of the week. It’s SO filling, I can’t even eat a full serving! And surprisingly, it’s really good.
I also brought some bananas back into my diet — I used to eat these like crazy but slowly got away from them because they had too many calories.
And you know what happened last week? No hanger. I got hungry, but not to the point of “oh my gosh I cannot make it unless I have a calorie,” and having that change in feeling completely evolved my perception on food and when I needed to eat.
Which brings me to the next important thing that I learned: tracking calories. Instead of looking at food and thinking “wow, this has so many calories,” I have found myself (for the past four days) focusing more on the macros because if you are serving your macro needs, the calorie counts just fall into place.
It still amazes me that I am now training for my 19th marathon and I still haven’t figured all of this out. I know that while we lived in NYC, nutrition was the last thing I was focused on because all of the good food.
Do you eat a carb-heavy diet? What are your favorite sources of carbs?
Follow me on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Pinterest
Follow me on Facebook