Last week, I read an article in the WSJ called Why Runners Can’t Eat Whatever They Want.
Total clickbait, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker and clicked right through. I’ve been thinking about the relationship between running, food and weight loss/maintenance lately, so it was a timely read for me.
I really like to eat (and, let’s be real, drink wine), so long distance running really appealed to me. I started my whole weight-loss adventure on kind of Paleo-lite, and started training for my first marathon shortly thereafter. While I NEVER counted calories, I went from being fairly strict with my diet to “okay, I can eat mostly healthy but can have a lot more carbs.”
I tried to stay away from obviously unhealthy foods like fried food and really rich and creamy food—and mostly white foods—but anything else, so long as it didn’t upset my jerk of a stomach was basically fine by me.
This is also around the time I stopped blogging about all of my meals. (Which, thank god on that.)
Like I said, I’ve never counted calories, so I never thought: I run 6 miles a day, I can eat 600 calories of ___. But I definitely loosely correlated: I’m running a lot, I can eat more. And it basically worked. I mostly maintained my weight. Any weight gain has been during periods of less running.
But Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director (whom I met in October!), was recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease and a study in Missouri Medicine showed men who ran at least one marathon a year, for 25 years, had higher incidences of coronary disease than those who hadn’t. Amby Burfoot, editor-at-large of RW, also found out he had high coronary calcium, a condition probably similar to McGillivray’s.
My sensitive stomach is usually pretty self-regulating with my diet – I feel awful if I have really rich food, so I usually stay away from it – but I try not to go too crazy post-race.
So while I think we all know deep down that no matter how much you run, you can’t outrun the negative effects of a poor diet, it’s still pretty easy to convince yourself you can, and I think all runners are probably guilty of this sometimes.
What about you? Do you feel running gives you a pass on what you eat sometimes? …and what’s your favorite post-race treat?