I wrote a post about caloric debt and it’s effect on better racing times (Caloric Debt, 2011). I should have followed that post with my thoughts about caloric consumption during training since it relates to weight, efficiency, and performance. The belief “I can eat whatever I like because I’m a runner” is not only false, but unhealthy. The average person burns about 100-105 calories per mile ran (based on a slow pace). A lighter person burns about 93-99 calories. Of course, the faster you run the more calories are burned. Also, the more you weigh increases the amount of calories you burn. What does this mean? This means you don’t need to eat that double-double with fries and shake after a long run! While it may taste good and feed your hunger cravings it’s adding to a positive caloric balance. If you’re looking to lose some pounds or maintain a good racing weight that 1,760 calories you just ate just sabotaged your plans. Of course, if you ran 17+ miles then your In-N-Out meal was justified. Keep in mind we also consume gels and other calorie dense snacks on our long runs which lessens post run caloric needs. In short, keep post-run meals and snacks calorie sensible if your mileage is on the lower end. Do the math and don’t go overboard with ingesting too many calories for what your body really needs. It’s about replacement and not storage. Unless you’re going back-to-back long mileage sessions, there’s no need to “load up.” As always, aim for whole food alternatives and remember to drink water to help in energy conversion and to aid in filling you up during meals.
It’s cold outside and we’ve all put in some hard runs . Time to treat yourself to some hearty indulgencies! I’m a big believer in feeding our cravings, in moderation, of course. It’s when we suppress cravings that we tend to fall off the wagon hard! As runners we generally have a healthy diet which allows for some deviation. Nothing to feel guilty about. Below are a couple of things I cooked that I enjoyed making as much as eating. Bon a petit!
Bacon Mushroom Mac ‘n Cheese
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
6-8 slices of bacon cut into small pieces
8 oz. mushrooms – sliced
half of a small onion – chopped
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
8 oz. (uncooked) elbow macaroni
3/4 stick of butter
2 cups panko
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cook bacon until lightly browned then add onions, pinch rosemary, and pinch thyme. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are wilted down in size. Drain excess fat and set aside.
Boil enough water to fully submerge pasta. Salt water and cook pasta as directed on the box. Drain when cooked.
While pasta is boiling melt butter in medium pot along with olive oil. Add flour and mix throughly. Cook for a couple of minutes to make sure the gritty flour taste is cooked away. Add milk and stir until thickened. Add more milk if roux is too thick. Add cheeses then salt and pepper to taste. Turn off burner then fold in mushroom and bacon mixture.
In a large glass bowl or pot combine pasta with cheese mixture. Grease casserole baking pan and add macaroni.
For topping melt butter and mix in bread crumbs and cheese.
Chocolate Cherry Pecan Bread
2 cups milk
1 stick butter
1 package yeast
1/4 + 1/4 sugar
5 + 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Egg Wash Mixture
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar for dusting
Note: I don’t have a mixer so I did everything by hand. If you have a mixer…good for you!
Warm milk to the touch. Too hot and it’ll kill the yeast. Combine warm milk, yeast, 1/4 sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for a minute. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl and mix into milk mixture. Add 4 cups of flour, salt, 1/4 sugar, and melted butter. Mix until dough comes off the side of the bowl. If it’s too wet continue to add more flour (up to 1 cup more) to get the right consistency. Better for the dough to be slightly wet than dry. Use a fold and roll technique when kneading. Don’t over work the dough. Grease a large pan and place dough to proof for an 1.5 hours. (Use the extra 1/2 cup of flour to dust dough, hands, and work surface).
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
After initial rise, press dough down. Mix together nuts, cherries, and chocolate in a bowl. Flour tabletop and work in dry ingredients. Knead in nuts mixture a little at a time. Form dough into a ball when all ingredients are mixed in. Roll out into a log the length of the baking pan you’ll be using.
Place into baking pan and let set covered with a kitchen towel for at least 30 mins. and not more than an hour. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and place in oven for about an hour or when top is golden brown.
I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy junk food. I love Mexican food and indulge in some McDonald’s dollar menu items. I also love beer! Those things are convenient and inexpensive. I can see how someone who is constantly busy and can’t cook can live off of junk food.
I noticed that I was sliding my way into becoming one of THOSE people so I made it a point to at least have a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner. I mostly run in the afternoon and since I can’t stomach too much food pre-run, lunch would be optional.
For breakfast I mostly eat oatmeal or granola with some kind of fresh juice. I try all sorts of juice/vegetable combinations. So far my favorites are: carrot and apple; cucumber, apple, and lemon; and carrot and beets. I feel that the grains and juice fill me up enough but doesn’t make me feel stuffed. Pre-run I usually eat a banana with some kind of sugar drink (Tang or Gatorade) and this is enough to get me through an hour of running. Anything more than an hour and I take a Clif Shot every half an hour.
Dinner prep for me is time consuming because I like to cook whole foods. An example of whole food cooking is when I cook beans. I use dried beans and make my own broth to cook them in. Most of the dishes I’ve been cooking have been mostly vegetarian. I guess I’m preparing for my move to Indianapolis and my vegetarian girlfriend:-) I’ve chosen to cook mostly stews and soups because these type of foods store easily and can last a few days. Good for popping in the microwave for a quick snack – I LOVE to snack! Below are a couple of recipes.
It’s hard to say my diet has helped in my running because I’ve had some pretty challenging runs that were the result of a combination of bad weather and poor hydration. There hasn’t been a consistency in those things to gauge the improvement of my running since being more mindful of what I’ve been putting in my body. If anything, I feel better knowing I’ve eaten something healthy. Yes, I still sneak in some King Taco, McD’s, sliders, and fried junk – just not as much.
Southwestern Black-eyed Peas Salad
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 large bell pepper
1/2 white onion
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
Soak dried peas in at least 3 cups of cold water for one hour. Boil 6 cups of water. Before adding peas into boiling water, rinse with fresh water 4 times. Boil for one hour or until beans are tender, but not mushy. Take off of heat and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Set aside.
Cube cucumber and bell pepper. Chop onion, green onion, and cilantro.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients before adding vinaigrette.
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and honey. Mix into the salad mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Again, measurements are estimates. Lightly saute onions and garlic in one teaspoon of olive oil until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, spinach, basil, and oregano. Cook until spinach are wilted down. Add tomato, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until tomato is heated through. Take off heat and set aside in a plate. Using the same pan scramble eggs in one teaspoon of olive oil. Flip when the egg is somewhat firm, but not completely cooked through. After turning over add vegetable mixture and fold egg over in half. Add cheese if you like (support Oregon dairy farmers and use Tillamook sharp cheddar).