Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back in the Saddle - Vanessa

My ankle and I have been working through our issues. We’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, some long talks and a few good cries. I’m happy to report that we have made it through the wilderness! This Monday we hit the pavement and ran 19.5 glorious miles in the sunshine. Just in time to avoid the snow! There is, however, one major issue that keeps creeping up… HUNGER. My appetite just. won’t. quit.

I’d like to report that I’ve been fueling with pounds of pizza and pints of ice cream because it sounds like fun, but I’m a Dietitian and I know better. I’ve made the mistake of over-eating in the past and ended up gaining weight while training for races. Not this time, stomach! There are a few key strategies I’ve found to win the mental battle over a huge post-run appetite:

1) Eat before you run. Even if I’m tempted to wake up and hit the road first thing in the morning, I make sure to set the alarm an hour early to give myself time to chow down and digest. A small bowl of oatmeal with berries and a bit of peanut butter swirled in usually does the trick.

2) Refuel as you run. I’ve tried Gu packets, sports beans, snickers bars and crackers. Thankfully my tummy isn’t too sensitive and they all seem to work just fine. Anything is better than nothing, especially if you want to avoid hitting a wall at mile 17.

3) Put something in your belly when you get home. Whether it is a sports drink, chocolate milk or a snack. EAT. Most runners I know don’t feel like eating right when they finish, but you just have to do it.

Based on experience, if I follow these steps I can curb the monster appetite that comes from burning hundreds of calories and make some healthy choices along the way. Once I’m ready for an actual meal, I find it’s easier to choose something reasonable and stick to one burrito instead of 87 burritos. So far, my fueling plan is working out well… but that doesn’t mean I’m not already dreaming of a beautifully gluttonous post-run meal on Marathon Monday! Even a Dietitian has to live a little, right?

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