Sunday, May 29, 2011

Food and Running, What Else is There!?

So, my 7 miles didn't exactly work out today. I got up, nervous and excited to try. I had my usual bowl of cereal, which is a blend of granola, dried fruit and varying types of whicker furniture with soy milk. I followed it up with a 1/2 serving of vanilla protein powder mixed into more protein powder. I sewed a few doggie bandanas so the pups will be festive when we are in MA next week for my birthday and my sister-in-law's medical school graduation. I knew I needed more digestion time, so I laid down (propped on my wedge of course, to keep heartburn at bay) and picked up 'Performance Nutrition for Runners', which I have been enjoying, but reading straight through.

I checked out the section on optimal body weight, since I have, em, gained 30 pounds since getting married in the winter of 2008. It talked about how runners restricting calories is not a good thing, and the best way to get to your optimal body composition is to eat as if you are already at that point. Hmmm....  Here is how he explains it:

        'By reducing your daily caloric intake just a little, you will -as long as you're exercising consistently - begin to slowly lose the fat (and only the fat) until you reach your ideal body composition. At this point, your body fat percentage will level off without you having to make any further adjustments to your diet... This approach is very different from that of most popular diets, on which a person eats less than is required to support his or her ideal body composition to achieve rapid weight loss - with the drawbacks of constant hunger, muscle loss, and for runners, compromised workout performance. Unlike dieting, eating for a very slight caloric deficit minimizes hunger and self-denieal. ensures that you have enough energy to run well, and promotes fat loss over muscle loss... 
         Although there's no formula to determine your optimal body composition, for the purpose of the following example, we'll pretend there is. Suppose that, to reach your optimal body composition, you would need to weigh 150 pounds. As a runner you would need to eat about 2,550 calories a day to sustain this body composition. This is the amount of energy you should consume regardless of your actual weight. But let's say your current weight is 175 pounds. If this is the case, you are probably consuming roughly 2,700 calories per day. So all you need to do to optimize your body composition is trim 150 calories per day from your diet.

That just makes such sense to me! Of course when I'm feeling stressed or angry or really happy then the logic of it all can easily go out the window - or drowned in beer and a burger. But still, to think about sticking around 1750 calories is more manageable, especially when I think about running 3 days per week and doing a class or two per week. It is critical to always eat back the calories you burn during exercise! Here is a good article from SparkPeople that talks about different measures of body composition. I want to do this the right way. I get frustrated sometimes, when I feel bloated or eat too much or my favorite clothes sit unworn on my closet shelf, but still what I want are healthy, lasting habits.

Now, back to the 7 miles... The other day I had a bit of hip pain, but I stretched and felt fine. It was about 30 minutes into my run that I felt the pain in the outer part of my left hip/thigh area, and about 40 minutes in that I felt a bit of pain on the right, inside part of the same knee. I gave it another 13 minutes before calling it to go stretch, to keep from injuring myself for real.

I checked it out online, and my best guess is that I have aggravated my ITB - or iliotibial band. I need more leg strengthening exercises and quad stretched. This site, NISMAT (Nicholas Institue of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma), has good, introductory information.

It feels good to have gone 3.48 miles and then stopped when it hurt. Pushing myself is one thing, but injuring myself is completely different. I'll take it easy, ice the area, stretch a lot and try to do more runs this week that are all shorter.

What are you doing for the Holiday weekend? How will you honor and remember the veterans and the victims of Joplin, Missouri? I don't know what to do, except to keep them in my mind and have a low-key weekend.


  1. I will be studying for the Bar all day tomorrow, just like I have been doing all weekend so far. Wish I had more exciting plans, but I figure this too shall pass and then I will be on to bigger and better things!

  2. wicker furniture is my favorite kind of cereal haha. I like the article on the caloric intake. I'm trying to do the same- balance out my calories so I can trim the fat down while I run. It's hard but once you get your body into a routine, it becomes easier.

    I find that when I'm getting off track (maybe doing some emotional eating, etc) if I keep a daily track of what I'm eating for a few days, it helps me get back in order.

    Also, something that helped me with my ITB pain was stretching it out before and after my run. I used to do regular leg and quad stretches before I ran, but never thought to stretch out my ITB as well. Now I do, and it totally helps.

  3. Thanks CupCake! Do you find the stretches on that article are what you are doing, or are there others? I use My Food Diary, which is a food diary. It helps, but only as much as I use it.... ;)

    Jenna, enjoy it while it lasts! Part of me, the really weird part, misses grad school!

  4. I am currently suffering from ITB syndrom as well. I find the best remedy is to foam roll the area before and after runs, and usually at night as well. It still seems to hurt once I get a good distance and especially when hills are involved.

    I found this article recently about knee issues, it was interesting:

    Good luck with your training.


  5. Thanks Lee! Enjoy my husband and my pups tomorrow night!