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Eating on High Mileage

A lot of people question how I eat enough to withstand 100 mile weeks.  It couldn’t be possible to ever gain weight while running 100 mile weeks and you couldn’t possibly eat enough to withstand that activity…ect. 

First and foremost, I only ran 100 mile week.  I didn’t run 52 but rather just 1.  That was my peak week and most of my other weeks were between 60-80.  Most not all.  As much as I want to credit myself to running multiple 100 mile weeks, I know I would just get injured running several in a row.  (or more then 1).

I’ve rambled about this a few times but blogging nutrition and real life nutrition is not the same thing.  I feel bad for certified dieticians and nutritionists that also blog.  They get mixed in with other bloggers whose research involves personal research and study which is not the same as being certified.  Point blank: it’s not.  I’ve taken plenty of nutrition classes but don’t know nearly enough as someone who has studied and has their undergraduate, masters, or even PhD.  I can tell you what has worked for me but that is no way telling what will work for you or that is right or wrong.

The majority of healthy living blogs focus on getting enough vegetables, fiber and more vegetables into their diet.  If I ate half the amount of vegetables that some people do, I would be able to run 1 mile…maybe 2 with deciding it was time to go home.

When you run high mileage and exercise you must learn that you have to eat a lot of foods that aren’t high in fiber.  You must eat food that is still healthy but you can’t eat 3000 calories worth of broccoli.  You also can’t eat 3000 calories worth of ice cream.  Both will result in you not feeling great for a run.

A typical day for me looks something like this right now:

Breakfast: 400-500 calories

Coffee+cream (100-200 calories…my vice).

Some of my breakfast choices lately have been: Bagel and peanut butter, egg sandwich, eggs and toast, waffle with Greek yogurt or peanut butter.

A standard waffle with peanut butter and yogurt has been my go to before races right now and I think I’ll stay to that before the marathon (as well as a bagel with peanut butter while waiting around beforehand).  My standard race day nutrition used to be a bagel with peanut butter and yogurt but I had stomach cramps a few races back and it was enough to change my mind.

Raspberry pancakes make me happy

Raspberry pancakes make me happy

Bagel+peanut butter+yogurt also make me happy

Bagel+peanut butter+yogurt also make me happy

 

French toast bagels are my favorite (panera or wegmans FYI)

French toast bagels are my favorite (panera or wegmans FYI)

Run

Lunch (within an hour of running) 500-800 calories

I’ve been having a lot egg sandwiches lately.  Eggs, avocado and cheddar cheese on a bagel.  I really just have whatever is in the fridge.  It could be a sandwich, soup or salad.  I don’t have a standard post run meal or lunch. I normally just like to eat what is in the fridge.

Sometimes I’ll go to the gym in between, sometimes I won’t.   (now that I’m tapering, I don’t).

egg and ham sandwich

egg and ham sandwich

lentil soup (this cold has got me craving it)

lentil soup (this cold has got me craving it)

Soup with parm cheese so good

Soup with parm cheese so good

Random salad I attempted to make restaurant worthy...they never are as to why I try and eat salads at restaurants more.

Random salad I attempted to make restaurant worthy…they never are as to why I try and eat salads at restaurants more.

 

Snack: 200-300 calories

I consume a lot of yogurt

I consume a lot of yogurt

No really...

No really…’

Baked apples are good (especially in the cold)

Baked apples are good (especially in the cold)

I also eat bars on the go...snickers marathon bars are really good

I also eat bars on the go…snickers marathon bars are really good

I normally have a snack sometime in the middle of the day.   I’ve been enjoying apples and peanut butter lately but that is only because apples have been so cheap at stores.   I also have left overs if they are in the fridge.

Dinner: 800-1200

As if anything else is planned, my dinner is the least planned and changes daily.  I am such a meat and potatoes kind of person.  I’ll have a serving of meat (steak and fish being my favorite), some sort of vegetables (cooked kale, brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash are my current favorites) and some sort of grain.  I’ve been better about eating a carbohydrate such as bread or race.  I’m actually not a big pasta fan (I don’t like the consistency) so I tend to eat more rice and bread.

steak and potatoes

steak and potatoes

ham and potatoes (and apples)

ham and potatoes (and apples)

Sweet Potato+Salmon+mushrooms (I'm so different)

Sweet Potato+Salmon+mushrooms (I’m so different)

I normally like to make a smoothie at night with a cup of milk and protein powder.  I have a big sweet tooth so often times I’ll just have ice cream.  I don’t really schedule a treat at night but if I’m craving something I’ll have something.   Whatever I’m craving I generally have at night.  I go to bed around 9-10 personally.

ice cream

ice cream

ice cream, cherries and whip cream

ice cream, cherries and whip cream

Protein shake

Protein shake

hot cocoa and whip cream

hot cocoa and whip cream

—–

I know this is very vague but it’s how I eat.  I don’t worry or stress about food or getting my vegetables daily.  As much as I say I want to meal plan, I don’t. If I eat too many vegetables then I don’t feel good running.  I don’t know how people eat so many vegetables (honestly).  I do strive to get vegetables but not overboard.  I try and get enough protein, carbohydrates and fat but I don’t track it and it doesn’t ruin my day.  I found the less I stress about food the easier it is.  I’ve never had a problem getting enough food and have never lost weight during a training cycle.

I will say I’m hoping to do a carbohydrate deplete and then carb load during my final week of taper.

Questions for you:

What does a typical day for you look like?

Do you plan your food weekly or eat when you are hungry? 

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39 responses

  1. I think you’re doing a good job of fueling your body for what it needs with all the mileage you rack in!
    Since I’m trying to lose weight (to no avail…) I am very dedicated to meal planning. But its not working so somethings gotta give eventually!

  2. I work at Panera so most days I come home smelling like bagels LOL. Those french toast bagels are really big sellers at work! Have you tried the new pumpkin pie one?
    As for my typical meals, I eat three meals and three snacks a day. It’s just what works with my hunger and activity level. I don’t plan out my meals or anything like that but I usually get hungry around the same times everyday and then just end up eating then. My snacks are pretty much the size of some people’s meals so I don’t know if you can really call them snacks….but oh well! I like to eat, we need to eat, so that’s what I do. 🙂

    Just curious, what does carb depletion and then carb loading before a marathon help with? I understand the carb loading, I’ve just never heard of carb depletion and how it helps.

      • How much additional glycogen can you get into your muscles via carb depletion? From my reading I understand your muscles can only hold 1-2% of their weight in glycogen. If you cannot get beyond that, why over eat?
        I’m also debating the value of carbo loading. You liver uses it’s carbs while you sleep to power your body, about 100 cals per hour. So you need to re-load in the AM anyway. Once your liver and muscles are maxed out on carbs, the rest of the calories you loaded up on go to fat.
        I’m no expert, so I’m probably missing something.

      • When you deplete your muscles of carbs the few days before you open that storage up. If you eat “normally” then eat or overeat in carbohydrates you don’t get the full benefits. Plus just simply overeating on carbs could make you feel more bloated. At least I did with swimming ha ha. 🙂

      • But how much extra storage? It’s my understanding that it is impossible to make your muscles hold much more than 2% of their weight in glycogen.
        Are there studies that show you can push this to 3% or more?
        I know your not a PhD in this. I’m sure you can tell I’m not either. But I’ve been curious about this for a while. If there are physical limits to super reglyconization what’s the point of eating 4,000 calories the night before a race?

      • To my understanding, there isn’t a point to eating 4000 calories before a race. The excess calories won’t help you.

        What I’ve read says to get 70-80% of calories from carbohydrates for three days before. You will have optimal storage before but not have excess (and pointless) carb loading the night before.

  3. Typical breakfast is a cup of oats w/ almond milk and a piece of fruit. Typical lunch is a PBJ sandwich or 1 1/2 cups pasta sometimes w/ meat. Often have a yogurt for my lunchtime dessert. I have a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack.
    For dinner I always eat way more than a 4oz serving of protein, usually 8oz or more. Lots of rice or potatoes and glass of almond milk. I try to wait for dessert instead of having it right after supper. I’m a sucker for sweets like cookies or ice cream.
    Often before I go to bed I’ll have 3-4 peanutbutter on crackers. Seems to help me sleep.
    I don’t plan the week. I usually make left overs into my lunches. I don’t waist food.
    I usually run 25-30 miles per week and hit the gym 2-3 days per week.

  4. Wow I love this post! I’ve been struggling with this and this just helps me. I’m so paranoid of gaining my weight back. I run basically 150-175 miles per month. And I’m worried about gaing weight. LOL

    Breakfast: 3 cups rice puff cereal with banana.
    Snack: 2 cups popcorn, grapes,

    Lunch: 2 cups Greek yogurt with strawberries and 1/4 cup granola 3 apples.

    Dinner varies from day to day.

    My vice is chocolate and peanut butter. I eat a lot of that. Basically I think I do not eat enough but I am so paranoid .

  5. Hurrah for simplicity! Love this post so much. Finally a normal person eating normal food 😉 With my job in an office I have to plan my lunch and snacks, and I tend to plan dinners for the week for my hubby and me but there’s always room for movement if things don’t pan out. I tend to get stuck in food ruts but I like what I eat and I eat what I like! 😀

  6. I’ve always really appreciated your relaxed approach to training and nutrition. As someone who used to be completely obsessed with meal planning and macro-tracking, I can’t help but cringe whenever I come across a blogger who meticulously plans and tracks every little detail of their lives. In my experience, the less I fuss, the better off I am… so nope! No planning here — I just go with the flow.

  7. I love that you dinged veggies. I never understand the people/bloggers who tout the overly excited VEGETABLE meals. I would surely shart myself if I ate so much fiber. Especially leading up to heavy mileage runs. Like I need more reasons to run the bathroom! *enough weirdo talk now*

    I also love the giant piles of whipcream shown in this post. MMMMMMM.

  8. Honestly, I think 90% of the time people don’t realize that they’re eating a lot, so then turn to you going ‘omg what MORE do you have to eat’. Answer is really not much more, 2000 cals (for me, based on active but trying to lose a bit) adds up really damn fast!!

    My breakfasts are always typical: porridge with apple and banana and occasionally clementine, latte. Lunch could vary, I try to be healthy, today I had a baked potato with ratatouille. Dinner again varies. Yesterday I had pizza with a friend, the day before I had chicken with mozarella, salad and small amount of sweet potato. Pretty varied. i also enjoy chocolate and really need to snack more in the afternoon to avoid eating EVERYTHING at dinner. Any healthy snack suggests?

    We don’t really plan, we should- its cheaper!

  9. Oh I hear you on vegetables. I genuinely LOVE them. But ugh my poor stomach. When it comes to fueling – I know well enough by now what to eat and how it will effect training. Do I always do it? No some times I am dumb and eat things I know I will pay for (sigh cheese), but sometimes you just need to enjoy and indulge 🙂
    Typical for me: (I usually run before breakfast and use GenUCAN as fuel)
    B: oatmeal or pancakes + banana or apple + ALL THE COFFEE
    L: Turkey on whole wheat + small salad
    S: Greek yogurt or some sort of bar clif bar seasonals are favs now
    D: lots of protein + carb (squash is the love of the moment)
    S: Greek yogurt and PB usually (I tend to eat more at night – works best for early morning workouts for me)

  10. I remember one night in college where I bought a bag of broccoli and a tub of hummus in a side attempt to call it “dinner”. (I’m not lazy or anything) Needless to say, my run the next morning included me running to the bathroom at the rec. SO embarrassing. I never ate a lot of raw vegetables at once… EVER again. I don’t know how people do it either. My stomach does not like a lot of raw veggies at once. I wish I could eat more when I’m hungry and not plan things out, but disordered eating left me with a messed up way of looking at food. Boo!

    Your yogurt collection looks like my peanut butter collection lol

  11. i’m laughing over some comments, you get it. But for real, I think the whole not caring about what I eat is what has made running that much easier and better for me. analyzing everything sounds boring and painful

  12. I eat what makes my belly happy and as of late that includes lots of eggs, veggies, and sweet potatoes for breakfast… strange sure but hella good. Lunch is always a hunk of meat and veggies (salad or as is) and dinner is the same, more meat, more veggies, some times some sweet potatoes. I’ve been housing apples lately, so cheap and fricken awesomeeee. Baked apples are a great snack too! Cinnamon and butter… mmm

  13. I’m a big planner when it comes to my meals and workouts and I always like to eat a ton of veggies but that’s because I prefer to eat volume. I know I can eat a lot more veggies than I can meat for the same amount of calories. That said, I do love my carbs and could eat 10 sweet potatoes a day if given the opportunity 😉 I think as long as you find what works best for you, that’s really all that matters! There’s certainly no one-plan-fits-all when it comes to diet.

  14. Big YES to the French toast bagels from Weggies. I used to get those all the time during freshman and sophomore year of college–so good! Lately, I’ve been eating a ton of apples, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter. Not all together, though. 😉 Like a few others said, what’s most important is figuring out what works for you, your body, and your training.

  15. ‘ It couldn’t be possible to ever gain weight while running 100 mile weeks and you couldn’t possibly eat enough to withstand that activity’

    Hahahaha, oh dear. I am dying with laughter. Whoever said that really needs to see a film of my running/eating life from 2010-2012. 100 miles a week, almost every week, and I gained 40 odd lbs. Why? Possibly because I ran so much, got injured, and had periods of binge eating, but out of those two years I think there were perhaps ten days of bingeing, and the other days I was eating what the calorie calculators told me I ‘should’ be able to eat. Um, no. PCOS hormonal imbalance = gaining weight on very few calories. It sucks. But even ‘normal’ people can maintain or gain weight through high mileage training. It’s surprisingly easy to eat back the calories one burns and more, particularly if you’re not loading up on some voodoo kale, brussel sprout, kale a chia seed concoction for breakfast (you know I love my voodoo foods, but in some cases the things bloggers put together make me want to throw up).

    The amounts of fibre most bloggers eat are so ridiculous that they just won’t be able to get the nutrients they should from what they’re eating due to the stuff…ahem, moving through them so quickly. I do eat a fair amount of veggies, but very rarely any cruciferous (spelling….) veggies and not in vast quantities any more. I destroyed my digestive system eating like all the thin bloggers I wanted to be, and it’s never going to be the same again. Bluntly, I would fart all day and shit myself if I tried to run if I ate the way most bloggers do, and I can’t believe they don’t live on Immodium and stink to high heaven.

    I think you seem to have a great balance of foods, and your head screwed on right when it comes to running/nutrition 🙂

  16. I’m glad you posted this because so many running bloggers have crazy diets with all kinds of food and calorie/fat/carb etc. counting that I could never do in real life. I don’t like to count calories but I do like to just be aware of what I am eating… but if I’m hungry I eat. I know that I eat more calories than an average female my age/height/weight is “supposed” to but the few times I have tried to stay within that range I am constantly famished and just cannot function properly.

  17. I never watched what I ate. I know what will make me feel good and what will mKe me feel awful when running. I just started using my fitness pal to track for protein purposes (I know I don’t get enough) and realized I eat way too much sugar so far (go figure) so it’s interesting but I don’t plan to change the way I eat specifically besides striving to get enough carbs and protein.

    • I think it’s important to know your own body and that certain foods will keep the calories up but won’t make you feel that great. Like could we get away with eating pints on pints of ice cream, sure but we probably wouldn’t feel great running.

  18. I understand that those are you typical days but for carb depletion, it will be significantly different for you (maybe except for dinner?) no? What would you have for breafkast for lunch? Perhaps everything except for the bread part (e.g eggs and cheese, etc.)?

  19. Ugh sometimes I wish I could meal plan like all the fancy food bloggers out there! But I’m a terrible cook plus it just seems strange to me to decide on Sunday what you’re going to be eating on Friday?! I just eat whatever’s around! Cereal, oatmeal or bagel for breakfast. Fruit, salad, protein shake, sandwich, and/or snack bar for lunch. Dinner is anybody’s guess. Usually big on the protein for that meal – burger, seafood, veggie/salad and always some dessert!

  20. Love the post Holz and that you’re keeping it real and doing awesome! I’ve been eating a lot more and trying to gain muscle. I’ve found eating is so crucial to performance, and you’e got to include some “fun” food in there to stay sane. I’ve been loving me some ice cream lately… and I hit a max on my squats tonight, while still hitting my running times! I’ll have to sacrifice one of those at some point at night.
    Glad to read about your healthy relationship with food and it makes me smile–keep inspiring me and others!

  21. Keeping it real as always m’dear and it is much appreciated! I like hearing this side of things, rather than just eating enough protein, fiber…. that is always is said on blogs! Good information, I suppose, but it’s a bit nauseated to say the least. There are few bloggers who run and train like you do, so again, thanks for this info, it’s interesting to read!

  22. All of your eats look so delicious! (esp the ice cream) I don’t plan meals each day, but will make a big batch of stew or sausage/peppers/potatoes and then have other options during the week. That way I don’t get bored, and when it is 5pm and Im hungry, I have healthy options

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