Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Marathon Training Update from Dr. Brandon Larkin; Hungry? Donut Musings for your #WorkoutWednesday

Solve for x: 17 Miles = x Donuts

Anyone who trains for a distance race with a group knows there are some weird conversations that occur.  (Thank goodness, because they serve as fuel for my musings in this space.)  Invariably, the subject of food always comes up.  A new restaurant here, a guilty junk food pleasure there.  A lot of times, especially as the minutes and miles click by, the subject of the post run meal comes up.

I’d love to tell you my chosen provisions reflect my healthy runner lifestyle.  You know, high protein Greek yogurt and kale and such.  But as mile 5 becomes 10 and on to 15, the thought of kale just doesn’t seem to push me along as much as that of a juicy glazed jelly donut.  And a chocolate custard filled donut.  And maybe just a bite of the old-fashioned.

So I hammer the donuts after a long run.  And its okay, right?  Because I just ran 17 miles, for goodness sake.  And while the sticky sweet raspberry artificially sweetened jelly drips down my chin on late Saturday morning, you know what question never comes up that I tend to ask myself almost every other day of the week?

“Why don’t I lose any weight while I’m in training?”

Never enters my mind after a long run.  But presented as it is here with next to the shame of my weekly donut intoxication, it doesn’t take a nutritionist to come up with the answer. 

Let me tell you a secret. Throwing 2000 calories down the hatch takes a lot less effort than the 15 miles it takes to burn 2000 calories.  Especially because the brain’s ability to perform the mental math of calories in vs. calories burned goes dark all weekend after a long run. 

Donuts? Yep, I ran a long way today.  Pizza for lunch (and afternoon snack)? I earned it! A few beers?  Yes, please!

I make decisions about my diet on Saturdays that I would never make on the other days of the week.  But something about that long run makes me crazy.  And all the caloric benefit of the effort and sweat I left on the course for three hours that morning, of all the achy groans when I get out of a chair the rest of the day, all of it goes for naught.

Admittedly, I don’t run to lose weight.  At least not primarily.  But I wouldn’t mind getting a little leaner as a reward for all of the miles I’m putting on the tires.

So here’s the lesson:  “GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF, MAN!”

Or put another way; continue to make the wise choices you make during the week, even though you feel like you could destroy a dozen Krispy Kremes when you walk in the door after your long run. 

The same rules apply.  Portion control.  Eat slowly.  Avoid food as a reward.

When my mind’s right, I try to use a strategy of taking a portion half the size of what I think I want.  Then reassess.  If I want more, fine.  But slow and steady, buddy.  Otherwise it’s like Kobayashi at Coney Island on the Fourth of July.

Balance is key.  You can have a donut.  Heck, you can maybe have two.  But it’s probably not the best choice to use “I ran this morning” as justification for feeding every craving the rest of the day.  If you do, you’ll be packing on more pounds that will have to be carried across that finish line on race day.

Everything in moderation, right? Which is hard for us.  We’re distance runners.  Nothing moderate about that. 

So everything in moderation, except for distance running.

And donuts.  I’m pretty sure donuts get an exception.

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