One of the more critical ways in which I maintain my passion for running is to keep my body strong and satisfied. There are three tenets: healthy nutrition, proper hydration, and good equipment.
Today, I will focus on nutrition because, frankly, I do love to eat. Anything goes, too. I have a major weakness for any kind of cheese, nuts, chocolate, desserts, pasta, and sauces, particularly the gourmet, creamy, fat-laden ones. I love to eat out, too, which means extra fat, sodium, and cholesterol, all of which I try to keep to a minimum when I cook at home but indulge in elsewhere.It would not be too much of a stretch to say that I have a passion for food.
My passion for food is dependent on my passion for running for one obvious reason: I can only eat the way I do because I run. I can’t imagine returning to my previous weight or losing my size 5 jeans. I worked too hard to get where I am.So, yes, I run to eat, as pathetic as that sounds.
Over the years of learning how to eat healthy, I have lost a taste for many things that I used to love, like fried food, bread, and soda. When I do eat these things, they tend to make me nauseous and leave me unsatisfied, or at least a bit guilty. They also inhibit my initiative, making me lazy and lethargic. Lazy and lethargic do not support running. It’s a little hard to get out there to run~~especially if it is too cold, too hot, drizzling~~if I can’t get up off the couch or out of my bed.
Everyone has their own food habits. The first part of healthy nutrition is to know and/or learn what foods are healthy and why. That is relatively easy. There are many choices out there to learn this. One of my favorites is Grains & More . My friend, Mira Dessy, has a knack for all things healthy. She keeps it exciting and challenging. Check out her blog for great advice and information, too!. After that, it is up to each person to determine which healthy foods she likes and can eat regularly and which she doesn’t really like but can eat occasionally, just for the nutritional value.
Over many years of practice, I have learned to like things like oatmeal, muesli, yogurt, multi-grain bread, dried fruit, and raw green vegetables of every variety. Not that I didn’t like these things before. Only that these types of food were never at the top of my list. Now, they are and because of it I have more energy, better body function (if you know what I mean), and lower cholesterol.
In other words, my body is satisfied.
Furthermore, make a friend of healthy protein. It is critical in building muscles after a workout and can help one slim down. For helpful hints on proper nutrition for runners, check out Runners World for advice and good tips on everything about running.
Another critical element of nutrition is a good multi-vitamin supplement. The reason: no matter how good your diet is, you will never get appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals from food alone. I use and recommend Shaklee Vitalizer.
The final element is to know when to eat. As with everything else, this is different for everyone. I eat a small snack ~ yogurt and muesli, or oatmeal, or a bowl of Cheerios ~ about an hour before I run. I drink an electrolyte mix (also by Shaklee) while I run. I drink a protein shake (a Shaklee product) within 30 minutes after I run. For the rest of the day, I keep my portions small but frequent.
If I neglect any of the above parts of my healthy nutrition, my body lets me know.
If you can spend some quality time with your food choices, your body will return the favor by staying energized and strong to maintain your passion for running.
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