Foodie Friday — eating like a marathoner (my way)

I thought I’d bring ‘Foodie Friday’ back this week — but in a different format. I’ve been learning a TON about myself so far during marathon training and one of those learnings revolves around food. Now, I’m not gonna lie — some of you might be surprised by what I’ve learned, and I’ll stick a giant caveat on this post — this is just what has been working for me. It may not work for you. But one thing I’ve definitely learned while training is that every body is different! TRUTH!

But back to the point here – the things I’ve learned while eating like a marathoner (my way).

By now you all know — I’m a big-time fan of food logging. I picked it up during the barre n9ne challenge last May and have been a faithful logger ever since. I stick to the same number of calories every day, regardless of what my workout plans may be. Yes — even on long run days. With the exception of the fuel I take during the long runs (which I’ll get to in a minute!), my calorie number stays exactly the same.

And so far? That is totally working for me. I haven’t needed to eat anything more than my body has been needing, calorie-wise, before I started marathon training. However, I will say this: if I get to the point in training where I am faced with hungry horrors and my body truly needs more calories, believe me — I’ll eat an extra snack or mini-meal to satisfy my body’s needs. I’m not in this thing to deprive myself, that’s for sure. I love food way too much for that *and* I know it’ll just have the oppositie effect that I’m looking for. Fuel, fuel, fuel!

What I have noticed? My body craves, craves, craves….protein. Not carbs so much (‘cept for the night prior to a long run…mmmm pizza!), but protein. It’s the one thing that keeps my body feeling energized and truly fueled. I am finding myself gravitating towards proteins in a big, big way lately.

Some examples of what that might look like:

  • egg salad on a flatout wrap — huuuuuuge fan of these lately.
  • chicken salad on a flatout wrap – newfound love affair sparked just this week (picture below…which you’ve seen if you follow me on instagram!)

  • (basically any protein source stuffed into a wrap and I’m a happy camper)
  • cottage cheese (or plain Fage 0% yogurt) with fruit, HEALTHY BITES!, a laughing cow wedge spread on a sliced apple, peanut butter on an english muffin — heavy rotation snacks going on up in here

  • one thing that hasn’t changed; post-run recovery meal: OATMEAL!! Except for last weekend, I went with protein pancakes (see, there’s the protein fix again!) because I had fresh blueberries which just screamed PANCAKES. OMG it was heaven on a plate:

Another oddity — and one I wasn’t expecting — on long run days, I’m not nearly as hungry as I am the day after the long run. My body actually tends to feel less hunger after a long run. I’m still eating appropriately on long run days but I totally expected to want to eat my face off after 15 miles! Instead, it’s the day after — sorta like DOMS that always hurt way worse the second day? Hungry horrors tend to settle in the next day for me. I guess my body takes awhile to catch up to all those miles run. ha. ;-)

A final biggie — this one is all about what I’ve learned fueling during my runs. And I KNOW this will sound crazy to any of you who run longer distances, I clearly am in the vast minority here when I say this. But my body tends to run better on less fuel and less water.  I simply cannot take much of anything in my stomach before a long run (we’re talking maybe a couple of crackers or a half a banana while zipping out the door). And during the run — the most I’ve taken for fuel so far has been 5 honey stingers and 3 gummi bears (Scott is loving the fact that he can eat gummi’s as fuel!). Water — Scott and I share an 10 or 22 oz  water bottle (depending on the length of the run). Yes, we share. I can’t stand running with the handheld, but Scott doesn’t mind it (what a guy!). Again — I KNOW that’s not very much water but it’s all my tummy can take. Any sloshing or heavy stomach feelings, and the run goes all downhill for me. Really fast.

So I feel like I’m baring my soul to you guys here but seriously, this is my quirky-but-it-works-for-me approach to eating like a marathoner. The bottom line: I eat as many fueling foods as I can get my hands on, I’ve been limiting alcohol during the week (sad face lol) and hydrating like whoa.

Running, of any physical activity, is suuuuuch a personal journey, it truly is. And this is one journey that I am loving, quirks and all. ;-) A HUGE thank you in advance for sticking by me throughout this ride so far, I know I am blabbing a LOT about marathoning, I promise not all of my posts will be about it for the next few months. I’ll try, anyway. ;-)

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38 thoughts on “Foodie Friday — eating like a marathoner (my way)

    • Protein is where its AT for me now more than ever. I mean, before I was always into protein for staying power but now? It’s in OVERDRIVE like whoa. I <3 healthy bites!

  1. This is perfect sis, because it is what works for you. What works for you might not work for the next person and what works for them may not work for you. And that’s ok. It’s sort of like your training, you built your own based on pulling from other plans and advice and made it work for you. I wouldn’t expect anything less! Smart! fuel pre and post and a little less during and you are having great runs and feeling great. That means it works! for you!

    • Thanks sis, your support is just the best, seriously. And to your point — that’s been my #1 goal throughout, to make this my own AND to have fun while doing it. So far, check and check! :)

  2. When it comes to fueling for long distances, I think everyone is different and you have to find what works for you!

    On a different note, do you order those water bottles for your barre n9ne classes? Because my company sells them and others… (Sorry, couldn’t help myself, but if they ever need to order more!)

    • Exactly — I think that’s one of the most personal aspects of training for longer distances, truly.

      And LOL re: the water bottles — I’m not sure what company they go through but I can ask!

    • haha aww you were thinking ’bout little ‘ol me? you are so cute!
      And YES, this is all about the learning curve and truly figuring out what works for me — this is such a new but such a NEAT experience!!

  3. It works for you and I am sure it works great for others too! No two bodies/training are alike. But I like your style.

    I just started food logging a few weeks ago and it’s crazy how quickly you identify triggers, etc. And you learn to eat when you are truly hungry – like with training. Right after a hard workout I’ll have way less appetite but come morning we’re in trouble.

    Great healthy fuel!

    • Isn’t the food logging thing an insane eye opener? It not only helped me figure out triggers but it truly, TRULY got me to that intuitive eating phase I’m rolling into now and really getting in tune with what my body is asking for (or not, as the case may be). It’s been an amazing tool, truly.

  4. I am so with you on craving the protein after long runs. Don’t get me wrong, I’d wolf down a pizza no problem, but my body recovers better the sooner I get in electrolytes and protein. There is actually a recovery drink that has both and I found a gel that has protein too not just the electrolytes. You know I still think more water would help….but that’s just big sister-friend being concerned ;-)

    • LOL “wolf down pizza” made me giggle. WITH YOU!!

      Protein is my bff these days, seriously.

      AND I really REALLY adore you and your ‘big sister-friend’ advice, what would I do without you my dear? xoxo

  5. I’mmmmm baaaaack! ;)

    I’m with you on the pre-run eating, Jess. I eat a half a banana and drink a cup of water and that’s it. I carry a 16oz bottle with me that contains some Nuun, and that’s it. What I discovered during this race was that pre-race energy (Gu, whatever) works better for me than during the race. I didn’t feel any of it kick in while I was running. Otherwise, I’m running on empty. That sounds terrible, but it’s true…and I hate the stomach issues that arise when I do eat more before a run.

    Post-race/run, I’m all about the protein. However, I’m not hungry usually. The day of the race, I had a chocolate milk and half a banana afterward and didn’t eat for about 6 hours after the run. I couldn’t. I wasn’t hungry, didn’t feel the need to eat, but when dinner came around, I got my fix with German food. Terrible for you, but oh so good. ;)

    I think it’s awesome that you know what your body needs. You stick to something that works for you, and that’s what matters. We’re not all made the same, so why eat the same? As for the cals, I see it this way: you might have the same # of cals on long run days as rest days, but guess what? It balances itself out. It’s a bit confusing and way too technical to come up with a number for rest days, a number for short run days, and a number for long run days. As long as you’re happy, healthy, and balanced, that’s all that matters.

    • ohhhh boy do I love your novel length blog comments!!!! You are the best.

      It’s really good to know that I’m not alone in the pre-run eats and also the fueling. Some people need a TON of fuel during a run or a race (and also pre-run) but for me, it has the opposite effect: instead of energizing me, it bogs me down BIG time. So I avoid that bogged down/heavy feeling with a more minimalist style of fueling and it’s working so far. Y’know the saying — if it ain’t broke? ;-)

  6. I’m with you – long runs or big cardio of any kind, I cannot have much to eat before… but that DOES make me hungry after!! :) and I totally justify gummis as fuel.

    • It’s surprisingly a TON of fun figuring all of this stuff out. Who knew I’d actually enjoy this part of training as much as I am?? (and um hi, I LOVE that I finally found someone who fuels even LESS than I do!!)

  7. My fueling for runs and eating to recover has changed over the years and I am glad you were able to find something that works immediately because most people take a few training cycles to find that. Fueling is my weakness and always has been during racing and I know will only become harder as I dive into triathlons.

    • So far, the quasi-minimalist fueling style has worked…I’m not so sure what’ll happen when I hit 18 miles and longer but I guess I’ll find that out soon enough huh??

  8. I ran my first 17 today, and I’m like you. I’m not hungry the day of the long run. It’s always the day after. Seems like on the days that I run long, I have to force myself to eat the rest of the day.

    • Oh WOW, good for you on the 17 miler, that’s a huge milestone!!
      And YES – on long run days, I’m usually in that camp too – almost needing to force myself to eat vs. wanting to eat. It’s the weirdest thing, huh?

  9. So interesting. I just remember being hangry all.the.time during marathon training. I could not eat enough food! I do remember not being as hungry after doing my long run but the day after. It’s kind of neat figuring out what works for you – like putting pieces of a puzzle together.

    • it’s such a puzzle, you are totally right!! I’m sure I’ve totally jinxed myself by saying I haven’t had hungry horrors too badly lately but really, so far, so good (knock on wood!!) — who knew?!

  10. I find this really interesting! Not at all boring :-P. I’ve been wanting more protein the more I train too, and I guess it makes sense – muscles are working overtime for us! I’m interested in finding out how your fuelling goes as your distances get even longer. I’m a bit like you in not really fuelling as I run, but I suspect that will change as the mileage amps up.

    • This is true – muscles ARE working hard so more protein totally makes a ton of sense huh?

      Good luck with your fueling…that’s been an interesting one for me for sure.

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