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Nutrition shmutrition and running musings

Posted Apr 04 2013 12:20am

I don’t even know where I was going with that title. I’m talking about my two favorite things in the world: food and running. My life must be really exciting if those are the two things I enjoy talking about most in any given day but I’m okay with it.

We all know by now how weird my own eating habits are so I’m in no place to judge anyone else’s. I don’t personally care if you like to eat like a 4-year-old like me or if you are a huge fan of steak tar tar (I don’t even know if that’s how you pronounce it but I’m just going with it) covered in a red wine sauce or however it’s served. We’ve all come to the agreement that every person is different and that’s that.

But yesterday I came across an article on Smart Brief that really interested me. I have mentioned before my argument against protein powders and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind because I know everyone is different. The article was titled “Don’t fall for myths about muscle”  and it sums up perfectly why I have always been told not to load up on protein.

Don’t get me wrong, growing up I wasn’t eating enough. I hated any kind of sandwich and my lunch of choice was a plain bagel with butter or pizza. My parents would make me pack cheese sticks with the bagels because I needed to get my protein in somehow. I hated most meat growing up too. I lived on carbs (or hamburgers, but we didn’t have them very often) and it was always a struggle for my parents to get protein into me.

0f2a97117dbe2b3a5337794e17a08b8f It wasn’t until I went to see my first doctor when I was told to gain weight that my mom brought up the protein powder debate. She asked if I should start drinking protein shakes to help me bulk up and my doctor told her no, I was better off drinking milkshakes.

really they wanted me to look like this

really they wanted me to look like this

This article opens with my thoughts exactly on the matter:

“Want to build muscle? Have a carrot. A sandwich will also do.

Then do pushups and squats – lots of them.”

Further along it reads this:

“Most people need about 60 to 80 grams of protein per day, an amount that’s easy to get without expensive supplements or protein powders. It’s also important to know that more isn’t better. Too much protein increases the workload for your kidneys and may increase the loss of calcium from your bones.”

We often forget that everything we eat has protein in it. Bagels, albeit high in carbs, have a lot of protein in them. That’s why I don’t go looking for outside sources of protein. That’s why my chocolate milk once (or twice) a day paired with a serving or two of meat a day gives me enough protein for muscle recovery.

Unknown I know this doesn’t work for everyone but it’s another perspective that is often forgotten and wanted to share that because really, as long as you’re eating a relatively balanced diet the macros don’t actually matter all that much. I keep a rough track of my daily calorie intake but I don’t even look at the protein, carbs, fats, etc. I’m getting because honestly? I don’t really care. I know that the foods I eat have all three of those things in them and beyond that, my body will take care of the rest.


Moving on to my second favorite topic in no particular order: running.

Yesterday I realized it has been a very long time since I really talked much at all about my running lately. I talked a bit about my injury and I’ve done a few half-assed race recaps but that’s the extent of it. I guess it’s because I feel like a lot of people aren’t interested in that sort of thing but if you are, let me know!

Anyways, at practice on Tuesday we did a speed workout and it was my first workout back in 3 weeks. The original plan was to run our 20 minute warmup followed by the actual workout: 3×1000, 2×800, 1×400 all at race pace (so 20:00 pace for me right now).

After the first 1000, it got really competitive because everyone seemed to have a need to beat each other. I had forgotten my watch so I had no idea if I was pacing properly and ended up trying to keep up with everyone else instead hoping someone knew what they were doing. The problem was, the 4 of us doing the workout had this need to outdo the others. I didn’t feel it on the first one but by the second one, I was working my tail off to not fall behind.


I hate competition. I’m an extremely competitive person but I hate how it makes me feel. Some people thrive on it, I tend to crack under the pressure and end up absolutely miserable afterwards. So for me, that first 1000 went okay but the second I sensed the tension going on around me, I unconsciously joined in, making everything worse.

Luckily, we had only done the 1000 repeats before the lacrosse team showed up and took over the track so we ended up doing a “tempo” turned regular 30 minute run (not a tempo, not an easy run) but I could still feel the anger and upset around me.

It made me think about some of the reasons why I stopped swimming. When it becomes unenjoyable, is it really worth it? Why do something you’re unhappy about? This has been a tough year for me with track. I haven’t been hitting the times I ran freshman year and I’m healthier and in better shape than I was then. The thing is, the mental barrier is what’s stopping me from getting there and a lot of it definitely has to do with this competitive environment which is hard to realize. I have come to the realization this year that while I did have a passion for swim racing, I don’t have a passion for the racing on the track And a large part of that has to do with the fact that I let the competitiveness get to me.


For me, I just enjoy the long run. I do like to race on the road and tend to do quite well in them but track meets are a whole different entity. I think that’s why I haven’t been as upset as I could be about my times this season. I run to run. I don’t run to race. I enjoy working hard at practice but I don’t want to let the competition wear me down anymore. It isn’t worth it for my health-physically or emotionally.


Just some food for thought for all you runners out there :)

Do you crack under competition?

Thoughts on protein powder?

What do you want to see more of on the blog?

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