When it comes to eating, you would think that runners are a pretty healthy group. But as I was sitting with some running friends at Taco Bell at 2am last weekend after a night of drinking at a bar, it occurred to me that I didn’t know a lot of healthy-eating runners.
Most in my running circle have the attitude that they can eat whatever they want as long as they can run it off. Unfortunately, this is also the attitude of this average joggler.
We seem to have no problems following training schedules and putting in the work to train and finish a marathon, but following a diet…that’s too tough. I can’t even limit myself to 365 beers in a single year!
For me, there are a few factors that conspire to foil my “eating right” plans.
Food choices & availability
Lack of thought
Eating Healthy Is Not Easy
There are lots of articles about foods that are good to eat. For example, this article gives you 5 Foods that boost energy. You can find hundreds/thousands more articles about what foods you should eat. Unfortunately, these foods are usually fresh, easily spoil, require preparation and are otherwise inconvenient. You just can’t beat the ease of a granola bar, bowl of cereal, or a candy bar.
Eating Tip: Fruits & vegetables are an excellent good-for-you-and-easy-to-eat food. Apples, carrots, bananas, oranges, green beans, and berries require little to no preparation. Keep these in your house for snacking.
Eating Healthy is Expensive
There’s no doubt that cost per calorie for healthy food is higher. In the winter, fruits and vegetables are especially costly. But you can find good deals.
Eating Tip: Drink tea instead of soda or canned beverages. Green tea is healthier and still costs much less than other drinks.
Eating without Thinking
Another problem I have with healthy eating is that I just don’t think about it. When I’m hungry, I open my refrigerator and eat the first thing that looks good. I do follow the strategy of keeping mostly healthy things in the house, but not always. And eating random amounts of food at random times is probably not a great way to be healthy.
Eating Tip: Write down your food each day so you can see what you’re eating. Just thinking about writing it down will help stop your thoughtless eating.
Food with Friends
This is probably the hardest problem for me. Left to my own accord, I would probably eat more healthy. I would drink less alcohol and eat less. When I’m around other people, I’ll just eat and eat and eat. Plus, I just can’t resist free food which is usually what you get when you go to someone’s house. The holidays is an especially tough time.
Eating tip: Before going out, set a limit on how much you are going to eat and drink. Keeping track of your food helps immensely in this regard.
There are 2 great reasons for an aspiring joggler to eat better. First, people who eat better live longer. That ties in well with my plan to live to 107. Second, healthy eating leads to less weight which leads to a faster joggler.
What better reasons for eating better does anyone need?