I miss brownies...

One of the things that has defined my training over the past year has been adding the "little things" to my training. One of those things has been nutrition.

About 2 months before Grandma's, I decided I also needed to make changes to my diet. I have always been a heavier (more dense?) runner, and I especially notice it at the elite start line. Previously, I didn't really watch what I ate - as long as the scale told me I was being consistent, I was happy. That meant that I got away with a LOT of junk food. Seriously. Frozen pizza and other quick "out of the freezer, into the oven" foods were common for supper. [I try to be cost-conscious at the grocery store, and it's fairly easy to find packaged, no-nutrients food for next to nothing when you combine a sale with a double coupon :)]

So, my husband and I talked and decided that we were going to try to eat more fresh foods, even though that meant we’d likely be spending a bit more on food.

First trip to the store: I bought lettuce and chicken & we made chicken Caesar salad. I was so proud of myself. Until Nate commented that the lettuce was iceberg, which has almost no nutrients in it, and the chicken was frozen and has a lot more sodium than fresh meat. Hmm... that had never occurred to me.

I am a horrible snacker. I justified it by telling myself that I had run 80+ miles – of course I can have an open box of cereal to snack on at night when I was catching up on emails at night. Before I’d know it, half of the box was gone L. I’d also eat handfuls of chocolate chips and other assorted packaged stuff from the cupboard. That box of brownies I made yesterday? They’d be gone by the next evening.

I knew I needed to cut all of this out & replace it with healthier calories. So, the plan was to have a lighter supper & stop all night-time snacking – goal was to go to bed hungry so that I’d crave a huge breakfast (which is generally all healthy foods). To help, we instituted a “give me a dollar” jar. If I did snack, I had to put a dollar into Nate’s jar [which he told me he was going to buy Mike & Ikes with, and they weren’t even going to be on sale :) - I never buy anything not on sale!]. The first couple of weeks sucked. I MISSED all of those junk calories! I HATE going to bed hungry! But, I am proud to say that I was stubborn enough not to put a single dollar in that jar the entire time :).

I saw immediate results on the scale. Within 2 months, I had lost nearly 7 pounds & felt GREAT. Running came much easier – either because of the weight lost, the fact my body was running off of better calories, or the fact that it was also the time I was tapering. Either way, I am now a huge believer in managing weight (in a healthy way) & putting healthy, nutrient-dense foods into my body.

So – in my quest to give myself every possible advantage possible to race well at the Trials, I am trying to be just a little better with food. This will likely mean targeting an even lower racing weight and trying to make even better food choices (because even though I did pretty well before Grandma’s, I can definitely do better). Luckily, I have the very generous help from “Just Food” in Northfield, an organic/local/sustainable grocery store.

I am super excited about the opportunity to buy organic and fill our fridge with veggies, fruits, and all of the completely healthy choices they have there. Not going to lie, I’m a little intimidated by it (going through the veggie section I recognized a whopping 2 or 3 names – what do you make with most of this??). I don’t really know how to cook with many of these things, and I certainly don’t know how to make quick snacks or meals with them. So – should be a fun adventure! I’m sure there will be some fun stories/learning in the coming months :).

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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