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  • Writer's pictureJackie K

What runners need to do -and EAT - to get "back on track"

Did you overdo it with the cookies and treats this holiday season? 🥂🍫

Or maybe you have BIG goals and dreams for the new year, like a new PR or running a new distance -- and you know that eating better will help you accomplish those goals.

It can be tempting to clean out the cupboards, buy some new water bottles 💧and meal prep containers, and purchase a fancy meal plan to get your diet "back on track".

❌ Going to extremes is unsustainable.

Don't expect to NEVER be confronted with another cookie 🍪, NEVER be offered a glass of wine 🍷, NEVER resort to delivery for dinner 🍕 again. That's unlikely, and if you plan to never eat certain things again, then what will you do the first time this comes up? Or the 10th?

Plus, deprivation can actually. make you crave something MORE... so as soon as you say you are never going to eat French fries again 🍟, all you'll want is French fries.

❌ Going to extremes can slow your metabolism.

If you eat too little, especially too little to support your running and your workouts, you'll slow your metabolism... you'll fatigue easier, your running will slow, and you won't have the final kick.

❌ Going to extremes can cause your muscles to break down.

Again, this can happen if you eat too little. Your body is going to get the fuel it needs from somewhere, and often it takes it from the muscles first (not body fat like you might think!), especially if you're not eating enough protein or if your body thinks that it is starving.

Your body needs muscle strength to get you through your miles and your workouts, and you're not going to run faster or farther if you lose your muscles, so don't let this happen to you!

❌ Going to extremes can leave you irritable.

Eating is an emotional experience. Eating food we enjoy and that nourishes us makes us feel good. If you take away all the fun and enjoyment, your mental health can suffer. Plus, if you're constantly denying yourself foods, you'll end up feeling deprived.

Instead, get on track and stay on track with these tips.

✅ Work with a dietitian to set realistic expectations and hold yourself accountable.

I work with runners (like you!) who want to make sure that what they are eating works to their advantage to improve their performance or achieve their body composition goals. Who want to get rid of crash diets and do something that actually WORKS. Who want to figure out how to carb load properly 🥯, fuel during a marathon without running to the port-a-potty 💩, or figure out a post-run recovery snack that makes them feel energized. ⚡️

When I work with runners, I talk to them about their unique challenges, their lifestyle, their running, and how to use those to their advantage to achieve their goals. Nothing is cooke-cutter; it is a plan made for you! And I'm there along the way to make sure you don't fall off the wagon 🚙.

Schedule your runner's nutrition strategy session to find out how I can help you achieve all your goals.

✅ Anticipate challenges you'll face. 🏔

You can't plan for everything, but you can anticipate what could happen. After all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Common challenges include limited time to prepare meals and snacks, traveling or being on the road, celebrating (food is always a part of it!), or getting bored of what you've been eating lately.

✅ Plan to eat foods you like. 🧀

Again, if you end up depriving yourself of your favorite foods, you're much more likely to have cravings for them... and then overdoing it, beating yourself up, and not actually enjoying the experience.

Instead, if you make room for your favorite foods, you'll feel less deprived and actually be able to enjoy them more.

✅ Don't skip meals or food groups.

Skipping meals usually means you'll be over-hungry later and end up overeating or even binging. This may not happen the same day, but it tends to catch up with you sometime. Plan to eat a meal or snack every ~3-5 hours. 🕒 🥙

Skipping food groups means you'll be missing out on key nutrients that that food group provides. Carbs 🍞 provide energy - not just for running, but for everyday life. Your brain 🧠 runs on carbs! Protein foods build and repair muscles 🦾🦿. Fats not only provide energy, but they support immunity 🦠 and hormone health.

✅ Set SMART goals.

Remember - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Learn all about how to set goals that stick here.

✅ Have an outlet for your emotions.

For most of us runners, that will include running. But it can also include yoga, meditation 🧘, dancing 💃, time with friends or family 👯, hobbies 🧵🤺, journaling 📓, or anything else that makes you feel good.

Ready to take the next step, give up the extremes, and go after your dreams this running season? Schedule your runner's nutrition strategy session to find out how I can help you achieve all your goals.

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