Though I'm not currently training for a race in the near future, I have decided to extend my long run each week by one mile to see how far I can go. At this point, I'm at 16 miles for a long run which means that I'm burning about 2,100 calories on that type of distance.
What I find interesting is how much my psychology of eating changes when I'm "training" and doing longer runs. Prior to doing the heavier mileage (and simply doing about 17-20/week), I was much more conscious of what I was eating because I was concerned about gaining weight.
Weight is really a life-long struggle for me and I've resigned to that conclusion. And that's largely why I continue to run especially at the distances I do.
But, since the long distances have started, I find myself saying, "oh, I can grab that candy bar at the grocery store because I'll be working it off this weekend". Substitute any unhealthy thing (fries, pizza, cake, beer, etc.) for candy bar and you know what I mean. I'm consciously allowing myself to eat something bad because I feel I can work it off.
And I know that I'm not immune to weight gain, even during heavier training. Our bodies tend to take the weight off initially and then level off. It's not fair at all, but it is what it is. But I'm not always eating a lot because I'm hungry. I'm eating bad stuff because I know I can.
I guess I feel like I'm depriving myself of time on the couch by running so why also deprive myself of something that will taste good? Makes sense, right? Too bad my body doesn't agree.
I don't know that I have a solution for it other than trying to be more conscious about it and using logic, rather than my sweet tooth, to decide whether I should eat something.
Not an easy task for a former 40-inch waister.