Saturday, March 21, 2009

Psychology of eating while training

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.


ShirleyPerly said...

This is an area I'm working on now seriously for the first time ever. I'm not one who really enjoys eating much and am finding it a chore, but very important, to fuel myself for workouts. I'm struggling to figure out how many calories I burn. Online calcuators, my Garmin and HRM all give VERY different numbers. Say, for my 8-mile run yesterday, 700, 529 1030. How are you figuring how much you burn?

Sarah Blakeley said...

Oy i am such a food motivated runner... i let myself eat one bad thing for each long run completed...

Shirley~according to one of my running books each miles is 100 calories no matter how fast you run it... according to my triathlon book you burn more than that (i forgot my book at work so i'll get back to you with its theory)

i guess for me with Lotte lately its been much easier (the dr's feel she is allergic to gluten and diary) so try meal planning for a toddler with those issues! i find myself eating much better b/c its not fair to eat what she can't have in front of her...

Anonymous said...

i also lost a great deal of weight and what have learned to do to curb my cravings is to "treat" myself to a dessert at the end of the week. this is of course if i complete all my weekly routines and eat healthily and balanced all week. this keeps me in check and if during the week i find myself overtly crave crazy and am afraid i am close to binging, i give myself something to tide me over - for instance a scoop or two sorbet or an oatmeal cookie. i know it sounds lame but it really seems to work for me.