My "Rules" for Intuitive Eating as a Runner

Since I started intuitive eating back in April, I’ve had some “rules” (more like guidelines) for my eating habits. These help me focus on my athletic performance and remind me what helps me feel best throughout the day. I thought it would be interesting to share these with all of you since I’m sure many of you have found these things also help you perform better!

Start the day with water

The first thing I drink in the morning is not coffee (but that comes as a quick second drink). Instead, the first thing I drink is two glasses of water! Besides the fact that hot coffee isn’t the greatest thing to take vitamins with, drinking two glasses of water helps me get a dent in my 100+ oz water goal each day.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years so it’s become second nature to pour myself a glass, drink and refill while I’m making breakfast each morning. Now it throws me off when I travel and don’t have my water to drink right away!

Treats

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This is one thing I’m still struggling with, finding the balance between having treats and not feeling guilty. I normally do pretty good since I use my post-workout smoothie/protein cake as my treat for the day (by adding in peanut butter, coconut flakes or chocolate chips). But where I'm still struggling is with treats in the office and the mental aspect of eating things that when I was counting macros, I “couldn’t” eat because it didn’t fit in.

So now I’m working on not feeling guilty if I have some but not having so much that I don’t eat the more nutritionally dense foods I’ve brought in.

Pre-workout

I recently did a whole post about what I eat before I workout and why. It really comes down to how hard I’m working out, what kind of workout I’m doing and when it is. But I feel like it’s taken a lot of trial and error (plus moving into intuitive eating) to make me aware of what fuels my performances the best.

Post-workout

I used to be on the “I must have a ton of protein after every workout” bandwagon. But now I’m feeling that, when it comes to my workouts and my body, that it’s more important for me to get carbs in after a run than anything else. If I’ve had an easy run day, I might not even eat right away because my body didn’t burn that many calories.

I still do try to get in a balanced snack/meal (depending on what kind of workout I’ve done and what time of day it is) within 60-90 minutes of working out. But that normally ends up being my usual dinner or lunch time anyways because of when I’m working out. So I usually end up either cooking a meal (and having a protein treat later) or having a more calorie dense smoothie or smoothie bowl for my meal (aka adding in the peanut butter or coconut flakes in).

Vegetables

Vegetables used to be the hardest thing for me to get in. I love vegetables but i just never made much of an effort to actually eat them. So when I started intuitive eating, I made one of my goals to increase the amount of vegetables I was eating in a day. And now I find myself reaching for vegetables to add in more than anything else (that’s not peanut butter...sorry not sorry). At a minimum, I have one serving at lunch, dinner and any protein smoothies I’m having and my morning oatmeal usually has a fruit or vegetable in it.

Alcohol

This is the one thing I’ve keep a pretty consistent guideline from my macro counting days into my intuitive eating days is keeping the majority of my drinking to after my long run and only having one or two drinks. I just don't’ feel at my best when I do a hard workout the day after having a couple of drinks and I don’t sleep as great when I do have a drink. Of course, this guideline was also partially because i had more room for the “empty” calories of alcohol but the way drinking makes me feel while working out is still the same. Plus, a nice glass of beer or wine taste extra nice after a long run!




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What Do I Eat Before Workouts?

It took me a while to figure out that I should be eating something before I work out (unless I’m doing an early morning run) and the a little bit longer for me to figure out what works best. Today I’m sharing what foods work best for me in different situations and why I think they work for me.

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Runs After Work: Fruit

This is my typical pre-run food when I’m running after work (at about 4 p.m.). It’s the perfect way to get in some fast digesting carbs in about 45 minutes before my run to make sure I’m not going to be feeling weak or lethargic before or right after my run. My go-to fruit is usually a banana or apple since they are easy to throw into my purse and I can buy enough for a week at a time without worrying about them going bad.

One thing I found didn’t work pre-run was having some Greek yogurt with my fruit. That made my stomach feel upset pre-run and I’ve ended up cutting out eating dairy on a regular basis since it generally doesn’t agree with my body.

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Cross Training Days: Bars

For my cross training days, I like to eat a little bit bigger snack than just a piece of fruit because I tend to work out for longer (and later) so I need more fuel to make it through my workout. Bars are the easiest thing I’ve found that give me more calories (adding in some fat and protein instead of only carbs like my pre-run snack) to keep me full for longer.

Some sort of bar fulfills this while (again) being easy to throw in my purse. Currently, I’ve been on a Larabar kick (I might have bought three boxes of their fall/winter limited edition flavors) but  RXBars offer a similar nutritional profile and have worked well for me.

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Weekend Runs: Oatmeal

If you’ve spent any time around this blog, you’ll probably realize that I love oatmeal so much. It’s my go-to breakfast every morning and works really well as a pre-run meal on the weekends. I usually eat about 2-2.5 hours before my weekend runs and oatmeal gives me the perfect mixture of carbs, fats and proteins to be fueled for a longer run (right now between 5-10 miles, sometimes a pace run) without it being too heavy in my stomach.

5 a.m. Runs: Nothing!

I’m not doing 5 a.m. runs anymore since it’s dark and cold during the fall mornings but when I was during the summer, I didn’t eat anything before heading out the door. I did drink a glass of water but otherwise there wasn’t anything in my stomach. I wasn’t doing long runs on these days (only 3-4 miles) so I was fine waiting to get home to eat. Plus, I didn’t want to get up any earlier than I already was to eat something and let it digest before my runs.




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October Faves

Another month is almost gone and it went crazy fast! Probably because I was on my honeymoon for half the month but still. So, here are some of my favorite things from October.

Honeymoon Travels

Of course, there’s way too much that happened on our honeymoon to put down in one little post. So look out for a couple of recap posts coming up with what we did, ate and how I balanced vacation and being healthy. But Mike and I had tons of fun on our honeymoon and it was awesome to get out somewhere by ourselves. Plus, I bought yarn that the colorway is Unicorn Farts. What could be better?

Cheesecake Oatmeal

This is another thing that will have a full post coming soon but I have discovered how to mimic cheesecake in my breakfast oatmeal and it is so good! I love sweets for breakfast and this is like having dessert for breakfast (but healthier). Plus, it means more volume in the morning!

Strength Training

Now that I’m between marathon training cycles, I’ve upped my strength training days from one to three. And I am loving it! It’s mainly because it’s a change from my normal running routine but it’s also fun to see how much strength I have. I already feel like this new routine is making positive changes to my body (along with dropping calories to try and lose that extra marathon weight).

What are your faves from October?

Oatmeal Runner Tries...Gu (Part II)

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Back at the end of April, I wrote my first post about trying Gu. Since then, I’ve continued to use Gu and have bought some new flavors. Last time I wrote about Gu, I was only trying the fruiter flavors but I recently bought some of their more indulgent flavors at Run ‘n Fun’s St. Paul location. I’ve had five new flavors so I thought I’d talk a little about them and how I felt eating something I associate with dessert on the run.

The flavors I’ve tried recently are:

  • Salted Caramel

  • Caramel Macchiato

  • Peanut Butter

  • Campfire S’mores

  • Chocolate Outrage

Overall, I was really impressed by how all of these tasted. Just like the flavors I tried in the first post, they taste just like they were supposed to take. I think my favorite of the five indulgent flavors I tried taste-wise were Chocolate Outrage and Campfire S’mores. Seriously, Chocolate Outrage was exactly like chocolate frosting and amazing to eat on the run. On the same note, I got a taste of all the parts of a s’more in the Campfire S’mores.

The one flavor I didn’t really enjoy was Caramel Macchiato. The caramel flavor was really good but the espresso flavor in it was really overpowering and really wasn’t appetizing for me on the run. Which doesn’t bode well for me trying the Espresso Love Gu I have still to try. But, for not knowing if I’d even like these flavors on the run, really enjoying four out of five is pretty awesome.

Have you tried some of the more indulgent Gu flavors?