Last week I had my first meeting with my new dietitian and she is amazing. She is certified with the International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition and she is also a marathon runner so I thought that she would be perfect for me and after sitting down at our first meeting I realized that she was more than perfect for me she is exactly what I am looking for in a dietitian.
It is no secret of mine that I have suffered from Eating Disorders in the past. Not just anorexia but also binge eating disorders. That is one thing that my dietitian picked up on right away. Sometimes that it is something that dietitians miss about me because I don't look withered away.
Along with wanting to create better eating habits for myself I also want to be able to fuel properly for my long runs. I tend to crash about 8 miles into my run and my runs get harder and harder after that point. I am training to qualify for Boston and this crashing that occurs to me is hindering my runs.
One thing that she explained to me in detail was the need for carbs in our bodies!! I have an irrational fear of carbs I think they make me fat! However, yes they can make you fat but anything that is overeaten can make you fat.
Our brain – just our brains – require 130g of glucose a day to function when we don’t get enough of this our bodies go into what is called control fatigue. This hinders our decision making – reaching for the cookie instead of the apple – our concentration and our moods.
Glucose from carbs just doesn't go to our brains it also goes to our muscles creating muscle glycogen. If we are low in muscle glycogen it will have a negative effect on the quality of the workout – ever wonder why one day you can pump out 20 reps of push-ups and one day only do 6? Yeah you are lacking muscle glycogen – it also has a negative effect on our running. I know I have had days where my legs feel heavy, like lead heavy well this is because the body is going into principal fatigue from not having enough glycogen.
You often hear people talking about their breakfast helping them through their run. I always thought that if I had a decent supper and a good breakfast it would get me through my run, but I was wrong! It takes your body 20 – 24 hours to make muscle glycogen, so what you are eating 20 – 24 hours before your run is what will get your body through those long distances. Don't get me wrong, you still need a carb fueled breakfast but you also need a good lunch and supper the day before.
I decided to take what my dietitian is saying to heart. I mean I am paying her enough I should listen. I had a nice carb, protein, nutrient dense lunch and supper and the next day I didn't head out for a run until 11am. It had been 22 hours since I had my lunch and well I had my BEST run EVER!!
I ran a 1:34:43 half marathon, my best half yet. Was my body hurting through my run, obviously I was running an average 7’17”/mile, did I feel awesome, not really I was hurting on my run but was it my fastest, that it was!! It was the fastest long run I had run EVER.
Now I am learning to eat a proper amount of carbs and I am learning to eat a proper amount of food. I have been eating around 1,500 – 1,700 calories and my dietitian said that isn't enough for me because that is 1,500 – 1,700 not including what I burn off exercising and we determined this weekend that at rest I burn 2,300 calories so eating 1,500 – 1,700 isn't even enough to fuel me at rest. Now I am focusing on getting my calories to the 2,300 point with healthy food and making sure I have enough carbs to fuel me through my workouts.
She gave me a chart of what carbs, nutrient dense food, and protein I should be eating with each of my meals and my goal is to follow this from now until my Marathon, she said if I follow this I should see weight come off, muscle gained and I should see my runs get faster. Two of my mail goals are to run a sub 6 marathon by next year and have abs before the summer, and she feels that both of these goals are do-able.
I believe that any serious athlete should hire a dietitian even if it is just for a few session, athletic needs are different from the average person and what works for me isn't necessarily going to work for you.