Since running cross country in college I've noticed a huge range of eating habits in runners. Let me run down a few of the classic types:
The "I-ran-10-miles-so-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want" runner. This runner looks like a healthy person from the outside, but do some blood tests and you're bound to find high cholesterol or something else you wouldn't expect in a runner. Rumor has it that Bill Rodgers was one of these, known to eat mayonnaise on pizza when not eating it straight from the jar. These runners are known to repeat the phrase, "if the furnace is hot enough, it'll burn anything." I'm closest to this type of runner when I'm on a long run and get really hungry--usually for a burger. Then, I eat a big, juicy, half pound of beef with cheese, mushrooms, and sometimes bacon.
The "I-know-the-GI-index-of-seven-kinds-of-grains" runner. This runner will let you know exactly what the quality of carbohydrate your eating is. They also won't be shy to point it out to you. They may also be on a whole food, lean protein, grass-fed organic beef and free range chicken diet. I'm closest to this kind of runner in that I try and get whole grain everything--pasta, rice, even waffles.
The "I-haven't-met-a-supplement-I haven't-tried" runner. Sore knees--try some glucosamine. Want to improve mood, circulation, and overall health? How 'bout fish oil? This runner's multivitamin could easily be missed in the pile of pills he takes each morning. I'll admit that I do take fish oil and have tried glucosamine on occasion.
Obviously many runners, like myself, will oscillate among these extremes, or, in extreme cases, even be somewhat normal and balanced with their nutritional choices. I'd say that I'm generally health conscious about my eating, especially now that I can't eat whatever I want and not gain any weight. In college I could eat a whole pizza and still stay at around 155 lbs. Now, not so much.
Speaking of healthy eating, I tried something new today--a Green Monster. I found this recipe over at The Runner's Plate--a great blog that makes me feel bad every time I stop at McDonald's.
I put my own twist on this recipe by adding some frozen mango chunks and using natural peanut butter instead of almond butter (I didn't have any almond butter). It was pretty good, though next time I think I'll go without the peanut butter.
Check it out:
Make sure to get the recipe at The Runner's Plate.