I've got a special Thursday update for readers today: both nutrition and sock stuff:
This question of "how healthy" a runner eats is somewhat similar to "how minimalistic" the stride of an individual runner is (note: this is taking into account my personal view that mid/forefoot running is easier on the joints, and better in the long run, many can/will dispute this).
Now a days, eating as much "good fuel" as possible enables the highest performances in races. This is in quotations because "good fuel" is relative to an individual runner. Some basic guidelines are that this fuel is
a) Easy to digest
b) Readily available
c) Performs well
d) Packs in calories
How healthy a food is, is a relative term for your goals. On most traditional "healthiness" scales, Quinoa is way up there: low fat, good source of protein, no sugar/clean carbs, high fiber, and naturally contains vitamins and minerals. If non-runner friends ask what to do to lose weight, I say "eat vegetables, red quinoa, lean chicken breast, and work out. Lean protein=lean muscles, the fiber in quinoa will keep you full, and the nutritional content of the diet is great." However, if another friend was a competitive high mileage runner, I'd say "eat whatever works for you to allow you to run well." So, I practice what I preach, and that's what I do.
Much like how a larger heal on a shoe is naturally easier to use to run down hills, a diet lower in fiber and "healthy" foods is easier to run on. High fiber cleans out the gut, lowers cholesterol, but also puts a high strain on the digestive system passing through much slower than foods without fiber. This is not to say fiber is bad, just that runners training hard have personal min and max limits, and when the max is exceeded, training is well.. hard to stomach.
-Getting carbs down in the simplest form: syrup soaked pancakes
Quinoa is packed with fiber, and to access its wonderful blend of clean carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals, you have to be comfortable with handling its large amount of fiber. So, personally, I only eat Quinoa/Cous Couse a little bit. Personally, I don't have an appetite for high fiber; I prefer other good carbs, proteins, and plant based fats (animal saturated fats can be hard to run on). So, that's what I eat:
Trader Joe's Organic White Corn Tortillas - make excellent wraps
TJ's Mango Chicken Sausage - easy to prepare and delicious
Organic Chicken Breast
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - for most cooking
TJ's Hummus - delicious source of protein, carbs, and a little fiber
TJ's Naan - delicious source of carbs
Simpler Times Lager - delicious source of carbs after a long run
De Cecco Pasta - the good stuff
Cucumber - settles the stomach in an instant
Baby Spinach - good source of iron
Tuna - good source of mercury? Just another convenient protein
Instant Oatmeal - Instant, fuity, creamy
Eggs - more protein, and omelets are delicious
Chipotle - They double tortillas, rice, beans, salsa for free, just ask!
On the run:
Krogger fruit snacks - cheap half-sugar, half carb alternative to shot blocs (16cents/100calories vs. $1.10/100calories)
Black Forest fruit blasts - same, but delicious and cheap alternative to gel blasts
Odwalla protein smoothie - non-dairy protein with delicious fruit to go do smooth
Salt Stick - Everything you need in a electrolyte, no need for coconut water
GU and Cliff Shott Gels - Maltodextrin fueled dreams, low sugar, high carb
Cola Gel Blasts from Power Bar - Caffeine in a pinch
So, in summary, everyone has personal favorites; but the most important thing to remember is to eat for fuel and perfomance. If you fly on more fiber or simple carbs or protein or fat, go for it. But remember to take anyone else's personal recommendations and experience with a grain of salt; experiment on your own, and keep trying different things to reach that next level.
Similar to my views on food, use what works for you, but try to follow a few good guidelines:
1) Dry feet are happy feet
2) Fit is important
3) Toe freedom is important
With that in mind, I bring you my thoughts on the new Feetures Elite Anatomical sock. This sock pretty much rocks, and covers my 3 guidelines pretty well. I've used Drymax and Injinjii (and those socks are great and meet my objectives in different ways), but right now I really like these Feetures Elite.
Socks in the past few years have had anatomical cushioning: special left and right socks with cushioning in special places; but they have somewhat ignored the true nature of the motion of the food. During a runner's stride, the foot is subjected to compressive, tensile, and tensional forces (push, pull, and twist).
The arch stretches and twists while the heel and forefoot compress. The toes splay out allowing shock absorption and giving the foot agility and traction. Compression on the arch helps to keep a sock in place and compress the muscles and tendons to perform better. However too much compression in the toebox causes blisters to form as the toe want to splay and move individually while being pushed together.
This brings us to why I like the feetures anatomical design. The material is thin and very breathable (super awesome soft, combed dry polyester). Then the application is spot on. The arch wraps under and around using surprisingly firm material. Then, from the outer edge of the foot into the toebox, a super stretchy polyester allows for natural toe flex and movement. It's the best of both worlds in my opinion, and my favorite sock right now. Check your running stores for them later in the spring.
Mon: 9mi, 200ft, :63 Good Costa Mesa Roads
Tues: 7mi, 700ft, :61 Easy Newport Road/Trail
5mi, 1100ft, :51 Boat Canyon
Wed: 6mi, 800ft, :51 Crystal Cove
5mi, 600ft, :47 Crystal Cove, Ridge Park
Thurs: 9mi, 1700ft, :86 Crystal Cove
5mi, 100ft, :42 Costa Mesa Roads
Fri: 7mi, 0ft, :62, Newport beach-Huntington
Sat: Snowboard in the AM at Mt. Baldy with P-Dubs, 7mi, 1300ft :65 snowy fire road afternoon with pdubs
Evening: 12mi, 1700ft, 1:46 Los Liones – achey, tired, fun run
Sun: 23mi, 4300ft, 3:34 Monrovia with Sean O’Brien. Ran into Thomas Crawford, excited to hopefully train and race with him at Old Goats 50mi, and Angeles Crest 100mi
Total: 94mi, 12,700ft
A lot less climbing than last week, but my body seemed to be pretty tired on Sunday. Old Goats 50 mi/12,000ft climbing in 2 weeks will be a good race..
Perenial Rock Gods, The Foo Fighters - Rope