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  • Writer's pictureJessica Jones

Healthy(ier) Eating. Better Running.

Updated: Jun 10, 2018

I talked earlier about the problems with trying to define “healthy” eating (Nutrition Matters). For now, I’m talking about going sugar-free. Well, free from added sugar. Sort of. Since Monday, I’ve focused on not eating foods with refined, added sugars. What does that mean? I’ve been reading a lot of food labels. Avoiding added sugar is easy. Make sure the ingredient list doesn’t have sugar. Or brown sugar. Or high fructose corn syrup. Defining refined sugars can be a bit trickier. For now, I’ve decided to allow three types of sweeteners (sugars) in my diet: honey, agave, and cane syrup/sugar. All other forms of added sugar, I avoid. Natural sugars are fine. Good, even. To clarify, I’m excluding run nutrition from this equation. For example, yesterday, I had Gatorade and two GUs during my run. Those products are essentially nothing but refined sugar. But, that’s what the body needs while running. Easy, accessible energy.

When I did this in the not-so-distant past, my goal was to have no more than 20% of my daily calories come from foods with refined, added sugars. This time my goal was 0. No calories from added sugars. At least Monday thru Saturday. I decided if I did that, I’d earn a “cheat day” on Sunday. If and when you read about nutrition in general, or for athletes specifically, you can find mixed reviews about a cheat day. Many think it is just an opportunity to ruin all of the hard work and focus from the previous 6 (or however many) days. I understand that point. But, I think it depends on what your intent is and what you mean by a “cheat” day. It can’t be a free-for-all if you do it routinely. Maybe if it’s a once a month or less. However I’ve defined my “healthy” diet in the past, I’ve relied on a cheat day to get me through. Mentally. It’s easier to skip the chocolate (my biggest weakness) when I can tell myself that I’ll have it in a few days. The key to a successful cheat day, if you’re doing them weekly, is to keep the calories in check. Eat what I want, but still me mindful of how much. Don’t destroy all the week’s efforts. Previously, when I did the 20% thing, I didn’t do a cheat day. My “cheat” was built into that daily 20% allowance. I think that’s why I had difficulty sticking with it. 20% a day slid to 30%. Or more.

So, how do I feel? Five days with essentially no added sugar. I did have one bowl of Raisin Bran. Yes, the raisins are sugar-coated. And, some lunchmeat. Really?!? Sugar in deli meat. It was a label I didn’t check until after I ate it. Who’d have thought? Anyway, whether it’s the decreased sugar or just getting used to the heat and humidity, runs this week gradually became less of a struggle. I’m feeling more like my old self. I’m interested to see how the cheat day today affects it. Maybe it won’t work because I’ll essentially have to go through another sugar detox starting tomorrow. But, my cheat day hasn’t been a sugar overload. Pizza. Yes, there is sugar in the dough. Coke. I love a cold Coke after a hot run. And, some caramel M&Ms. Will I pay for it tomorrow? We shall see.

Training Log May 28- June 3, 2018: Planned, 70 miles. 68.1 miles for the week.

Paces: BF = by feel; E (easy) = 8:08-8:36; R = 9:09 or slower; HS = hill sprints (8-10sec); PU = pick up (gradual increase in pace)

Monday – planned: 8R + strength (lower)

OFF. Not feeling well, so opted for rest.

Tuesday – planned: 8BF w/HS + strength (upper)

5.4mi @ 8:45 in AM. Felt okay. A little heavy.

2.8mi @ 9:12 in PM with Marlin. I felt good. It was a little warm for Marlin, so we kept it easy.

Strength: 2 set of 6 reps each: Bent rows, overhead tricep extensions, lateral flys, hammer curls

Wednesday – planned: 8E + stability

8.1mi @ 8:24. Still a little heavy, but felt good to hit the E-pace without too much effort.

Stability: 20x hip raises, 10x side hip raises, 12x kickbacks, 12x stability ball leg curls, 12x one-legged deadlifts, 12x side lunges, 20x knee crunches

Thursday – planned: 10BF + strength (lower)

10.1mi @ 9:19. Felt good for the first half, then a little heavy coming back into the wind.

Friday – OFF + stability

4.5mi @ 9:10. Making up some of the R-miles from Monday. The slower pace was actually a bit challenging today.

Saturday – planned: 16PU + stability

17.2mi @ 9:10. Goal was a progressively quicker pace. Didn’t 100% hit that, but 9:37 average for miles 1-9 and 8:49 average for 10-17. So, not bad. Felt pretty good, even with the heat.

Stability (from Fri): 20x knee crunches, 12x adductor leg raises, 20x leg cross-overs, 10x knee tucks, 10x discus-thrower, 12x standing hurdles, 10x side leg raises

Sunday – planned: 20BF

16.1mi @ 9:56, followed by 4.0mi @ 9:35 on the treadmill. Felt okay. Took a few walk breaks outside to cool off.

Stability: 12x side leg raises, 12x firehydrants, 10x jackknives, 22x torso twists, 10x leg swings on BOSU, 10x hip raises + 5x one-side hip raises

Until next week, or so.

Own it. Live it. Be it.

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