Who Are You Listening To?

The web has nearly as much training advice as it does kittens.  The problem is, whatever you’re into, you can find both a loyal supporter and a staunch critic.  Whether it’s Crossfit, nutrition, training plans, or gear, the debate goes on and on.  At the top of the running field, you’ll find vegans, paleos, barefoot runners, high miles, low miles, and everything in between.  So who do you listen to?  How do you know who’s saying the right thing?  The answer is clear. All of them and none of them.  For the average runner, comparing yourself to the elites doesn’t make sense.  If you have a life and a regular job, you’re likely not able to train like an elite athlete.  You’re not eating 5,000 calories a day, taking ice baths, naps, and getting massages (if you are, please explain).  This wide range of philosophies tells us that average runners need a little bit of everything in our training plan.

Here are a couple of things to consider when putting together your plan

Diet. The average runner/athlete needs a good diet that they can sustain and be happy with.  It should be one that delivers the right mix of calories, carbs, and protein for your goals.  I’m moving in a vegetarian direction, but I still eat meat about once a week along with eggs. I’ve tried to limit prepackaged foods as much as possible, and I’ll never give up donuts.

Shoes. The average runner/athlete needs to understand how they run and what shoe(s) will work best for them.  It really doesn’t matter what kind of shoe your favorite hero wears.  I use 4 different shoes depending on terrain, mood, and planned activity (also a good excuse to buy more shoes).

Cross Training. The average runner/athlete needs cross-training to get stronger, avoid injury, and burnout.  Going to the gym saved my running “career”.  I joined because I was bored.  after a few months and low miles, I noticed I was getting much stronger and felt better than ever when I did run.  Ultimately, this led to running my 1st ultra on just 20 miles a week.

Mileage. The average runner needs to know what their body is craving.  It might be different that what your predefined training plan is calling for.  I wrote out a 40 week training plan for the LT run, and I adjusted it almost daily to satisfy different cravings. You might not have 50 mile/week knees, and the good news is you might not need them.  There is more than one way to train your running muscles.

So who do you listen to, and what are they saying?

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What’s For Dinner?

Disclaimer: I eat everything.  I love pizza, eggs, a greasy burger and fries, chocolate, donuts, and ice cream.  I eat these things in moderation, but I still eat them.  Up until now my training diet has been loaded with eggs, meat, yogurt, and protein/energy bars.  I get a good amount of fruit and vegetables from all colors of the rainbow and I drink water 90% of the time.  I feel like I eat pretty well, and my body is responding well to the training.  After seeing 2 movies recently, I’m beginning to feel different.  At a minimum I’m concerned about what I’m putting in my body.

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I saw Food Inc. about a year ago and it grossed me out.  I’m not going to recap the movie here, but we did switch immediately to organic, hormone free range, no pesticides etc. on some of the staples like dairy, eggs, chicken, and fish.  I’m not sure these changes matter or are worth the added cost, but psychologically, you feel like you’re being a little healthier.  You hope that you’re not getting all the hormones and chemicals that have been pumped into everything we put in our mouths.  You leave this movie feeling lied to, scammed, and a little hopeless when you see that everything we eat is crap (or more likely corn).  It’s a real heart-warmer.

This weekend I saw Forks Over Knives and now our dinner table is turned completely upside down.  This time, I think it’s serious.  I realize you have to take these types of movies with a grain of salt, but there is some powerful science behind the views expressed.  They advocate a whole foods plant based diet, and assert that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.  I grew up the son of a butcher in a meat eating culture, so this is not an easy position to side with, but I’m seriously considering a switch.  You leave this movie with that same lied to feeling as in Food, Inc., but this time it’s worse.  You may have to give up bacon.

Have you seen these movies?  What do you think?