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Keeping Pace, Issue #011 -- Reward Eating, New Tunes
July 01, 2013

Watch What you Put In!

Happy Canada Day to all Canadians and happy July to all other runners around the world!!!

A lot of us got into running and continue to run for different reasons. It’s no surprise that one of the most popular reasons for getting into running is to lose weight and to look and feel better about ourselves. There are many ways to achieve this goal and running ranks high on the list of calorie burning activities.

Something happens though, as we continue to train and cross finish lines. Our bodies start to change and running experiences start to shape our motivations to keep running. Continuing to train and run becomes less about changing how we look and more about challenging ourselves in future runs. We want to run that next 10k faster, finish stronger than before or challenge ourselves by running a full marathon. This change in motivation is not only a natural and healthy metamorphosis but also very critical to sticking with running.

While our motivations may shift, becoming leaner and fitter remains a very desirable result of training to meet running goals. However, inevitably for the majority of us, there will be a point where weight loss does not come so easy anymore – if at all. This is fine if you’ve achieved what you feel is a good race weight but what if you are still struggling with losing that next 5 or 10 quality pounds despite all of your running efforts???

There are a few very popular reasons for this... The first reason lies in our genetics. We are all individuals carrying our own set of genetics that we have to work with. You can change your environment, thoughts and re-program your metabolism which can have big impacts but otherwise, but you can’t change your genetics so there’s no point in elaborating much more on this point. The second has to do with how our bodies work with the law of adaptation. We are indeed incredibly adaptive beings and our bodies respond to good habits and bad alike. This means we need to ensure that our training program constantly challenges us if we want to continue to grow stronger, faster and leaner. To achieve this, training programs must have a good variety of slower days, intense days, long days and days off! This also means that we should be picking goals that challenge us to push beyond what we are used to. Training for challenging goals will force you to go beyond what you’re accustomed to in order to prepare for the new challenge.

Finally, the one so many of us struggle with on a long term basis is nutrition. One of the greatest myths about runners circulating amongst the sedentary community, and apparently many runners as well, is that we can eat (and drink) anything we like. Due to the constant stress we are putting on our bodies, nothing could be further from the truth. I am familiar with many runners (myself included) who have trained hard many months for a marathon and actually managed to put on a few pounds in the process!

So if you want to continue to get as lean as possible as your body continues to adapt to your training, pay attention to the following nutrition strategies:

  1. Eat quality calories in reasonable quantities all the time. The benefit of small frequent meals is less about keeping your metabolism going and much more about a stable blood sugar and hence energy level. This is also a great way to avoid being hungry which only directs your body to hang on to your stored body-fat as a survival mechanism. If you are starving, you are not going to lose that unwanted body-fat without losing water and muscle along with it!
  2. Everyone needs an ample amount of clean water for healthy body functions and, as a runner, you need even more. Downing a bottle of water to catch up on your hydration right before a run is not a good way to go about it either, you’ll end up running with slushy stomach. There is a long list of reasons to make sure that you are properly hydrated as a runner, but for losing weight, your body needs ample water to burn stored body-fat.
  3. The most important thing to be aware of as a runner is your tendency to partake in reward eating! Reward eating is devouring whatever you can quickly and easily get your hands on regardless of the quality of calories that food provides. This happens when hunger from all of your training overtakes your judgement of the quality of calories you eat. The sneaky part about reward eating is we tend to justify it because we worked out.

    The odd indulgence is always OK, however reward eating can easily become habitual and without knowing it, your calorie consumption begins to overtake your calorie deficit. Reward eating is probably one of the most popular reasons why training runners have a hard time leaning out or even gain weight!

On a final note, if you’re training your butt off and not seeing the body shaping you are looking for, remember what Arnold said: "Great abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym."

Running Playlist Update

In lieu of a recipe this month, it's time for a running music playlist update. Compared to previous updates, these tunes actually fall in this decade.

As always, these tunes also land in and around the 90 single steps per minute cadence starting with slower cadence and getting quicker as you move along. So, ideally you can build your list this way. If you haven’t heard the running form spiel enough, please visit the running music page for more info.

**Running Form Rant**

Remember the point of training with running music that’s the right cadence is to work on and maintain good running form. Good posture, head straight up, shoulders relaxed, arms along your side, bend at the ankles not at the waist, heels coming straight up under your butt. Think Head and Shoulders, Heels and Roll!

Review the Running Form page for more details.

MYRG Quote of the Month

"Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory."

Diane Arbus

Here's to keeping pace with your running goals!

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