Ok everyone…. I thought long and hard about what to write about for the last installment of my seven-part series on how to be a better, safer runner. I’m going to ask that my readers keep in mind that I am not a medical professional; I’m a political scientist. I run a lot, and certain things have worked for me and certain things don’t. Additionally, there are a lot of fad diets and bad information out there, as always, (as per my disclaimer) please ask your physician before starting a diet or workout program (especially if you found a method by reading a running blog on the Internet that is written by a POLITICAL scientist). That being said….
If I’ve learned anything about running, it’s that (besides your foot gear); your body is the most important piece of equipment that you have and should be treated as such. So, I recently stopped smoking, drinking, and eating horrible food. The first two things are pretty much common sense. However, the jury still seems to be out on what is bad for you to eat and what isn’t. For instance, I read an article the other day that said drinking cold water is bad for you. Needless to say, there were no studies or scientific evidence to back up such a claim. My immediate reaction was wtf.
I asked my mother (the RN) what I really should and should not eat. She said, “use common sense”. Ok, I’m a runner, so I need both carbs and protein. I also figured that if a good is so over processed that I don’t even know what the hell it’s made of… I probably shouldn’t eat eat. A great example of this is the infamous Pop-Tart. I love the damn things. But do I know what makes up a Pop-Tart? Not really. So, this eliminated the overly processed foods that I was accustomed to eating most of undergrad.
Then, I was listening to a recoding of talk that the Dali Lama had given at Arizona State University. (This is what got me to stop smoking and drinking.) He discussed many many things. What I love the most about His Holiness is that he speaks very plainly, so that you don’t need a political pundit to dissect every word he says. At any rate, what really stuck out at me was what he had to say about “self imposed discipline”.
We all have some amount of discipline. But a good portion of the time, this disciple is imposed upon us by others. Such forms would be; to get up on time for work, make sure you are dressed correctly for work, meeting deadline, (for military personnel) staying on top of your physical training. Then he discussed ways of self imposing discipline on yourself. One such way, was to stop eating meat.
Now, I’m healthy enough to do this immediately. So I did. By doing so, I had to reconsider what I ate and how much I ate. There are a lot of vegetarians that I know who are overweight…. Which is not what I wanted the end result to be for me. So, I downloaded a free app for my iPad which keeps track of my workouts and diet for me. It’s freaking awesome! It even shows how much of my diet is composed of carbs, protein and fat.
So ends this seven-part series on things that every runner should consider before hitting the pavement. I hope that my little tid-bits have helped your runtime. 🙂