For most people, the first week of summer marks the beginning of a festive time meant for playing just as hard as they worked during the long, cold months of winter. It’s wedding season, boating season, and beach season – a time to strip off some clothes, get tan, and drink plenty of ice cold beverages at backyard BBQs.
I am not most people. While I will attend seven or so weddings this summer, the summer of 2012 could hardly be labeled “wedding season” in my book. If only I was that lucky. Instead, last week marked the beginning of marathon season, a five-month period of intense physical activity and heavy nutritional control. I love to run. I really do. But those of you who know me can probably guess how the second part of the marathon season equation resonates: not well. You see, I love food. I have a horrific sweet tooth and can put down a large pizza in an afternoon without batting an eye. Compounding matters here is my affection for good times that involve both good friends and multiple adult beverages.
A successful marathon season requires just as much attention to nutrition as it does to the act of running. When training for half marathons in the past, I have rarely prescribed to the sort of diet that promotes maximum performance. I’ve been lazy with my diet, assuming that because I was a “half marathoner” I could eat and drink whatever I wanted until the day after the race was over. Cheeseburgers, pizza, salads the size of my head, cookies, brownies, beers, hot dogs… the list goes on forever. Poor dieting habits led to poor training, which led to subpar performance on race day. And I almost always gained weight during the process. This time, I want to do things differently. I want to finish the See Jane Run half marathon in under 2 hours, and I want to finish the Portland marathon faster than P. Diddy did the New York marathon a few years back. I am no expert when it comes to nutrition, but I’m surrounded by people who are. With a little encouragement from them, I spent all day today cleaning out my pantry, shopping for groceries, and prepping food for the week ahead.
I drew inspiration for Pantry Transformation 2012 from two main sources:
1) My trainers with Fit Body Blueprint (website to come), who have inspired me over the past two months to take a different attitude toward nutrition. They promote that one should eat good food that fuels a better life. They don’t tell me to knock out late night parties and dietary indulgences – but do advocate that I opt for vodka sodas and lean steaks instead of beer and burgers. Their approach is Paleo and many of their recipes and information is sourced from websites like Paleo Plan.
2) The writers at Whole 9 Life, who have taken the Paleo diet and modified it a bit to eliminate some traditionally “allowed” Paleo foods (Greek yogurt, quinoa, sweeteners). Their 30 day plan, dubbed “Whole 30”, asks participants to knock out all dairy, grains, legumes, processed food and added sweeteners (whether natural or artificial) in order to transform their energy levels and meet lifestyle goals. It’s strict, but it’s backed by research that makes sense and utilizes a practical, no-nonsense approach that I appreciate.
I’ll dive into these approaches more in posts to come, as there is much more to divulge about Fit Body Blueprint and Whole 9 Life than I can provide in this post. Their inspiration was paramount to the completion of Pantry Transformation 2012 and will continue to fuel my nutritional overhaul in the months to come.