The world’s best endurance runners currently come from parts of Africa where their diet is typically 75% carbohydrate. As needs are closely tied to training volume, it is sensible to conclude that the more you train, the more carbs you need. A good guide:
Of course the difficulty starts with all the different sources of information out there. A typical amount I have often seen for endurance runners is the 7 g/kg figure. But this is near the top end, which has always left me wondering how at a more usual 60% of daily Carbs [rising to 70% when carbo-loading before long events] it is possible to get anywhere near this 7g figure? Simply it means too many overall calories a day. Especially when you are trying to drop weight.
So everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt [apart from your food]. The simple truth is, most of us could be eating far better than we do, and then running/racing far better.
A couple of days ago I started a food diary. Using common sense and years of reading, but without an expert nutritionist on hand, let’s see how it goes over the next few months?
Several things I have noted are:
1] people worry too much about the dictate “don’t eat processed foods”. Well, unless you grow your own veg, keep an animal for milk, make your own bread/yoghurt etc and eat absolutely fresh food everyday, this advice is practically impossible to follow. Certainly it is wise to eat as little produce with colourings/preservatives/added salt/sugar etc but just because something comes in a tin or frozen does not mean it is bad food.
2] There is no need to waste time weighing food to the ml/mg ever time you eat. Simply divide the weight of the packet/tin by the number of times it takes to consume and average it over the week. ie I know my frozen spinach comes in a 900g pack so I just roughly divide it into 7 [one for each day of the week] and log 130g for each day. If I get 50 calories more one day to the next it makes little difference as it evens out over the week. The same goes for everything else. 1kg rice bag/pasta/yoghurt tubs/pints of milk etc.
3] There is no point being too worried about counting calories compared to looking at the all important ratio of protein/carb/fat because I discovered [and it makes sense due to the rounding of measurements] that if you compare the stated cals of a food item then work out the cals according to the stated amounts of each food constituent [4 cals per gram of protein and carb and 9 cals for each gram of fat] you do not get the same figures. From a couple of day’s analysis I can see that the amount can be out by 50 or more calories a day; so simply stick to the stated calorie per food item and take the ratios as a good approximation.
Today I discovered [by doing, then checking the internet to see whether I was going to die or not] that you can eat the skin of your kiwis. Great, more fibre and time saved not having to peel them.
Today a 7 mile jog after work then 3 miles with this evening’s Run England group for another easy 10 mile day.
TDC 202 days 1477 miles