Nutrition for Runners: A Dumb Summary

 iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

Nutrition is important. Without nutrition, we would die. This is because nutrition involves things called nutrients, and nutrients are what keep our bodies open for business. We get nutrients from food or, in a pinch, from things like "energy bars." In a nutshell, the process goes like this:

  1. Procure food
  2. Place food in mouth
  3. Chew, swallow 
  4. ?
  5. Continue living

We won't lie – we have no clue how nutrients work, exactly. We like to imagine they behave like microscopic little miners, but in reverse, ferrying amino acids and things via tiny cars on tiny tracks, deep into various parts of our bodies, where they dump them. In my imagination, these nutrients are wearing tiny hard hats fitted with tiny headlamps and are paid a decent wage.

Does it really matter? The fact is, we eat stuff and that stuff keeps us going. Beyond that, things can get complicated. But only if you let them.

Dumb Runner is a fan of the food writer Michael Pollan, who, in a 2007 article, delivered what is probably the best and simplest dietary advice ever:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

This is brilliant. It's crystal clear, impossible to misinterpret. It works for runners just as well as it does for normal people. And it grants us all permission, implicitly, to eat stuff that isn't plants. Such as pie, cake, or various meats on sticks.

That last part is important, at least for Dumb Runner. Because we feel that life is way too short to deny oneself the simple pleasures of a double-scoop ice cream cone every now and then.

In Dumb Runner's opinion, if eating for you has become a grim, joyless affair, if the mere thought of a side of onion rings sends you into a shame spiral, then perhaps you are doing it wrong.

Dumber Summary:

Good nutrition is important, but so is living your life. Eat the damn cookie.