Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Feed my Run – Let’s Talk Nutrition for the Senior Runner

I occasionally take to Google and search out articles on nutrition for the older runner, particularly older women runners.  An incredible array of information is available on nutrition for runners in general, but how does it apply to a senior runner?

That question went unanswered until I dug into my unread summer magazine stack. There I found some much needed guidance in a Club Running article titled “Nutrition for the Older Athlete.” Registered dietician and Road Runners Club of America RRCA certified coach Lisa Paige succinctly packs a wallop of information into a one-page article that speaks to nutritional needs for 50+ athletes.  lt seems I have some old habits that could use a fresh assessment.  Although I’ve been pretty consistent in incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in my diet through my running years, I am not a nutrition fanatic.  Indeed, I have hurriedly started many a day with a scrumptious oatmeal cookie (with raisins, do they count as a fruit?) and a piping hot cup of coffee (with cream for calcium count).  

It’s time for a menu course change

As hard as I push myself some days, I am just lazy when it comes to considering the food my body needs to fuel that push.  Following a long training run, I’ll glug down a bottle of chocolate milk, chomp on a bagel or an apple, then pretty much overlook further nutritional needs. I’m betting that I am underfueling rather than exceeding any of the estimates Lisa uses to determine needed protein, carbs and fats. Her article gives me the information and the incentive to actually approximate (no need to get too nerdy) my intake using her equations for protein needs, selecting dietary fats and wisely making my choice for carbs.

This will take some discipline.  I’m accustomed to diligently (some say obsessively) logging miles and cross-training activity, but I do that once (or twice) and I’m done for the day. Diligently logging the detail of what fuels those endeavors, especially for someone who grazes during the day, is a different kettle of fish (usually salmon).

With an early fall marathon under my belt and another scheduled for November, why not apply what I have learned and finish this marathon season eating healthier than I started?  In addition to the nutrition information, Lisa feeds my belief that I can still become a stronger runner:

At this point in our lives, although we have been relatively successful in keeping active most days, we are still sedentary compared to what our bodies are capable of doing.

Fresh produce from the farmers’ market on my list 

This in an opportunity to expand my practice of logging miles according to my race plan to include logging food intake to feed my miles. Then, I can continue to respond in the affirmative to that question “Are you still running?”

How do you (or do you?) track your nutritional intake?

Is there an app for that?

I’m ready to listen and learn.

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4 Comments»

  Patty wrote @

I just love your blogs. But there is an app called MyFitnessPal. Many use it to control weight but could be used for fitness as well. I do not track my food intake. Carbs before a running and protein after.

  marylouharris wrote @

Patty, thanks. I’ll take a look at MyFitnessPal. Another app I’m looking at is Tap&Trace. Has anyone else reading this post used it?

  trueindigo wrote @

I have to check out both of those apps. I use DailyMile.

  marylouharris wrote @

I settled on Tap&Track which cost a couple bucks but well worth it. I don’t use it every day, but when I know I have fallen off the nutrition wagon, I go back to it to keep me accountable. I’ve added some of my favorite recipes, so that it is a quick click to add.


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