Gotta Run: My shortcuts to better nutrition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2022

Last week, I shared my thoughts on five ways to get faster. This week, I’m going to address a few easy ways to improve your nutrition, most of which come up when I work with a runner or personal training client long term. I’m not a registered dietician but one of my favorite friends is, and I’ve heard her speak on better nutrition at least 20 times. Plus I research nutrition constantly just because I’m interested to find what really works. Here are some of my thoughts, individually all easy to do and not a major lifestyle change. Just little blocks to build better nutrition.

  • Water is the key to health, especially during the warm months but never out of sight even on the coldest days. Drink half the body weight in ounces daily. A 200-pound person would drink 100 ounces of water as a daily minimum, before the extra needed for exercise. With summer just around the corner and warm and humid days arriving regularly, push the water for better performance in both your running, other daily activities and mental processes.
  • Average at least one vegetable per meal for better blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. That vegetable adds fiber too and good carbs. Yes, you need good carbs for energy. They will transfer to power in your muscles.
  • Add fiber for bowel regularity, staying full between meals and stabilized blood sugar. There are lots of natural ways to have the pleasant full stomach feeling, sometimes called being satiated. You won’t think about hunger as much.
  • Also add a protein to each meal to feel full. (Greek yogurt again, eggs, lean meat, fish beans and nuts). One thing leads to another but these healthy practices work together.
  • Cut out all sugared drinks, a factor in so many health problems and mood disorders. Over the years, I have met many people who are at the extreme of the sugared drink issue. They drink soft drinks and sweetened tea for most of the day. Eating a balanced diet with normal calories can’t offset excessive empty calories from these sugared drinks. Just one soft drink a day over and above your correct amount of calories will net an additional 20 pounds gained per year.
  • Limit processed foods. Most are high in saturated fats, sugar, salt, lots of calories but have little nutritional benefit. In the grocery store, most of the processed foods are in the center aisles.
  • Eat reasonable calories for your age, gender, activity level and weight goals. is one great website to address this and is another. You can enter your calories and your workouts, along with your goals.
  • Sleep enough. You’ll tend to eat fewer calories and lower your risk for weight gain.
  • Eat good snacks. Hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt and nuts are a great way to start. We all need lots of cashews, pecans and almonds.
  • Don’t eat because it’s time to eat. Three full meals are fine with a super-active lifestyle, but most of us will do better by eating a bunch of small meals or snacks when we are hungry. Some call this grazing. Never eat just because it is time too. Don’t drop everything at noon to eat if you aren’t hungry. Do eat breakfast, otherwise by skipping it there is a good likelihood that you’ll add on more than you would have eaten normally anyway, and the body will be underpowered early in the day.

   We are entering the summer racing season, almost always a lighter scheduled due to the heat and humidity. At present there are just two races on tap in Rowan County and both are in July. Mark your calendars for two fantastic events with the Shiloh Run for Missions 5K in Faith on July 2 and the Run for the Greenway 5K at Knox Middle School on July 16.

Look for these and all currently scheduled events at