It’s March 14th, which, for math geeks and pastry fanatics alike, is a day of celebration. 3/14 – 3.14 – Pi – Pie? Get it? Basically anyone who is connected to social media of any form is aware of the punny nature of the day and uses it as an excuse – nay, a reason – to eat pie. But where does that put the runner in training who treats their body as a temple, or at least tries to eat right?
Fear not! Everything you need to know about how to deal with this conundrum will be provided in this handy dandy little post. This isn’t just about surviving Pi Day. It’s about surviving all of those occasions where you are tempted to throw all of that hard training away and dive into whatever tasty treats are placed in front of you. Keep these tips in mind and I promise everything will be alright.
1) Unless this is what you see when you look in the mirror, you at least have a little self-control.
2) Unless maybe you see this.
3) Don’t use food as a comfort.
4) And don’t use it as a reward.
A common mistake I see when people are training is self-sabotage. People will say “I crushed that run today – time for deep fried cheese.” Or on the flip side “That run sucked – time for deep fried cheese!” I guarantee if you do either 3 or 4 spontaneously, you’ll be chasing your with a dessert of guilt. With that being said…
5) Planned cheat days are better than spontaneous cheat days.
I’ve got a marathon in less than two months. I’ve been eating super healthy (especially relative to what my diet used to be). I don’t consume any alcohol or pop and very little “junk” food in any way shape or form. But am I missing out on Pi Day? Heck no! I’ve known about and enjoyed Pi Day with my family for several years now and I know that me having a slice of pie or two today is going to have zero impact on my results. Were I an elite runner or the race day closer, I’d have to re-evaluate but my reality is that I can enjoy that treat and not beat myself up over it.
A lot of runners I know have one day a week where they allow themselves a treat or eat something with a little more fat/sugar/whatever than usual. This helps them from temptation the rest of the week and also helps to keep that sense of being in control.
6) Avoid places/situations/events that are too tempting.
You’re only human. However, we rarely ever end up in tempting situations without advanced warning. If you’re trying to eat healthy then hitting the clubs, eating out frequently and so on may not be the best ideas.
7) Moderation is the key.
Sure it’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason – it’s true. Having a piece of candy isn’t a big deal. Swimming in Willy Wonka’s chocolate river, however, may hinder your marathon performance. That’s just a fact.
8) Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Some people are just not respectful of what you are trying to accomplish. They aren’t necessarily malicious, but they seem to take your dietary choices as a challenge. It’s easier to be around those who are trying to accomplish the same things as you. If not, they should at least be supportive and not hassle you about what you are or aren’t eating.
9) Find healthier alternatives.
As a species, humans are exceptionally creative. Did you know that you can actually find healthy foods that are actually delicious? It’s true! Gluten free pizza crusts, using honey as a sweetener, snacking on fruits and veggies – all things that are easy to do. Any time I’m at a function with snack tables, I head straight to the fruit, veggies and cheese to fill up my plate. I enjoy them every bit as much as the cookies and pastries and don’t feel any guilt. Winning!
10) Focus on wholesale improvements, not occasional slip ups.
The best thing you can do to improve your diet is to look at the big picture. Once upon a time, not so long ago, I had a pretty terrible diet. I was drinking litres of pop every week and chowing down on fast food regularly. When I turned my diet around, I used to get really upset with myself whenever I ate something that was sugary or ate at McDonald’s with my kids. Then I took a step back and realized what a difference there was in my diet in only a few short months. I’ve added many more healthy foods to my diet and we don’t have a constant supply of chips, cookies and other treats stashed in our house. I know my diet isn’t perfect, but I know it’s a lot better than it used to be and it’s going to continue to improve.
So, enjoy Pi Day however you see fit. Remember – it’s actually just another day. And you should make the most of it!