Friday, February 11, 2011

Yes, I really do eat over 3 million calories per day.

Today's workout was a 6 mile Tempo run done on a treadmill.  The first and last 2 miles were to be run at a prescribed "easy" pace of 7.1 - 7.2 MPH (around 9:15 per mile) with the middle 2 miles being run at 8.7 - 8.9 MPH (around 6:50 per mile).  Twas not a fun workout by any means and my calves are still screaming at me. So far, no knee pain and no Achilles pain.  I ordered a new pair of Saucony Progrid Guide 3 shoes on closeout from RunningWarehouse.Com ($41.xx after my 15% Active.Com discount).  My "old" shoes may be toast, meaning my current trainers will get moved into the "outdoor" run slot and the new shoes will go for indoor work until the weather is better.

2011-FEB-10 Running Graph
2011-FEB-10 Diet Log

I get asked on a regular basis (typically with some degree of animosity) why I track my food or get comments like, "I wish I could eat what you eat!" (by which they *really* mean, "I wish I could eat that many calories a day.")  There's also a secondary part which is, "Why do you feel the need to taunt me by having daily postings of, 'Erin ate 3072 calories today and was under his calorie goal.'?"

The last one is easy.  Accountability.  It's a lot harder to cheat on a diet or cheat on exercise or forgo your goals if you don't have some level of public accountability.  That's also a large reason why this blog exists and why I haven't been shy about sharing the fact that I'm training for a marathon.  I'm sure some people see it as being boastful or arrogant, but the truth is the training plan that lies in front of me scares the bejeezus out of me and I need every bit of motivation I can find to run 20 - 30 miles a week for the next 16 weeks.

The maintenance diet I have settled upon is high in protein and low in fat.  I've thrown out the metabolic calculators and figured that my normal, no-exercise day burns up about 2600 Kcal.  When I add a gym workout, that adds another 450 - 550 of "burn," giving me an average daily need for 3100 Kcal.

[science alert]
The "Calories" you see listed on nutrition labels are actually in kilocalories (or in 1000 calorie increments). A calorie is standard unit of measurement of heat energy. 1 calorie is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. 1 gram is essentially 1 ml -- a small amount! A kilocalorie is therefore the amount of heat energy required to raise 1 kg (or 1 liter) of water 1 degree Celsius.
[/science alert]

I'll get into my specific diet in another musing, but the main reason I track my food so closely is that I need to make sure I hit my mark every day without shoveling junk food (or booze, which is quite capable of making up for a calorie deficit) into my pie-hole at 10PM at night.  During my marathon training, my goal is to maintain the strength that I have built in the past year.  In order to do that, I need to not only maintain a solid cross-training plan, but I need to ensure that I fuel my body with enough energy to meet its daily demands.  Tracking my food & exercise allows me to ensure that my system is running in the black on a day to day basis.


  1. The reason I complain is because I'm jealous that you body needs 2500 to maintain your thin body while my not so thin body probably apparently only needs about 5 calories a day.

  2. I think a big part of it is that I stay active enough and do enough strength-based work that my metabolic demands stay elevated. Either that or I'm just a freak of nature or my poor sleep habits keep my system churning more than someone who sleeps 8 solid hours per night.