Intermittent fasting is quickly gaining in popularity. Many stars including Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, and Hugh Jackman swear by intermittent fasting. With so much fame behind this fad there may be something to it right?
So what is it? There are many methods some of which are described below, but in a nutshell, it is scheduling periods of eating normally and then periods of not eating at all. The spans of eating normally are what make this so attractive to so many, but don’t let the “no counting calories; no cutting carbs; no macros” tag-lines associated with it trick you into thinking it’s easy. In fact, this may be more difficult than anything else you have tried in the past. Intermittent fasting requires: purpose, planning, and discipline. Compared to other lifestyle changes this one is rated difficult. Hey, but you’re a marathon runner. Difficult is your middle name.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
16:8 Method; Eat for 8 hours fast for 16
With this method you choose an 8 hour window for eating your meals each day. One example is eat from
Intermittent fasting diet
breakfast to mid-day; 7 am – 3 pm. Or, if you usually skip breakfast anyway, you may choose your meal hours from 1 pm – 9 pm.
If choosing this method when training for a marathon you will want to plan your meals with your training schedule. If you are a morning runner, then you will want to fuel up for your runs and plan your 8 hours of eating at a time that helps your running performance.
Personally, I having been trying this method for about 2 months. I started with an eating schedule of 1-9 and found that since I run in the morning, this did not work at all. Crash, boom, bang! I could hardly muster the energy to get around the block let alone get my long runs in. Switching to a 7:00-3:00 schedule I have found is better for my training schedule, but horrible for a social life. Meeting up for drinks after work, date night, and even enjoying popcorn with a late night movie are all out on this schedule. What I have found to be pros of this method are: evening snacking is eliminated and better discipline to food choices since I am putting more effort into the planning.
5:2 Method; Eat for 5 days and fast for 2
This method may be preferable for runners because chances are your running schedule is already 5 days on 2 non-consecutive days off. Your rest days would then also be your fasting days. Somewhat more extreme than the 16:8 Method because you have 2 complete days of fasting, but it does allow for less social life restrictions. Many plans do allow for some calorie intake on the fasting days. Typically around 500 calories which are divided into two small snacks of 250 calories each throughout the day.
I have tried this method in the past and have found it to be extremely difficult. You will be hungry. There will be temptation, but once again, it does allow you to maintain better balance with life and lifestyle. On your 5 eat days you can still enjoy date night and meeting up with friends after work.
Eat Stop Eat Method
The Eat Stop Eat Method involves eating a meal then not eating again until that same meal time the next day. An example would be eat a normal dinner Monday evening and then don’t eat again until dinner time Tuesday evening. If you are training in the morning, then you may prefer eat breakfast Monday morning and then don’t eat again until breakfast Tuesday morning.
I don’t have personal experience with this method, but based on the number of hours you are active with no meals, this may be quite difficult.
Benefits of intermittent fasting while marathon training
- You cannot improve in one area of your life without improvements trickling into other areas of your life. By planning your meal periods, I have found that you plan the quality of the meals as well.
- Weight loss can occur.
- For runners, this is important, there can be a reduction in inflammation.
Have you tried this while training for an event?
How’d it go?
Variety improves the things that we do too often, but it rules the things that we don’t do often enough. -Daniel Gilbert
My reading list is much like my running play list. I like to mix it up. A little American history, running stories, motivation,business, self help, and some good science fiction. As the quote above indicates, by reading a variety it improves the experience by keeping it fresh.
Here’s a review on a more recent read.
Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The case studies in this book are a fun read, especially in the audio book version which has each person related to the specific case study read their portion. The variety in voices kept the book entertaining.
Where the book lacked
was in providing detail. It is very vague and although the case studies were from companies that achieved great growth it doesn’t necessarily explain how the OKR’s caused the growth. Would My Fitness Pal really not been so successful without an OKR ? Impossible to say from reading this book.
If you are a “techie” and would be interested in hearing case studies from Silicon Valley then you would enjoy this book. If you want details on goal setting and measuring what matters then I recommend finding a different book.
Every book has a lesson or two. This one had quite a lot of great quotes because of all of the influencers used to illustrate the purpose. Here’s a few of my favorites:
“Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Their people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.”
“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little. —Andy Grove”
“When people help choose a course of action, they are more likely to see it through.”
What shall I read during Week 4 of Chicago Marathon training?
Running is a great sport to give a whirl because you literally do not need a thing to get started. Zero start up cost. You don’t like it; no worries, you’re not out a thing.
If you do like it and stick with it, unlike other sports that require a ton of expensive equipment, you can maintain a very low budget. One way I keep costs low is by not worrying if my running
shoes are the latest and the greatest. By purchasing last year’s model instead of the newest release I save a ton of dough.
My normal run essentials are: Burt’s Bees lip balm, Maui Jim sunglasses, toasted marshmallow GU, and a great play list. A very eclectic great playlist. I love to run to music. Black Eyed Peas, Led Zepplin, Bruno Mars . . . and then I met this book. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. On long runs it’s my new fave. It gives me the motivation I need to get the miles in. I figure if they can run hundreds of miles then I can certainly get in 13.
A great friend gave me a great tip, use the speed feature on audible.com. Putting this story at 1.25 x speed is the perfect tempo to run to.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Very inspiring story. I loved listening to it while out for a run.
Just a few of my favorite quotes…
“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.”
“If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.”
“Suffering is humbling. It pays to know how to get your butt kicked.”
“There was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running.”
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Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my all time favorites! I listened to it on Audible during my commutes. Sometimes I would sit in my car in my driveway and just keep listening. I found the history, geography and world culture lessons given through the lens of someone sharing their life story absolutely fascinating.
In January 2008, I saw the movie The Bucket List and crazy as it sounds, as a non-runner put “run a marathon” on my list. I’ve been running in a different brand ever since, but now that I have read this story I am going to the running store to pick up some Nike’s immediately.
Thank you Phil Knight for your contributions and thank you for sharing your story.
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I’m going to let you in on a secret.
Depending on the circumstances of us meeting, if we’ve met, there will be two dramatically different responses to this revelation. Very opposing responses.
If we were introduced socially, you’re already in on the secret. If someone were to ask you “did you know this about her” your reply would be “isn’t it obvious, everyone knows that about her”.
Suppose our meeting happened in a professional setting. Revealing this truth about myself would receive a much different reaction. “No way”. “It’s not possible”. “Not her”.
Here’s the secret
I am not just a little bit shy. I am deathly shy. My preferred role in a social setting; wall flower. The thought of having to introduce myself to total strangers and be able to make small talk with them gives me the same pit in my stomach as having just ate some bad sushi. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I remember being on a bus trip and someone yelled out “why don’t you ever talk”? My valiant hero responded “she never talks”. Shy. So shy. Paralyzed with fear.
In a professional setting a totally different persona comes to life. A hostess with the mostest, A larger than life very social figure. Someone who is outgoing, approachable, even . . . LOUD. Put her on a stage and let her speak to the room and she shines. Who is this person? Where does she come from?
It wasn’t always this way. I remember early on in my career I would have to do morning sales meetings. As I began to speak I would feel it. The burning red creep. It would start on my chest and the warm burning sensation would climb. I would think “don’t be visible, don’t be visible” as I felt it creep up to my neck. “Don’t be visible”, now my ears are on fire. “Don’t be visible”, my cheeks are certainly crimson with the burn. The horror. Complete terror.
What is different now? Competence. Studying your craft, becoming an expert and doing something over and over again until you build competence. Action builds competence. Competence then breeds confidence. Look at the athletes about to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics. As they are about to begin their event they radiate confidence. It wasn’t always there. There was fear. Confidence came with repeated practice of their sport making them competent.
There are two reasons I decided to share my secret with you. First, you may be holding yourself back because, like most people, you have a fear of speaking. This can be conquered. Be a subject matter expert and keep throwing yourself into situations where you have to give presentations. Eventually, it will get easier and even become enjoyable. Second, as you’re working on yourself at the onset of the new year you may have some limiting beliefs about your abilities that are preventing you from setting certain goals. I can’t possibly give a presentation, don’t you know that I’m shy? Maybe it’s not speaking, perhaps it’s writing. Maybe it’s exercise. Just start doing it. Action builds competence and competence breeds confidence. You can do this.