On jogging and food

My long run for the weekend was yesterday, and it netted me a half-marathon distance: 13.1 miles in 2:13. To be completely honest, that’s pretty much the limit for me. I’ll try to do 14 miles next weekend, but I don’t expect it to go nearly as well—I have a lot more training to do before that is a comfortable distance.

But I’m here to talk about food.

I’m able to differentiate between the types of cravings that I have: protein, sugar, carbs, electrolytes, etc. I only say this because I had assumed that everyone can, but I keep meeting people that can’t—there’s just a craving for something, some kind of food. Point being, as you can imagine, long runs leave me with massive protein cravings. Sports drinks and gels can handle the electrolyte issue before it hits the craving stage, but not even protein powders or bars can tackle the cravings that come from a good run.

I find that for short runs of up to 6 miles, the protein cravings can be handled by chicken or turkey or, in very rare cases, pork. From 6 to 10 miles, I upgrade to a big tuna steak, salmon, or some other large serving of fish. Beyond 10 miles, and it seems that nothing will hit the spot but red meat, such as the 16oz filet mignon I had after my run yesterday. If I have fish or chicken after a run that long, it doesn’t ever quite hit the spot.

Here’s the thing, though: I’ve really cut down the amount of red meat that I eat because of the strain it puts on my digestive system and metabolism. I’ll be able to feel the steak I had last night for at least another day as it works its way through. I would love, love, love to be able to figure out how to satiate the protein craving of a 12-13 mile run without resorting to red meat.

Anyone got any ideas?

P.S. – For the record, I have a BMR (Base Metabolic Rate) that requires approximately 1850 calories per day. When I run, I burn 130 calories per mile or more, depending on my speed. That 13.1 mile run is then another 1700 calories I need to replenish. I’ll get about 500 calories from the sports drinks and gels that it takes to get through that run, but I’m still looking at another 3000+ calories that I’ll need to consume for that day. Ouch. I don’t know how professional runners can afford to feed themselves like that. (And filet mignon is 60 calories per ounce—I’m not eating 3 lb of filet mignon in a day!)