Why runners can't eat whatever they want

April 2, 2014

“I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything,” said McGillivray, who is 59.

But a diagnosis six months ago of coronary artery disease shocked McGillivray, a finisher of 130 marathons and several Ironman-distance triathlons. Suddenly he regretted including a chocolate-chip-cookie recipe in his memoir about endurance athletics.

This mindset is dangerous. It pains me every time I hear someone at the gym reference their upcoming “cheat meal” or “running off last night’s dinner.” Or thinking they deserve that cookie because they ate a salad.

Ultimately, people are realizing that a “cause damage, then fix it” mindset isn’t going to work. Even if this faulty approach did work, it’s no way to live life. We have to attack things with a goal-oriented and sustainable approach, with the long-term in mind: prevent things in the first place, cultivate good habits early on in life, and don’t expend our genetics too soon.

(Side note: look at the picture at the top of this article. Check out that heel strike, bro.)