In what is perhaps the most famous novel ever written on the subject of running, the protagonist makes a claim that seems to reflect the feeling of many well-trained athletes. This feeling is also frequently shared by those who are not so well trained. In the novel, which is titled “Once a Runner,” this particular athlete is training very seriously and doing workouts that many would consider truly impossible.
In one section of the novel, the character refers to his body as a furnace capable of burning anything put into it so long as the fire inside burns hot enough. He makes this reference, of course, to justify the fact that he is eating a greasy burger and French fries following an intense workout.
This philosophy is a common one, as there are many who believe that hard athletic training provides ample justification for eating poorly. In the case of the protagonist in this novel, the fact that he is doing more than 100 miles of running per week will certainly keep him svelte, and it is undeniably true that he needs to consume more calories than a casual athlete. This concept, however, is a dangerous one.
Those who wish to improve their health must understand that overall health should include a focus on both diet and exercise. It does not matter if you work for the TIE Institute Trading and run weekend road races or if you are a professional athlete training for the Olympic Trials. There is simply no amount of training that can offset the negative impact of poor dietary habits.