Training Like A Hobbit!
It is with mixed emotions that I look forward to the release of The Hobbit this weekend. I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien pretty much my whole life, and grew up reading The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and all of his other stories. The thrill of losing myself in the fantasy landscape of Middle Earth is something I’ve never quite outgrown and really have no intention of leaving behind. When each of the LOTR films was released, it was a family holiday tradition that we went to see them together. It was somehow quite fitting, as it was my parents that encouraged me to develop a love of reading and allowed me to truly lose myself in the books I was reading. Each of those three films lived up to all of my expectations and more, and I re-watch them about as frequently as I re-read the books. Suffice it to say, I love them!
Now, The Hobbit, as a back story of sorts, was always an enjoyable tale. It doesn’t have the length or depth of the others, but is still a fun read, and when I heard they were putting it to film, I was excited for a pleasant fourth film. However, when I learned that they were stretching it into THREE films, I found myself a tad bit confused. How could they possible turn this tale into 9+ hours?! I shouldn’t be surprised that the almighty dollar is no doubt to blame for this error in judgement, but I am still a bit sad that they are trying so hard. Nonetheless, I’m still very excited to see the first movie, and will happily pay the ticket price for the experience. The beautiful epicurean shares my sentiments. Ok, so you are probably saying to yourself at this point, “Adam, this is all well and good, and I totally see where you are coming from (my apologies in advance if you really don’t have any interest in The Hobbit or J.R.R. Tolkien), but what does this have to do with running?”
That’s an excellent question as it turns out, so I’m glad you asked! I was always enamored with the meal schedule the hobbits keep, and it has become a bit of a running joke between the epicurean and me. They are basically eating every 2-3 hours, and always seem to be hungry. They take their meals very seriously, no matter the current circumstances. This of course got me to thinking about nutrition, one of my current favorite training topics, and I realized that there is actually quite a lot we can learn from these tricksy little hobbits!
Hobbit Meal Schedule
- Breakfast – 7am
- Second breakfast – 9 am
- Elevenses – 11 am
- Lunch – 1 pm
- Afternoon tea – 3pm
- Dinner – 6 pm
- Supper – 9 pm
There seems to be plenty of evidence and research to suggest that eating smaller meals more frequently is better for sustained energy, nutrient absorption, and general health. I’m the first to admit that trying to squeeze even more meals, no matter how small they might be, into an already busy schedule can be a challenge. However, the benefits seem to be worth the time it takes. In addition, if you are eating more whole, natural foods, your prep time is going to be much less! It doesn’t take much work to pull out a piece of fruit or a small bag of veggies while drinking a nice big glass of water 😉 The hobbits may prefer items of a heavier nature, but the principle still holds.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ~ Thorin
The reluctant adventures of the hobbits provide us with yet another lesson to be learned. Now that winter is upon us (for some more than others, of course!), the temptation to stay inside by the (metaphorical) fire is quite high. However, anyone who has pushed themselves to head out the door for a run in the cold knows that you always find satisfaction after the fact. Once you commit your body, your mind will surely follow!
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
The importance and power of friendship becomes yet another training lesson to be learned from our friendly hobbits. I’ve commented plenty in the past about how much I value the friendships I have developed through running. Having training partners has the wonderful effect of getting you out the door even when you really don’t want to leave that warm fire. In all of their adventures, hobbits prove time and again just how much they value friendship and companionship.
“You can trust us to stick to you, through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” – Merry
So, in a not-so-fantasy sort of way, training like a Hobbit can indeed be beneficial for everyone, from the new runner to the veteran marathoner…just avoid any races in Helm’s Deep!