Staying healthy is one of the biggest challenges in running, and one way to improve your odds is through good nutrition practices. Professional runners take their time with the little things, and this includes their nutrition.
If you’re looking for easy ways you can improve your dietary habits, pro runners’ Instagram pages are a good place to start. Obviously, nutrition is extremely personal, but for general guidelines, here are a few rules that we recommend you follow.
See a registered dietitian
Aisha Praught-Leer is the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the steeplechase and a 2020 Olympic hopeful. The runner wrote on Instagram that one of her keys to success has been seeing a registered dietitian. “Together with short nutrition logs, energy and sleep monitoring, training volume and environmental considerations (stress, altitude, etc.), we can track how my body is responding to the changing demands of a season and make nutritional adjustments to keep me healthy.”
Even if you’re not training at the level of Praught-Leer, seeing an RD is a great way to keep yourself healthy.
Eat after your run, even if you don’t feel like it
It’s extremely important to eat post-workout, but sometimes getting food down is difficult (especially in the heat). If you struggle with this, Krista DuChene suggests having a post workout smoothie until you feel like you’re able to have a meal.
Take time for treats
Treats shouldn’t be forbidden in any diet, especially not on special occasions. Even Canadian record holder and two-time Olympian Melissa Bishop makes room for some sweet treats.
You don’t become the World Championship gold medalist without knowing a thing or two about nutrition. Emma Coburn is all about hydration. During the winter months, when runners are sweating less, hydration can take a back seat. But runners need to remember that even when they’re not sweating as much, it’s still important to get lots of fluids.
Food should be satisfying and delicious
Shalane Flanagan is the queen of running nutrition. She’s a co-author of three cookbooks and one of the most decorated American runners of all time. She wrote on Instagram, “I feel emotionally attached to the recipes in our new book since this is the food that fuelled that magical little win last November [at the 2017 NYC marathon]. The new cookbook is full of motivational quotes, inspirational stories, meal prep tips, more Superhero Muffins, incredibly nourishing smoothies and so many delicious meals to fuel your dreams.”
She wants runners to know that they don’t need to feel deprived to run fast. Flanagan’s guiding principles are that food should be both satisfying and good for you.