Food to Run On

November 7, 2012 § 31 Comments

Every day my news feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, Bloglovin’, MyFitnessPal are flooded with advice on what one should and shouldn’t be eating to live a healthy lifestyle. Some days I’ll be told to drink red wine to keep my muscles strong, others it provides me no benefits. Some days grapefruit is great for me, other days it’ll give me breast cancer. Some days red meat should be part of my healthy diet, other days it’ll shorten my lifespan. Most days I just feel like a headless chicken set loose in the supermarket.

So to simplify my decisions in the grocery aisle I created the following rules each item must pass to make it into my basket:

– whole grain flours only
– no refined sugars (chocolate is of course an exception!)
– no artificial sweeteners
– no trans fats

Some may say these rules are pretty restricting, but I can assure you my diet isn’t the least but boring. (Check out my other blog for evidence). Plus, why torture yourself with the “snack on this candy bar or have some greek yogurt and blueberries?” decision at home? Do it in the grocery store and it’s smooth sailing all week!

Whole Foods

Despite the constantly contradicting claims about diet, one thing everyone can agree on, no matter their field of study, is that eating whole, unprocessed foods is the healthiest way of life. You should be filling your belly with lean proteins, complex carbs, good fats, fruit/veggies bursting with vitamins and minerals, and the occasional cup of coffee. Runners specifically, as suggested by theRUNIVERSE, should be paying attention to
โ† these fab foods.

I’m happy to report that I eat each of those items on a regular basis, with the exception of the red meat and coffee (I’m a green tea-er, coffee gives me the shakes and sweats!).

Well okay, looks like I’m on the right track… but in what quantities?

Diet Ratios

Sources will tell us runners everything from stick to a 50-25-25 or 50-20-30 carb-protein-fat ratio to eat 50%-60%, 60%-65% or up to 70% of our calories from carbs, but which do you follow? And then there’s the weight-loss ratios that vary even more. With such variance in the numbers, diets can look completely different for people doing the same activity. Personally, I tend to agree with the experts that say it’s it’s different for everyone and all depends on your goals, body type and level of aerobic activity. If you’re looking for fat-loss, then up your protein. If you’re light enough and are running longer distances, then carbs are your friend. If your hair is dry and skin is dull, get more healthy fats. It really is just a trial and error game for everyone, but that’s the only way to find what works for you.

I’ve recently been trying to revamp my own diet since I know I won’t be logging as many miles over the winter. Though I’ve put the “it’s too cold outside” excuse behind me now, I at least wait until a day it’s not snowing because ski goggle are for skiing and not for running in weather like this:

Normally my view looks like this:

(It’s a blizzard out there and, yes, I really should take my patio furniture in…)

Instead, I work in some weight training on snowy days like these. So to help my muscles out, I figure I should increase the protein in my diet and since I’m not getting as much cardio in, and thus probably not burning as many calories as during training season, my diet probably doesn’t need as many carbs.
Decision: move my 55-25-20 ratio to 40-40-20.

Are you eating theRUNIVERSE’s recommended foods?
What does your diet look like? 
What do you run (pun intended… I’m a dork) on?



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§ 31 Responses to Food to Run On

  • haute + healthy says:

    I run on carbs + protein! Like, toast w/ a tbs peanut butter, or a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter. If I am really in a rush I’ll grab a Larabar before I hit the pavement.

    • Andrea says:

      Larabars are great and my go-to pre-race breakfast is the whole wheat bagel and peanut butter. Also love having some instant oatmeal with a scoop of greek yogurt before an afternoon run. I keep both at work so I can get straight to the gym/trails at the end of the day.

  • I generally eat a LOT of carbs (because I run), but I unfortunately don’t make it the good carbs. Glad to see a lot of the same stuff I eat of daily on the list (such as almond butter, eggs, and bananas). I feel that I need to eat more good sources of protein, and my “good fats” is pretty good already.

    • Andrea says:

      I’m a total sucker for carbs. I could eat pasta and bread ALL day, but I rule out the white stuff, so that keeps Italian restaurant outings relatively healthy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • What a gorgeous view! I’m all about the whole, unprocessed foods thing. Eating clean really does make me feel my best. But, if I’m out to eat or unhealthy snacks are around at work, I don’t hesitate to take the less healthy route. (Almost) everything’s healthy in moderation.

    • Andrea says:

      I just hate it when people bring treats to work! I find the key is to just not start… but sometimes those cupcakes win me over… treats are just fine every now and then ๐Ÿ™‚

  • bgddyjim says:

    I love this post! I don’t follow too strict a diet. Generally speaking I ride enough that cheating isn’t really cheating. But I share your disdain for the daily changing of what is and isn’t going to kill me.

  • Andrea says:

    I almost find I eat healthier when I’m not running as much. The extra miles tend to justify indulging a little too often for me! But hey, if we’re active, then why not reward ourselves!

  • There’s so much conflicting information out there – I 100% agree with you that eating clean, whole foods is the way to go.

    I looove sweet potato after a long run. I cut up one like fries and toss with avocado oil and sea salt and bake. They’re amazing.

    • Andrea says:

      That sounds amazing! Have you ever done them with cayenne and cinnamon? It’s a staple in my house!

      • Yum. That sounds good. Never done it with cinnamon!

        I love cayenne. I put it on my kale chips all the time. Lol. Seriously try the avocado oil though (with a fresh sweet potato and leave the skin on). It makes them nice and crispy.

  • Love the info-graph. A typical pre long-run breakfast for me includes a couple of bananas, and a bowl of oatmeal with honey and dried cranberries mixed in. I pretty much eat that every morning when I’m in training mode. Hasn’t failed me yet in terms of energy during those long runs!

    • Andrea says:

      That sounds delicious! How long before you run do you eat?

      • Generally an hour or so. I’ll eat the oatmeal before I get ready, then I’ll eat the bananas while I drive to the trails. Sometimes I’ll pack a Clif bar to eat in the middle of my run (somewhere around mile 6-7)….I have to keep something on my stomach or it’s lights out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • torreywall says:

    I subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) service which delivers fresh fruit and vegetables twice a month. It always includes lots of green leafy vegetables that I’m then “forced” to eat if I don’t want to waste my money. I imagine CSAs are not as common in the northern latitudes. Stay warm and stay running!

    • Andrea says:

      We actually have a service here called The Organic Box that does just that! I’ve looked into signing up for it, but somehow just never got around to it. I’m not sure how the selection is over the winter though… probably a lot of potatoes lol!

  • tacotoosday says:

    This is great! I’m glad coffee is an approved running diet food, I thought I was the only person to drink a cup before a race!

  • It's a Secret says:

    Great info for those who run and those who ralk (run/walk) like me! Thanks for checking out my blog!

  • Thanks for the link to your other blog, as well as the information here. I have just had a read and am quite hungry now…

  • MikeW says:

    Yerba mate with honey, wild caught sardines on Wasa crackers, bagels and chocolate milk. Sheesh, think I’ll got get an EPT….

  • glamskibum says:

    That view is beautiful! Also congrats on your recent engagement!
    I eat most of those foods, except for almond butter and black beans. I cook my meals almost all the time; I make my own pizza, lasagne, spag. sauce etc. I’m really glad that my boyfriend is a chef and taught me how to cook, it tastes so much better than already prepared meals!

    • Andrea says:

      Wow, you are a lucky girl! My fiancรฉ is pretty good in the kitchen, but he’s more about efficiency than creativity. If I want to eat something other than chicken, broccoli, quinoa, sweet potatoes and cheddar cheese, then I have to take action ๐Ÿ™‚

  • My diet is a mess. When I was training for my marathon I ate really clean, but also a ton of carbs. I gained a good bit of weight, though I felt really fit and attributed a lot of it to muscle. Now that training has been over I feel like a wanderer…. eat many whole foods, but a good bit of not so healthy too :(.

    Happy to have found your blog today. Like it a lot!

    • Andrea says:

      I’ve been really careful about my calorie intake as I hear so many people put on weight training for a marathon. I figure I’d like to have as little body weight to carry as possible! It sure is tough though – sometimes I just get SO hungry even after I’ve just finished breakfast.

  • Tubby Paul says:

    Reblogged this on TubbyPaul and commented:
    This is an older post, I am gutted Andrea has stopped updating this blog, but hey, we all have other things in our lives! Lets face it the best I have managed of late are a few re-blogs! This one is worth a re-blog, even if just for the list down the left of the best minimally processed foods for runners.
    See you in the gym (or on the pavement!)


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