Diet is a strange thing to talk about, at least in the general public. Everyone associates it with weight loss, but that is not what this is about. It’s about how we (Hosarunners) fuel our bodies to perform our best for the sport we love the most, endurance running.
Now, most runners fuel themselves on a high Carbohydrate diet, you would be hard pressed to find a handful of runners that are low Carbohydrate. When I say carbs I mean beer, bread, candy, potatoes, soda, pizza, sugar, sugar, sugar. Usually, on race night, they have a carb loading dinner. This said dinner usually consists of pasta, red meat sauce, and bread with cake for dessert. Josh and I may eat or drink some of these things on occasion, but we mainly fuel ourselves with whole foods, fat, tea, and coffee.
Almost two years ago we stumbled across The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. We learned that if we became fat adapted instead of carb adapted we would have a less likely chance of bonking (super low energy) while running. Carb eaters (300+ grams a day) need to constantly eat carbs (gels, candy, bread, soda) to keep their energy up during a run. While fat eaters ( 100 or fewer grams of carbs a day) only need to eat carbs (nut butter, sweet potatoes) every 10-15 miles. Fat eaters will use their own body fat to fuel an endurance run.
If you take an average day of eating from Josh and I it would look something like this: Fat coffee (MCT oil, coconut oil, gelatin, cinnamon) in the morning. The coffee usually keeps me full for 3-4 hours. Lunchtime brings around a large salad or sauteed veggies with large amounts of salt and seasoning (I like my food to taste good when my tongue is involved). I usually eat fish for lunch so I’ll either use a larger portion (5-8 oz) of wild-caught salmon or tuna. My favorite dressing is lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. Tea is sometimes involved with lunch and sometimes not. Dinner is where I put most of my effort, we eat as a family with no electronics at the table. So more attention is paid to what everyone is putting in their mouth. Dinner is usually some kind of roasted veggie tossed in bacon grease, duck fat, or avocado oil, salted and seasoned. Then I make a deconstructed salad ( all the toppings on the side). The meat could be anything. I could make shredded, baked, pressure cooked, seared, BBQ’d meat. The possibilities are endless.
Now when Josh and I are doing training runs the nutrition is a bit different. I just use my favorite electrolyte drink (Ultima), and water. If the training run is over 12 miles I will take an individually packaged nut butter or a Muir Energy paste (whole food type of gel, made from sweet potatoes). I make sure to also take pink or Celtic salt with me. It helps with cramping and hydration.
When we are racing it’s similar to what we eat while training, but I eat a bit of the food the aid stations provide. I’ll mainly eat peanut m&ms and potato chips. I try and stay away from any of the soda or other candy.
Eating this way has helped me become a more energy stable runner. I’m not absolutely drained after a 50k. Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired, but I don’t feel like I’m going to fall over and go to sleep anymore. I can still go home and be a mom, that is my number one reason for all of this. If I can do the things that I enjoy and come home to be an active mom then I will.
It all comes down to eating a whole food diet and making food that I want to eat every day. I try and keep it fresh and tasty. I hate boring, blame food.