Eat Well, Run Better!
The wholefood fuel plan: perfect ingredients and great recipes to boost your health and your running
We all know what ‘run fast’ means. And ‘eat slow’ is self-explanatory, too, right? Well, it means much more than very slowly bringing the fork to your mouth. It represents a way of eating that includes preparing nourishing meals from scratch, sitting down at a table instead of eating on the go, enjoying food in the company of friends and family, seeking out foods that were grown or raised with care and tuning in to what our bodies need to thrive, rather than simply survive. As runners we may be more in tune with our bodies’ nutritional needs than most, but our fast-paced lifestyles often make it hard for us to find the time (and energy) to cook, and our go-to fuel sources come with their own issues. Convenience foods (including bars, gels and sports drinks) lack real nutrition and are high in refined grains, processed sweeteners, industrial oils and artificial ingredients. For runners who are constantly breaking down their bodies during intense training sessions, nutrient-dense foods are critical to proper, faster recovery.
‘ When coaches and athletes are asked what is the major contributor to good athletic performance, they often say things like V02 max, training load or a particular type of training,’ says Dr Ron Thompson, co author of Eating disorders in sport (Routledge). ‘But a major contributor to good athletic performance is good health and the major contributor to good health, other than genetics, is good nutrition. The well-nourished athlete will not only perform better, but will perform better for longer.’
‘Indulgent nourishment’ is how we define our way of eating slow. We know our hard-working bodies need substantial fuel, so we indulge in our favourite whole foods. By filling up on the healthy foods we love and not obsessing over calorie counts, carbs or fat, we’re able to eat in tune with what our bodies need.
All of our recipes have been crafted to maximise flavour and nutrition and to minimise inflammation, digestive distress and toxins. They were vetted and tested by an incredible team of runners, the most important of whom was Shalane. She found that with her new regimen her racing weight came naturally – no deprivation needed. She was enjoying food more than ever and was recovering faster from 24-mile training runs at 6,910 feet. During recipe testing, Shalane ran a marathon PB, broke her own US 10K road record and qualified for her fourth Olympic marathon, in Rio, where she finished an impressive sixth.
WE'RE ABLE TO EAT IN TUNE WITH WHAT OUR BODIES NEED
Shalane Flanagan (left) and Elyse Kopecky share a love of running and good food
Adapted from RUN FAST, EAT SLOW: NOURISHING RECIPES FOR ATHLETES (Rodale), by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky.