5 Simple Nutrition Rules For Runners

You Can't Run Off A Bad Diet

As a runner it is important to understand that you must EAT and TRAIN and not DIET and EXERCISE. There is a big difference between those two types of approaches to your running. When I made that shift in my own brain and started to make shifts to my nutrition and my workouts, my body and my running changed in all kinds of ways!

I know you struggle with nutrition. We all do.  We are good at running and breaking our bodies down. While the running part can be relatively simple, the healthy eating part can feel so complicated

One reason for the confusion is that there are so many diets and fads out there it that nutrition is hard!  Paleo, Carb Cycling, Whole30, high-fat/low-carb, Keto, vegan, and other trendy diets tempt those of us who are looking to increase our energy, decrease bloating, improve performance and shed fat.

And yet, most top athletes do not eat specific diets. Have you read Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook yet? She has everything from bison meatballs to grain salads to microbrews. I recently interviewed Nate Helming of the Run Experience and asked what his favorite post run recovery food was and he said a big rack of ribs. For top athletes, nutrition is simple: high-quality, nutrient dense foods and minimal overly processed foods. 

“There are three reasons why you should follow the example of… elites and eat everything. First, eating everything is healthy. Second, eating everything is natural. And third, eating everything is enjoyable.” – Fitzgerald, The Endurance Diet.

Over my 12 years as a physiotherapist, holistic living, run coach, and struggling with my own eating and energy for years, I’ve found a healthy, happy balance with food as fuel. I've learned healthy eating does not have to be complicated and it can be nutritious, delicious and easy all at the same time. By following the rules I am about to outline for you, you can eat healthy, lose weight, feel amazing and run strong too.

  1. Eat everything -  Eating everything is healthy, natural and enjoyable.
  2. Don't starve yourself - Stop counting calories. Eating too little will not only make your running feel heavy, but overtime can disturb your metabolism and hormones that regulate hunger (such as ghrelin and leptin) and send your body into starvation mode. Your body will start clinging to its fat stores, drawing energy from muscle and lean tissues. You’ll be losing the muscle mass that’s essential for keeping your body strong and workouts productive. Muscle mass boosts your metabolism, so over-restricting your calorie intake will actually impair weight loss not to mention a 200 calorie candy bar is totally different than 200 calories of almond butter, hemp seeds and a banana.
  3. JERF (Just eat real food) - Sticking to this simple rule 80% of the time is a great goal because no one has any fun striving for perfection.
  4. Don't eliminate entire food groups - By not eliminating any food group if it is not medically necessary, you don’t eliminate any certain nutrient. You don't create stress about your eating or deprive yourself. Yes you can eat carbs and still lose weight, feel great and run strong!!!
  5. Eat acomplete meal every 3 - 4 hours while awake - A complete meal is balanced, healthy and contains a carbohydrate, a healthy fat, a vegetable and a lean protein. At every meal you should be eating: 1 fist of vegetables, 1 palm of protein, 1 cupped hand of carbohydrates and 1 thumb sized portion of fat. This will generally provide you with everything you need to re - fuel, maximize your recovery needs between workouts, set your body up to burn fat all day long naturally and it will also keep sugar cravings in check. If you are hungry between meals, eat a snack that contains a carbohydrate, a healthy fat, a vegetable and a lean protein. Skipping meals and skipping on fats and proteins will disrupt your blood sugar balance and will lead to suugar cravings no amount of will power can resist.

BONUS TIP: Drink Water

Most people are dehydrated without even realizing it. Lack of hydration can cause us to feel hungry and even feed into our sugar cravings. If you feel like you are craving something sweet, have a big glass of water and see what happens.  If your craving subsides, there is a good chance you were dehydrated

Whether you are a brand new runner or your have been running for years, nutrition is critical to your training, your health and feeling at your best. Nutrition without dieting or restricting is critical to you running STRONG and setting your body up to burn fat and feel amazing.

Inside The RunningMoms Online Training Club I teach you exactly how to combine effective workouts for runners with simple macro nutrition strategies so that you can transform your body from an exhausted, carb craving, sugar burner to an energized, nutrient craving, pro fat burner. There is no magic pill, shake or wrap, just adjusting yoru training so that you are working with your body instead of against it to get fit, run faster and build a super STRONG and healthy runners body that will feel amzing.


XOXO - Carey

Physiotherapist and Founder of RunningMoms

Need help CRUSHING your next 5k, 10k or 21k or health goal? JOIN THE RUNNINGMOMS ONLINE TRAINING CLUB HERE

Want to get fit, run faster and build a STRONG and super healthy runners body that feels amazing??? JOIN THE RUNNINGMOMS ONLINE TRAINING CLUB HERE