UPDATE: Although I did use this diet for a while, I can now confidently say that I do not think it was good for me long term. I strongly recommend taking a listen to this podcast with Nancy Clark, to hear why I changed my mind.
I talked about how I felt so much better for doing the high fat and high protein diet, and I can now say that again that this runner diet (although I still hate the word!) is working very well for me.
If you have ever wondered:
What do elite runners eat?
Well, hopefully by now you know that I do share more than any other female elite (or male for that matter). I don’t mind sharing my fuel foods, my prerace meals, and of course, the sweets I enjoy every single day.
After the marathon, I did my two weeks of full on indulging as I always do, where I eat whatever the heck I want and gain weight like crazy, and I believe its a good thing (Really!). During those two weeks, there really is no elite runners diet, just eating by what I like.
If you don’t believe me, listen to this podcast with Lanni Marchant, where we discuss what in season and out of season elite eats look like (and they are not what you expect!). *Note* Many elite runners diet plan will not allow this kind of eating, they might be a little more restrictive, but Lanni and I just like to be real and believe after a marathon, we all deserve to splurge 🙂
I took a few weeks to reign it back in, but now I am back to eating a high fat, high protein diet, and I can already feel the difference.
I hate to admit it, but you truly do feel SO much better eating this way over the typical marathoner diet, and not to mention it is great that I do not have to worry about eating chicken thighs because they contain more fat, or limiting my oils while cooking, or even taking SPOONFULS of coconut butter (aka pure fat) out of a jar as a snack.
I feel so much more satiated, and it does not leave me with that rumbly, hungry feeling every hour like I did in the past.
I was actually really nervous getting ready to put the post out last week about eating more fat and protein every day.
I thought I would be hammered with negative comments of people asking me what the eff I was doing?! How can I be a runner who doesn’t eat pasta or oatmeal or even healthy whole grains?
What kind of runner’s diet is this girl recommending?
Even though I made it clear that I have found a common ground by making sure my plan to eat keeps my dinner time meals pretty much the same with food runners are famous for, I have found that actually, a lot of the time I don’t want those anymore.
The more I am eating in this way, the less I am craving those typical carb heavy, stodgy meals.
We may occasionally have stuffed peppers with quinoa or go out for a pizza or lunch at a gourmet sandwich place (Wallace Station for East Hampton Hot Ham and Brie Panini is worth breaking for), but for the most part, I actually enjoy eating the meat or fish (grass-fed/free range/sustainable of course), along with a lot of vegetables and fat.
And actually I am not even low carb this way. I still get a good amount of carbs through the vegetables, as you can eat all you like. Remember that all vegetables, even broccoli, contain carbs, it’s just not sugars like the processed kinds.
Despite not getting bombarded with people telling me I have disordered eating like I expected, instead I was shocked with how many people said they want to give this a try.
The question I got the most was, can you tell me what you do eat in a day?
I told you I did not drop my calories (still estimate I get around 3000-3500 a day), and I gave you the foods that I eat in general, but I guess you guys wanted a more exact amount to see just what that means.
So that’s what I did.
I am not really a fan of tracking my calories, as just don’t feel the need anymore.
Calories do not really mean anything.
Sure they give you a rough idea of how much you are over or under doing it, but I often found that I would end up feeling bad about myself if I was “over” (as if the caloric measurements are that accurate anyway), or if I was under, I would eat more just cause I could, just cause I like eating, not because I was hungry.
And I am really working on honing in on that intuition and listening to my body.
Calorie counting is definitely not that.
So instead, I just wrote down everything I ate for one day, with how much, for you to see, and here it is.
Note: This was a “healthy” day. I would say this is about as squeaky clean as my diet gets.
Other days there will be a few more foods in there that are probably not ideal for health.
Steve and I do go out to eat a few times a week, and those are the times I get whatever I want, bread, sugar and all. But here is an example of a nutritious day of eats.
So here is exactly what I ate:
1 tbsp Nutiva coconut manna SO good
1 cup Fuzzy Duck coffee with 1 tbsp creamer (creme brûlée – Eeeek cringe, but its soooooo good!)
3 brazil nuts
1 tbsp Power Fuel Nuttzo
1 tbsp Nutiva coconut manna #addicted
4 large eggs with 1/2 cup tomatoes and 2 mushrooms in an omelette (cooked in 1/2 tbsp ghee)
1 square Trader Joes Dark Chocolate
1 cup parsnips, roasted
1 tbsp homemade almond butter
1/2 cup sweet potato chunks, roasted
1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Nuttzo
1 handful almonds (apparently I was enjoying nuts today!!)
1 bottle Mamma Chia & Greens Beet and Ginger
1 serving Epic Bison Jerky
1 boneless chicken thigh cooked in honey and lime marinade
1 cup broccoli apple salad
1 cup Trader Joes Israeli couscous cooked in bone broth
2 grilled pineapple rings
1 1/2 cups Candy overload ice cream (with sprinkles) in our lovely new soapstone bowls
3 blocks Dairy milk chocolate
A lot of food, right?
I would hope that if you have been reading my blog for a while that you know I do not restrict, nor do I look like a rail, so you know I eat, and besides, when Tawnee did a nutritional analysis, she told me my caloric intake was more than enough, phew!
The key here is that it is mostly whole, real foods, and the best way to make sure you stick to this is by preparation.
You have to put aside a few hours on a Sunday (or another day) to prepare nutritious foods, so that when you are busy during the week, or get in from somewhere STARVING, you have healthy options to reach and grab, as that is when we tend to make more choices, when those healthy choices require time and effort that we just do not have.
I wrote a whole post explaining exactly how to food prep without breaking the bank, you can read it here.
I spent a few hours a week preparing the foods and putting them into containers that are easy to eat when I need them. That means cooking up mountains of roasted vegetables, grilling 8 chicken thighs at a time, and filling your pantry with nutritious staples from brands you can trust. Some of my favorites are on my Team Ice Cream page.
I said I was not eating much of the processed foods, and I told you I had cut cereal, but in the evenings I can have a few things that are not so good for me, and I loved their granola clusters so much that it was worth sacrificing other things for, and I didn’t even need to feel guilty as the ingredients list is pretty stellar, especially as it is high in fat and protein!
So, there you have it, a full explanation of my diet, and I really did write down all that I ate that day plus one brand I would trust if you do need some prepared foods to take with you….let’s face it, with summertime here already, refrigerated foods do not last that long out of the fridge!
Was it what you expected? What brands do you enjoy prepared foods from?
Marathon Nutrition Cheatsheet
Don't leave race day to chance! Nail your marathon nutrition using this plan