Pasta with tomatoes and basil

Let’s take a quick trip back in time.

It’s a Friday night in 2008 and I’m training for my first marathon. Saturday morning is long run day, and my first ever 16 mile run is on the schedule. Just before bed, I pull out the next morning’s running clothes, organize my Body Glide, Gus, and old-school Forerunner, and I make my way to the freezer.

Frozen peperoni pizza? Check. Alright, all set for the next morning.

Saturday morning I wake up, suffer through 16 miles, and stumble back in to my DC apartment. Three minutes later my frozen pie is in the oven and I’m in the shower.

30 minutes later after that, the entire pizza has been eaten and I’ve passed out in front of the TV. I will remain in front of that TV for the next 4 hours.

For the entire training cycle of my first marathon, that was my routine: Run long, devour junk food, sleep it off. Week after week.

But then, everything changed.

Sometime in the middle of training for my first ultramarathon a few years later, it dawned on me that maybe I should start paying a little attention to whether or not the food I was eating was helping or hurting my training.

After all, I would obsess over splits, routes, miles, and hills, and I would literally dream about training on a regular basis.

But food? Nah, that didn’t matter. I was an endurance athlete! I could eat whatever I wanted.

Yeah, so that turned out not to be true. It took awhile, but I finally realized that food was one of the biggest factors holding me back as a runner.

I now understand that what I eat will impact the energy I have during my run, how I recover after a run, and the general efficiency of my body.

The thing is, most runners don’t give a hoot about what they eat.

The long version of my story takes me down the path of vegetarianism and ultimately veganism (Don’t get me wrong, I still love refueling with tasty food. Burritos are my new favorite.), but we’re not going there today.

Today I have a special treat.

Coach Jason Fitzgerald on the Marriage of Running and Nutrition

Today I sit down with Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running (and a blazing fast marathoner) to chat about nutrition. We might not follow the same diet, but over the years, we’ve both come to the same conclusion: Nutrition matters for runners.

Here’s our conversation on the topic:

Here’s what we talked about:

  • Why nutrition matters for runners
  • Common mistakes most runners make when it comes to fueling
  • How to eat to run (and not run to eat)
  • Nutrition for weight-loss
  • Pre, during, and post workout nutrition
  • Our favorite post-run recovery drink

Download the audio version of this interview (Right click and select “Save Link As” to save to your computer)

Nutrition for Runners

A few months ago, when Jason asked me to speak with him for this new program tackling nutrition for runners (naturally called Nutrition for Runners), I said, “Sure! Why not?” He wanted to talk about fueling during an ultramarathon, a topic I care a deeply about.

But it wasn’t until I saw the whole program together did I fully get on board. This thing is awesome.

Jason teamed up with Registered Dietitian Anne Mauney to put together a comprehensive nutrition guide for runners. It has meal plans, recipes, and all the background information  you need to start fueling your body for better training. It even has a library of training plans from 5k to marathon.

The best part? It’s not a diet plan, and is fully adoptable to whatever style of food you like to eat.

Oh, and you’ll find interviews from several experts (and me ;))

If you want to take your running seriously, it’s time to start taking your nutrition seriously. Nutrition for Runners is a good place to start.

Side note: As a contributor to the program, I’m also an affiliate, so if you end up purchasing the program through one of these links, I’ll get a cut.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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