I was recently asked about diet and nutrition; specifically what I eat to maintain or improve performance.
Before I answer the question, here are my stats.
- 36 years old
- 5′ 6″
- 127 lbs.
- Average 40 miles a week
- Primary run of choice – long and hilly; distance over speed
- Marathon PR – 2007 Silicon Valley 3:52 (8:51 pace)
- Half Marathon PR – 2007 Rock N Roll Half 1:45 (8:01 pace)
- 10 Mile PR – 2006 Cabbage Patch Ten 1:16 (7:37 pace)
- Short distance PR – 2008 Pat’s Run 4.2 Miles 30:11 (7:11 pace)
On the one hand I don’t pay much attention to what I eat. On the other hand I am very aware of my health, weight, and shape. If I reach 130 lbs. I cut back. If I fall to 125 lbs. I eat more.
I am a simple eater in that I don’t actually like all that much. I don’t eat meat; it doesn’t interest me. In fact, I have been a pretty steady vegetarian for over 15 years. — Full disclosure, I sneak bacon on Sunday morning when I cook it for my family. I am only human. — I almost never eat fried food or fast food. It grosses me out, which I think helps me maintain a healthy diet. I never proactively try to balance protein with carbs with anything else. I just sort of eat what I eat. I also bake, a lot. And I eat what I bake.
So here goes my normal weekly diet. Lots of granola cereal with soy milk. I can eat it for breakfast and dinner. Usually sushi a couple times a week. Tons of fruit. I probably average 3-4 pieces a day. Raw vegetables multiple times a week. I love baby carrots and snack on them all the time. Avocados and tomatoes are also snacks of choice, as is a cup of yogurt. Usually two eggplant sandwiches a week. I always enjoy pizza night. I often make the pizza myself and it is always vegetarian. I love cheese and probably eat it every day. And to that end, I could live off of jalapeno cheese bread from Safeway. Oh and I eat veggie omelets at least twice a week.
I drink a ton of water, too much coffee, a little diet Coke and a glass of wine or beer a couple times a week.
I complement all of this with a nibble of pie or cake and some cookies, usually all homemade by little ol’ me.
That’s honestly about it. What about the pasta you might ask? I don’t actually like pasta that much. Blasphemy for a runner, I know. But true.
So as you can see, I am not one to advise on diet for performance. The one thing I live by for running is a bagel with honey about an hour before a marathon. I also have my racing nutrition down pretty well. I have a good idea of when to drink water vs. sports drink, when to eat GU, when to open the Power Bar, and what not to do.
I guess I don’t pay attention unless I am racing, then I know exactly what I am doing.