What “Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone” Actually Looks Like

This year I’m challenging you to Get Out of Your Comfort ZoneTo do things differently. To remember that “what got you here, won’t get you there.”

Remember, as Coach Jay Johnson once said:

To do something you’ve never done before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.

Woman Running

To get to the next level – whether that’s reaching a new race distance, running faster than ever, or finally losing those last 5 pounds – requires a new, fresh approach.

It’s not as simple as “trying harder” or “buckling down” to do the same things you’ve always done:

  • If that weight loss program hasn’t worked the last 6 times, why will it work this month?
  • If you keep getting injured, what are you doing differently this training cycle to finally stay healthy?
  • If you can never stick to eating great food, will this year’s New Year Resolution actually stick?

If you don’t get out of your comfort zone and try something new, you will likely fail again… and again.

And I know from brutal experience. I can’t count how many times my plans have failed, all because I had no system in place to help me succeed.

In college, I tried to increase my mileage to 90 mpw countless times – I got hurt after every. single. attempt. As soon as I wrote “90” in my training log, a new injury would surface. It was eerily predictable.

That failure was on my shoulders, not my coaches. I was doing too much without asking for help (getting help is NOT a sign of weakness, as I now know).

I’ve shared the intimate details of my battle with chronic injuries and how I overcame them. My injury prevention system has since helped about a thousand runners (!).

Since then, I’ve run over 90 miles several times with no injury problems – all because there was a plan in place to virtually guarantee my success. I did things differently and reaped the rewards, getting in the best shape of my life.

I want YOU to experience that same success. Soon I’ll be focusing on one of the most powerful systems that’s helped me (and thousands more) bring their running to new heights.

First, let’s look at my last training cycle – when I felt like the Incredible Hulk.

Quietly Putting in the Big Boy Miles…

Two months ago, a week before Thanksgiving, I increased my weekly mileage by 40%. Within two weeks, I was running almost double what I had been for the previous three months.

Not only was my mileage higher than it had been since before the Boston Marathon, I felt incredible. My energy levels were through the roof and recovery was at an all-time high. I was barely sore – even after hammering thousands of feet of downhill running in the Rockies.

I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. Every weekend I ran my long run in the mountains, often with 3-4,000 feet of elevation gain like this:

Elevation Profile

Not only was my mileage high, a lot of it was on technical terrain at an altitude approaching 9,000 feet. My pace was surprisingly fast, even for a long run in this environment.

The funny part? I’m not even training for a race!

This type of training was the result of combining multiple systems: my injury prevention principles with an all-new nutrition program.

Can you imagine what it feels like to complete runs like this – within a PR mileage week – and still have sky-high energy levels?

This new system allowed me to:

  • Tie my record weekly mileage level of 91, but now without feeling tired or worn down
  • Have unbelievably high energy throughout the day to play with my daughter, work like mad on Strength Running, and still have fun
  • Be fueled properly for my longest run ever: over two and half hours (at altitude)

With higher energy levels, I was able to get up early (I’m NOT a morning person) to run in the mountains and experience stunning scenes like this:

Golden sure is golden at sunrise. I stopped the car to take this photo, which makes me a tourist right??

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

 
Accomplishing the training workload from last fall required a lot of changes to how I recovered, trained, and ate. Those changes weren’t easy.

In fact, I jokingly tell my wife Meaghan all the time that “I fear change.” It’s partly true – for all of us. Change is hard, but it’s necessary for growth.

I needed to step WAY outside of my comfort zone to run high mileage like this in the mountains.  And it was worth every sacrifice.

Confession: My Nutrition Sucks

I’ve always said that my diet “isn’t perfect.” Truthfully, sometimes my nutrition is horrendous and I’ve been self-conscious about revealing that.

But it’s time that I spilled the beans:

  • I’ll eat an entire sleeve of Oreos without a second thought
  • Sometimes I only eat vegetables when my wife makes me at dinner…
  • I have a secret love of fast food (OMG give me a double Whopper with cheese and a large fry!)

This is not how a runner should eat. Especially one like me, with big running goals and who wants to set a good example for his daughter.

But last fall, I vowed to finally get it right – to figure out the best way to fuel before a grueling long run, exactly what to eat after a tough workout to spike recovery, and how to dramatically increase my energy levels.

And it worked: I was running a LOT and feeling better than ever. These nutrition strategies were responsible for an amazing month of training.

And now that the holidays are over, I’m getting back to feeling like the Incredible Hulk.

I had help, of course. I’m not a nutritionist and I’m not qualified to speak about diet too in-depth.

Over the last six months, I’ve been collaborating with Anne Mauney to figure out the specifics of fueling, eating for performance and health, and how runners can reach their goal weight.

It wasn’t easy. Because I’m naturally thin, I can eat practically whatever I want with no worry of gaining weight. So, why should I worry about nutrition? Is tweaking my diet for optimum performance and recovery really that helpful?

Yes, it was incredible! I’ve never felt so energized and invincible. But working on my diet required me to get WAY outside my comfort zone.

Learning from Anne’s experience as a registered dietitian and her extensive client work has been truly illuminating.

And soon, I want to bring all of those lessons to you.

The Failure of the Last Mile

For nearly five years, I’ve been helping runners run faster, reach their goals, and stay healthy. And I consider myself damn good at my job with results like this.

But there’s an interesting trend I’ve noticed among most runners: the failure of the last mile.

It comes in many forms:

  • Meticulously following a marathon training plan, but failing to fuel properly for the race itself
  • Buying a new GPS watch, fancy shoes, and a handheld water bottle but failing to train consistently
  • Planning a detailed training program, completing every workout, but not having a pacing strategy for the goal race

It’s focusing on the big picture (which is good) but then failing to execute the final step.

Achieving success requires you to NOT fail the last mile. You have to seal the deal.

The final details are what separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

But often, the final mile is the most difficult. It’s what requires you to dig deep and truly get outside your comfort zone.

For most of us, we focus on our training but fail when it comes to our nutrition.

And let’s be honest: WE ARE ATHLETES.

We can’t fail at our nutrition because it’s what supports our health, recovery, training and performances.

Runners can’t fail at nutrition – it’s what helps us run fast!

Click to tweet this quote!

Our diet is directly responsible for our success. If we are what we eat, then we must fuel appropriately.

Nutrition has the power to transform our running performances – but also our day to day lives: more energy to work hard and play with our kids. Better focus and a heightened sense of well-being.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on this specific area. Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone?

My Final Question for You:

If you’re ready to get out of your comfort zone, achieve your goal weight, fuel right for peak energy, and eat the most nutritious diet possible, then you’re in the right place.

These topics will challenge us – and force us to confront our bad habits – but they’re critical for helping us achieve our running goals.

If this sounds good to you, I can’t wait to go on this journey with you.

As we progress through the Year of Getting Out of Our Comfort Zones, what problems do you have with nutrition?

I won’t judge (I’m the guy who can eat an entire pizza…).

If you tell me you struggle with gorging on fast food after long runs, that’s great! I’m excited to show you strategies that can help you overcome this struggle.

Think about these two questions:

  • What is your #1 struggle with nutrition as a runner?
  • How would achieving an ideal diet help your running?

As you think about what you’re struggling with and how an ideal diet could help your running, I have a small request:

Join our free nutrition series here and we’ll send you audio Q&A’s, diet lessons from a Registered Dietitian, and the top nutrition “myths” that are holding you back.

Was this post helpful?

Then you'll love the free email lessons I've never released here on the blog. Enter your email and you'll get:

  • The exact strength exercises that prevent injuries
  • Workouts that boost your speed (even for beginners)
  • Pacing strategies, coaching Q&A, and more

Comments

  1. Kathy Brophy says:

    I need to lose a little weight and that is starting to come off. I struggle with trying to figure out how much protein, carbs, fat I need before, during and after runs. But I want it to be an easy way. I don’t want to spend the day obsessing about numbers. Sometimes I underfuel bec I’m conscious of my weight and I also worry about eating too much before a run. Sometimes I overfuel bec I want to spend time with my husband and we enjoy going out to eat, but then I come home and still have that run to get in. Timing doesn’t always work out well. But, I do a pretty good job of not going crazy at restaurants or with junk food. It’s pretty much trying to figure out an easy way to estimate what I need.

  2. Hi – great article ty 🙂
    My biggest nutritional struggle is late-night binging e.g. sandwiches shortly before sleep. Although my BMI is respectable, I guess having a better diet would help shift a few pounds, which would help me reach my racing potential.

  3. 2014 was arguably the best year of my life. I was healthy for the entire year, able to run consistently and play soccer at a high level including several tournaments that featured up to 7 games in one day. I was able to maintain a healthy weight, but I have always been a short, stocky runner.

    I got married in October, only adding to 2014 being the best year, and in order to lose a few pounds for the beach wedding, my wife and I went paleo. I loved it. I slept better, I had energy, and I lost a good amount of weight. I was down to 177 pounds, which is the least I have weighed since my college lacrosse days. I ran a 12 k in under an hour, posting a PR.

    My body responded well to paleo, but I soon found problems with trying to continue to up my miles. Once I got to the hour mark, my body started to lose it. I was used to eating carbs and running my longer runs, but since I longer was eating them, I needed to try to find other sources of natural energy.

    I am training for a half in March and currently back on paleo, and while I am not back up to the 8+ mile runs yet, I don’t want to run into the same issues. I want to PR on the half (my best is a 1:56 but I think I can do a lot better with a great foundation) and could use the help on fueling up!

    Thanks Jason.

    Joe

  4. My nutrition also is not great. It gets better, then worse then better. Each time I go through a better cycle, I am encouraged as the cycle gets longer and longer. SO I know I am building a habit.

    My number one problem is that when I am running 40 mile weeks I can eat ANYTHING without physical/visual repercussions. I don’t gain the weight. During those weeks, I get in a lot of lean protien, veggies, some fruit, good fats (Udos oil etc) but I also get in a lot of saturated fat, pizza, etc. I wonder if I would feel better if I eliminated the pizza etc. Secondly, during those high mile weeks, I find it quite hard to actually eat enough and I am constantly hungry, which leads me to food like pizza…and those six dollar burgers at Hardees….

  5. Thanks for doing this! I’m excited to see what develops.

    Answers to questions:
    •What is your #1 struggle with nutrition as a runner? — managing a healthy diet as a single person with a busy schedule and very, very limited time to cook.

    •How would achieving an ideal diet help your running? — hopefully help improve my energy, muscle development, stamina, and performance.

  6. Hi Jason,
    My answer to both questions really correlate to each other.
    My #1 struggle with my diet is that I don’t eat enough food to begin with which in turn affects my running.
    So what I need to figure out, and I am working on it very diligently, is what are the most nutritious foods to eat to not only satisfy my hunger, when its present, but to also fuel my body for solid and committed healthy running.
    I was recently told to try some protein before my long run, wow did that make a difference. I am open to any all suggestions.
    Thank you
    Wendy

  7. My biggest nutritional challenge is fueling and recovery without slugging down a pile of carbs. As a type 1.5 diabetic, carbo loading is out of the question. I have a hard enough time keeping my blood glucose under control on a fairly low carb (100 g per day) diet. My other issue is snacking at night. Although I am eating good stuff (cashews, plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, peanut butter), I eat way too much of it. Due to my work schedule, training after work is my only option, and I think this contributes to my problem.

  8. I struggle with fueling and trying to diet at the same time. I am probably one of the few people who actually gained weight while training for a marathon. I’ve read lots of articles and books, and may have stumbled on something recently that will work for me. At least it seems to be working so far. I’ve lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks and am still running. I also seem to have decent energy. I am trying for a new PR in a half marathon in May, but know that after 10+ half marathons, I still don’t know how to fuel during the extra push of the actual race.

  9. My biggest struggle with nutrition is finding the right mix to help me feel satisfied while also keeping me fueled for the workouts as well as for the recovery.

    Getting a good handle on my nutrition would mean losing the extra pounds I’ve been hanging on to to give my joints a break and help me move faster.

  10. Hi Jason.

    My number one struggle with nutrition as a runner is knowing how much to eat and self control around certain foods. I always feel hungry and end up snacking a lot. If I eat too much at meals, I feel really guilty and so I eat less but then just end up eating something else later in the day. It affects my energy levels and mood and also I am sure as inhibited weight loss. I also have a huge taste for chocolate and cheese and more than likely eat too much of both..I know I need to fix these issues but it has been quite hard for me in the past.

    I think if I could nail down my nutrition for running, I could do more intense training and significantly cut time from my marathon PR of 4:35:15 and also consider training for an Ironman 70.3; however, I feel like I won’t be able to fully commit to either of those goals unless I get my eating down to help with my training and recovery.

    Love the blog and emails, very inspiring and informative!

  11. Stephanie says:

    My number one struggle with nutrition is cutting those last 10lbs. I eat healthy (vegetarian with minimal eggs and dairy, no fast food or sugar addiction, minimal alcohol), but if I try to cut calories I feel so run down, and end up not making my paces or even injured. I can’t seem to strike a balance! I know if I could get my weight right and stop trying to cut, my running would improve!

  12. I have a snacking problem. I buy “treats” for the kids, and treat myself. I do pretty good for the first part of the week, then I fall apart. Usually I can lose what I put on during marathon training during the summer, but not this past year. I’ve got about 10 lbs. to drop to feel good again.

  13. Looking forward to what you will be sharing this year!!

    Answers to questions:
    •What is your #1 struggle with nutrition as a runner? — fueling post long runs. I really struggle wanting to eat or drink anything after running and feel as though I am really hindering the recovery process by not properly refueling after tough/long workouts. I live with a non-runner who is the cook, I am not sure how to get him on board with the food choices I want to make.

    Also, I am a giant sucker for any kind of junk food…..

    •How would achieving an ideal diet help your running? — an ideal diet would help everything! Better sleep, more energy, more focus = better (and more!) running!

    I trained for my first marathon this year (BQ!), and really cleaned up my diet during training. The results were noticeable, and days I didn’t do well translated directly to poor training runs, emergency bathroom breaks, etc.

  14. Laziness (which we’ll call lack of time to make me feel better about it) and poor self-control in a nutshell. I get home late, I go for a run, who wants to cook after that? So my evening meal might consist of a bowl of cereal, a portion of pasta or some peanut butter and nutella sandwiches (depending on what’s already in the fridge). If the girlfriend is staying over she might offer to cook (which will at least make it balanced and healthier) or we might go out for a curry – balanced possibly, but barely healthy.

    At the other end, she’s a snacker, she’ll buy herself sweets or chocolates or biscuits and then not finish them. I wouldn’t buy them myself, but what’s a guy to do – they’re just sitting there when I’m home alone – suddenly the whole pack’s gone…

  15. I don’t like vegetables so I cringe when people talk about eating healthy

  16. My struggle is sweets. I’ll eat quite a lot of chocolate and cookies almost every evening. Like six cookies and a handful of taffy. It doesn’t affect my weight but its surely crowding out more nutritious food.

  17. My strugle is to find the balance between a good nutrition and good energy levels.
    When I start running more, I crave more “unhealthy” (white bread and sugar) foods, so it’s hard to keep eating well, training more and feeling well.

    I would love to know how to eat to have more energy without gaining weight and without those cravings.

  18. My struggle is that I hate drinking water! I love coffee, tea, wine, and diet soda (trying hard to give this one up), but a bottle of water just turns me off. Even when it’s got gorgeous slices of lemon and cucumber in it, and even the kind with bubbles. I know my athletic performance suffers when I’m dehydrated…everything does, really. But how does one get jazzed about water??

  19. My #1 struggle with nutrition is eating too much at school lunches. I eat so much that I feel terrible at practice later in the day. I hope to be able to watch what I eat and gauge my hunger accurately so I do not overeat. I also want to eliminate unhealthy packaged foods and limit my sweets.

  20. #1 – I wish I wouldn’t have such a craving for simple carbs after a long run. It can really get the best of me, and then I feel guilty about feeding my body junk rather than nutrition. Also it starts the buzz-and-crash cycle of sugars that is so easy for me to fall into, and so hard to stop.

    With better nutrition I’m sure my energy level would be higher and more stable. I need to watch how much I eat as I do gain weight easily, and that makes it all the more important to not fill up the tank with sludge!

  21. #1 problem with nutrition is that I always seem to be craving food…love to get off that bandwagon!
    I’ve been wheat free for over a year and don’t have a problem fueling for regular or training runs, however, I’ve noticed that my energy plummets in the last 5kms of a half- marathon (the last two I’ve done, one in winter and one the Fall).
    I eat other grains and legumes, meat for fuel, especially before a Race, however, I’m am starting to think I don’t have enough good saturated fats In my diet (using coconut oil mainly and/ oil oil, adding grass fed butter and ghee)! I question if it’s my diet or just ineffective training! Or is it mind over matter?

    Anyway, I just want to feel energized, empowered and strong for the long runs I’m planning early this year, one half-marathon and one marathon, plus approx. 3-4 trail races!

    I did better in races last year than I’ve done in previous years, however, I have that competitive itch to do better with a fit, energetic body!

  22. I can’t wait for this to start! I read about nutrition, but never really seen an eat this when ,,,example of what a runner’s diet should look like. Let’s go!

  23. Elaine Quin says:

    Hi Jason,
    I would love to learn to eat the right foods to keep me fueled when running long distances. I would love to run long distances and feel more energized..I don’t eat properly, that’s it in a nut shell…so any help would be greatly appreciated. I love your articles and all the information you provide. Thank You and Happy New Year!

  24. Hey Jason,
    Thank you for this article. I think the most consistent problem I have with nutrition is feeling hungry more and more as my mileage increases. I have tried very diligently to increase my nutrition over the last year – but I find that I begin to crave fatty or salty foods (or both, hey french fries!) as my mileage increases. And, then I will want to “reward” myself for resisting or completing a long run.
    I think if I were able to fuel appropriately (so that I wasn’t hungry) this would help my running in respect to energy and perhaps even help with sleep! (Sometimes I wake up VERY hungry)

  25. Consuming too many calories for my 5 foot body. Achieving a good nutrition goal would help me to not feel bloated and like a plug.

  26. Just thought I would share what worked for me for nutrition. Currently I am 41 170 lbs and as measured by calipers and averaged over 4 measurements 3.7% body fat.

    1. I make a chart in my training log with the following Collins each day gets a check or an X at the end of the week I write about any X’s. Neg split, diet, core, goal.
    2. When I get home from work the first thing I do without exception is make my lunch for the next day. Not gonna detail my lunch but it’s the right amount of calories fruit veggies protein fat etc. it varies s little but not a huge amount
    3. I spread out my lunch from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm eating every hour or so.
    4. I save the most filling items for later in the day do supper stays in control such as 1 cup of black beans rice salsa verde mix
    5. Drink 16 Oz of water 8-15 times a day
    6. Have my super breakfast within 20 min of my morning run( steel cut oats raisins bananas flaxseed protein powder with vino in trivia almond milk and almonds) this breakfast is delirious and I make it on Sunday’s then have enough for the whole week just scoop some in a Howell add trivia and cumin on microwave then add almond milk and eat
    7. I have 5 teenage kids so a super healthy supper is out of the question so for supper it’s lots of wAter and portion control

  27. My #1 issue with nutrition is that i generally can’t eat anything before a run because most always it seems that after about a mile of running i get an extreme urge to have a BM. i always have to carry paper with me. if changing something in my intake can help, i’d like to know. Thanks

  28. world_runner says:

    I definitely struggle with nutrition in a good/bad way. I let my workouts determine how and what I will eat that day. Hard workout? Extra glass of wine or maybe some ice cream after dinner. Easy or rest day? I eat as little as possible to keep me from getting hangry (and, yes, that’s a word in a runner’s dictionary). I think I struggle most with just balancing things out enough that I can recover. If my nutrition was better I think I would recover quicker and have more energy for my kids, my life and my family.

  29. Hi Jason!
    Good article! And nice to know even elite runners have trouble keeping on track nutritionally!
    My #1 struggle with nutrition is sugar! I think I would feel so much better if I just cut it out completely!
    I am going to do my first half marathon in May and I am really not sure how to fuel before, during or after runs that long. The longest run I have completed so far is 8 miles. The longest race was a 10K so I really didn’t change much from 5K fueling. Last year was my best year running to date and I have made gains in getting quicker but feel if I had a better hold on my nutrition I could make even better gains this year.
    Thanks for all the good info!
    CC

  30. Hi, Jason:

    My #1 struggle with nutrition is what to eat BEFORE a race or long run. My diet is fairly consistent and I would say a close #2 struggle would be evening snacking…

    Before long runs and especially races, I’ve tried eating two or three hours before the run and still end up with a nervous and/or slightly upset stomach, feeling the need to again go to the bathroom right before the race or the long run (especially when bathrooms are not readily available).

    Your jump in mileage before Thanksgiving and your continue ability to thrive –AT ALTITUDE– makes me yearn for more information. What’s the secret????
    I’m all about feeling like this.

    As always, thanks for your article.

  31. Hi!
    My biggest struggle(s) is an addiction to sugar and fast food. Vegetables truly repulse me (unless it’s a potatoe).

    I feel like my run could improve in so many ways (faster, more mileage, fewer injuries) if I could improve my nutrition and lose weight. However, like others have said, I want it to be something easy to follow and still tasty.

  32. PuddleJumper says:

    #1: my greatest nutrition issue as a runner is how to refuel after running. I try to avoid dairy and wheat always, and yet a chunk of chicken, carrots, dates, prunes just dont fill me up after a run. I have a hard time keeping enough lean protein handy to grab after a run. I struggle with chronic hip pain and try to control that (unsuccessfully) with ibuprofin ,diet and stretching. So something isnt working right for me in that arena, because the more I run , the more I hurt afterwards.
    #2:one of my greatest desires as a runner is to have EASY to use nutritional foods and food combos that not only satisfy me but taste good and help eliminate inflammation, thereby helping me to sleep better, run better and live better in my advancing age (im 60).

  33. Great article, certainly made me think of ways I can challenge myself in 2015. Focusing on nutrition however, the main problem I have is that my job involves extensive travel – when at home my diet is, for the most part, very good. On the road/airport, things are very different, mainly due to the lack of healthy options available. Any tips to improve would be most welcome!!

  34. I have two problems that are overlapping. I generally eat very healthy, but these problems make it difficult to either maintain it or function normally.

    #1. Healthy quality whole foods are generally more expensive. With a limited budget and more expensive food, which leads to the next problems….

    #2. I am always hungry because I cant afford to eat enough quality calories for my metabolism and training levels. So my energy levels are low from not enough calories o because I try and fill up on empty calories and crash and burn.

    If you have any suggestions on how to eat healthy to provide great energy levels at an affordable price, that would be awesome.

  35. Hi Jason! I would say portion control especially at dinner is hard for me. I eat extremelyl healthy with an occasional treat but I eat with three others so there is always extra food prepared and if it is front of me I usually eat it. I think if I could kick this habit, it would leave me feeling lighter and quicker on my feet for my morning runs. Since I am active, I have always kept a healthy weight but I feel I am hindering myself from my full potential

  36. Number one problem for me is drinking enough water. Sometimes (especially in winter) I’ll drink only one glass the entire day. And I know hydration is critical to good running. Otherwise, I’d say my diet is quite good. I’ve been eating all organic and GMO free for years now and this summer went grain and sugar free too and I felt even better.

  37. In the past couple years I developed GI issues, became lactose intolerant and sensitive to certain foods. My biggest struggle with nutrition are: a) addiction to sweets; sometimes I’ll eat less of regular foods in order to fit in an extra dessert; b) figuring out the exact protein-carbs-fat mix to help me feel satisfied and properly fueled; c) eating too close to bed time; I have a feeling that it is causing me to sleep poorly.

    I would improve tremendously as a runner if I consistently follow a proper diet on a daily basis. I’m one of those people who need to follow a plan. At this time I need a diet plan as much as I need a running plan.

  38. Making sure as a vegetarian I’m not just a carbotarian! Not sure how to lose last 5 lbs and also not sure if I’m eating enough. Super excited about this topic!

  39. I want to lose fat and get leaner on a vegetarian diet as a primary goal. Performance is a secondary goal, but I’m sure I’ll be able to run faster if I’m carrying less weight. I know you’re not vegetarian, but I hope you can provide some advice for us too! Also, advice about quantities of food really would help me. I think I know basically what to eat, but quantities in terms of calories and macronutrients, numbers of servings of vegetables, proteins, etc would be really helpful. Thanks!

  40. My biggest issue is that I go to bed right after dinner. Dinner is my main meal of the day. I prefer to cook at home but I’m not too happy with the time I have dinner at. There’s not much gap between dinner time and bedtime.

  41. I am struggling with sweets and this is really limiting my running. When I am exceeding with them I have to skip my workout or I feel bad and this is really limiting my performances.
    when I was taking care of my nutrition as part of my training I was able to obtain all my PBs.

  42. Francesca says:

    I think the biggest challenge is making healthy eating a routine. I will be a super clean eater for a few weeks and then something will pop up in the schedule that makes in real easy to get fast food or eat out for a few days in a row. Definitely excited to see what you’ve got to say along with the great articles Matt Frazier has had so far this year!

  43. My biggest struggle is that at work, I’m by myself all night in a house with a refrigerator stocked with really bad food. My willpower only lasts so long… Even when I bring my own food, I crave the bad stuff and I can’t get away from it.

    If I could stop eating everything at work and eat good stuff instead, maybe I could go longer distances without getting so tired and winded.

  44. My biggest challenge (through most of my life) has been a serious sweet tooth. I too, can eat an entire sleeve of Oreos at a time. I’ve been naturally thin until I hit 40. Then all those Oreos caught up to me! I starting running 4/1/14. I cut way back on refined sugar, consistently ran 3 times per week, and started strength training and ended up losing 20 lbs. Now that it’s winter I find I’m craving fats way more than sugar. Maybe my diet is too low fat?
    Achieving an ideal diet would only enhance my running performance and keep me feeling strong.

  45. Brad Patterson says:

    My #1 struggle with running nutrition is sticking to “eating well”. I have done it for months at a time, but then eventually fall off the bandwagon. I think for me the main thing is that I just don’t really ENJOY a lot of the good healthy foods that I force myself to eat when I am eating well. It might be that I don’t know how to creatively make different recipes with quality veggies, carbs, protein and other nutrients. I end up making the same salad all the time and just get sick of it after a number of weeks.

    I also think the reason that I eventually fall off the bandwagon is that as my mileage ramps up during the training cycle (especially training for an ultramarathon), I rationalize my need for more calories are start just cramming food down; with the negative bonus of the excess “bad” food not making much change in my weight due to the extreme mileage I am running. Then after my big race, the mileage drops off but the crap eating habits continue.

  46. Gregory Frye says:

    I think that one of my biggest challenges is fueling enough for races. I run 50K to 100 mile races and obviously the needs differ depending on the length, time of year, terrain and difficulty of the course. I am still going through trial and error to find what is optimal. Coupled with this challenge is making sure that my post race recovery is solid so that I recover quickly and lessen any possibility of injury resulting from lingering muscle damage.
    I eat fairly well and stick to a good diet most of the the time but it is not as regimented as it could be in relation to the necessary ratios of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

  47. Lee jacques says:

    Hi jason
    I started running 2 years ago, im 34 yrs old and in reasonable shape, in my
    First year i was the proud owner of a stress fracture (tibia)2 months before my goal race , marathon in Dublin, ireland. I had “shin splints” prior to this but was advised to keep running(stupid advice i know but im still a novice).

    Last year i began training again slowly after the stress fracture , but as soon as i increased my mileage above 10 miles consistently, sore shins again. Off to the physio again and was told i was flat footed and prescribed orthtics which helped alot and although i completed my 1st marathon in oct 2014, i did it in 5 hrs and quite disappointed. Since using the orthotics and especially during the marathon or high mileage i get real bad pains in my hips( right on the ball). I plan on running alot this year and i would be grateful of any help. Great sitr
    Regards
    Lee

  48. Ian Hansen says:

    My nutrition sucks big time let alone for my running. I’ve never been a breakfast eater, I eat at irregular times and I never know what to eat to make sure I’m getting a good intake. I too will eat a whole pizza, chocolate block or a bag of chips/ peanuts you name it. I’ve a smallish spare tire of fat around my waist that I have not been able to shift ever but I have fairly good definition elsewhere. I’m currently trying to eat more vegetables and fruit and things that are not mass produced and full of preservatives etc. Without a solid nutrition base I know I won’t be able to push my running to the next level. I am very guilty of the “failure of the last mile” but this year it’s going to be different – I’m going to get out of my comfort zone.

    I think achieving my ideal diet would get me to the higher levels in my running I desire as well as the benefits in my life as a whole – I’m going to do it with your help (and a few others)

  49. Yes, yes, yes! I used to believe that I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted as long as it was in moderation. While I believed that there were better foods for me I still bought into the calorie myth and would “save calories” for special treats or a glass or two of wine as a reward for having such a great workout. The problem was when I decided to step up my running in 2011 and return to competitive running and racing I found myself running well for about 6 or 7 weeks and then I would either be sick or injured. It seemed like each time I got bronchitis it would take me longer than before to get well. I had some decent races during that time but never near where I felt my potential was. By October of 2013 I started to connect all the dots and realized it wasn’t my training or my age, it was my nutrition. I simple wasn’t fueling my body to run and recover! I am so glad to see other runners realized that you shouldn’t run to eat but rather #EatToRun!

  50. I have a couple main issues with my diet. First, I need really easy, quick to prepare, meals for breakfast and lunch. I don’t have a lot of time in the morning for breakfast, and I usually pack a lunch for work. The second issue is that my ideal diet, especially when I’m training, is very different than my wife’s ideal diet, so we struggle a little bit with dinners.

    I’m really jealous of Jason’s elevated energy level and I’d love to experience that. It would definitely help my running if I could do more mileage more easily and recover faster.

  51. I didn’t think I had a nutrition problem until I (very recently) started logging my meals and exercise together. Most non runners who know me generally comment on the fact that I’ll snack and don’t (obviously) put on weight which I’ve never worried about. I realise now though that I’m constantly quite heavily in calorie debt and I’m unsure what’s the best way to deal with this. I do have a habit of living on pasta but also have the dairy and fruit and I’ll often add pine nuts etc into a dish. What should I be eating percentage wise for the various food groups and is there anything you’d suggest please?

  52. So glad to see your transparency here about your diet issues!

    In response to the first question, I allow myself to cheat on my diet on days that I go running. For some reason, I rationalize it to myself that I can just burn it off by going for a run. So if I go for a run in the morning, I’ll let myself eat terribly later that day. It’s dumb and counter productive. I’ve always grown up with this mindset that it’s one or the other: ie, either good diet or going for a run. It’s hard to stay disciplined in both aspects every day.

  53. Tough question! I am quite obsessive about my diet and I feel I eat very healthy 95% of the time. MY biggest struggle? Drinking enough water. I definitely take in enough fluids through fruit/veggie smoothies, green teas, fresh milk from our dairy farm, but sometimes in the evening, I won’t have just plain water.

    I never worry about trying to eat a certain amount of calories. If I am hungry, I eat…just no junk food. If I feel run down, I try to think what I am missing. I try to eat as little processed food as possible. Living out here in the sticks, fast food is hard to come by…30+ minutes to the nearest McDonald’s…so not even tempted!

    My diet consists of kale/fruit/yogurt/coconut water/milk smoothie for breakfast with a handful of cashews. I eat a green salad with hummus and cheese and a side of fruit for lunch, almonds, pecans, or cheese for a snack, and a balanced dinner. Some cheat snacks may include my kid’s animal crackers, but overall, I am running well, because I eat well. Maybe I would feel a lot better if I just drank more water!

  54. Wanting to eat all the foods after a long run! But seriously, I think my downfall is running at abnormal times and feeling like I am starving afterwards and needing a snack, even if a full meal isn’t that far away. I think my ideal endurance weight is about 5-10 pounds less than what I’m at now, even though I’ve gotten pretty strong lifting. Overall I eat probably a 90%+ whole food diet, its the snacking on nuts and fruits after a run that probably put me over my caloric needs. These long trail races coming up would be quite a bit easier without those extra 5-10 pounds to haul up the hills!

  55. My biggest challenge is working in meals on days that I go running because my stomach gets very sensitive when I work out. I can’t run within an hour or so or eating.
    My problem is that I don’t plan my runs very well, so I don’t plan my meals around my runs. I usually just spontaneously will go for a run, but then sometimes I can’t because I’ve just eaten. Really, the issue is just organization and planning my runs and meals better.

  56. Hi Jason!
    My nutrition issue would have to be not eating enough. I get stomach issues and have to find a restroom within the first 1/2 mile of my run. No matter what I eat or when I run. I can do my morning run use the restroom before I begin but will have to go within the first Half mile. So I try not to eat the night before or morning of. Which I know is not healthy since I’m an ultra trail runner. Running on an empty stomach is never good with the amount of mileage I run. I’ve come to realize that whether I eat or don’t eat I have to go. So I’ve chosen to eat at times. Yea, not always and not bright.
    My other issue is I don’t like diets! I run and workout so I don’t think I need to diet. Although, I think Ok “I know” I need to eat healthier.
    Any suggestions? Thanks!!!

  57. That is amazing how much better of a runner you were even at altitude just by changing your nutrition habits. I train lots of runners and giving them the proper information could easily mean the difference between pr`s and term happy clients or injuries and leaving our programs. As an athlete myself playing Australian Rules Football and being one of the oldest members of the Columbus Jackaroos I need to become much more conscious of how I fuel my body so I can keep playing. I need to run more and to do that I need to eat better and lose a few unwanted pounds.

  58. This year I have really put in the effort to be disciplined with my diet. Working out and getting my miles in has never really been an issue for me but I’ve always had trouble saying no to a few beers with the bros… which always leads beers and appetizers or pizza! Since the year started though I have done a pretty good job at saying no to beer and beer munchies but with super bowl coming up… well its going to definitely be a test of my will power

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  1. […] And it’s not enough to scarf down a bagel. Runners can’t eat crappy food! We’re athletes. It’s about time we started eating like athletes. It might be difficult, but we have to get out of our comfort zones. […]

  2. […] shared my personal experience of getting out of my comfort zone and committing to eating an optimal runner’s […]