Have you ever heard this famous line among distance runners?
If the furnace is hot enough, it will burn anything.
It’s a common way for runners to justify eating whatever they want. If the caloric needs are high enough – the logic goes – then any fuel will do:
- Just rocked a great long run? Bring on the pizza and soda!
- Had a successful race? Treat yourself to a burger and fries (and maybe a beer…)!
- Running higher mileage than usual? A nightly bowl of ice cream can’t hurt…
The problem, of course, is that you’re not a furnace burning anything and everything for heat.
You’re a runner who needs nourishing food to recover quickly, promote health and longevity, and fuel your training.
You wouldn’t put olive oil in your car and expect it to run well… would you?
You wouldn’t put a gallon of gasoline in your car and expect it to cover 150 miles… would you?
Of course not!
Diet is more important than most runners realize – and the effects of poor eating habits can derail anybody’s running:
- If you don’t eat enough, you’re more prone to running injuries and won’t run as quickly during races or workouts
- If you eat too much, you’ll gain weight and running economy will suffer
- A sub-par diet results in poor recovery (and could result in weight gain, too)
- A sub-par diet also causes low energy levels outside of running
But if you dial in your nutrition then performances will improve, recovery will be faster, and you’ll just feel better.
And I think every runner would benefit from that.
To help optimize our dietary choices and approach to fueling, I invited author Matt Fitzgerald onto the podcast today.
Matt Fitzgerald: “Eat Like an Elite!”
Over the last several years, Matt has been investigating the eating habits of professional endurance athletes around the world.
And his findings are powerful. World-Class runners in the United Sates, top swimmers in Australia, and champion triathletes in South Africa all have one thing in common: their diet.
There’s overwhelming evidence from around the world – and indeed, from every type of endurance sport – that the best runners in the world all eat the same way.
Matt calls this approach The Endurance Diet and outlines five foundational habits that shape how elite runners fuel their training.
Whether you want to get faster, lose some weight, or just look more like an elite runner, then this approach will work for you.
On the Strength Running Podcast, we talk about these five core habits:
- Eat everything
- Eat quality
- Eat carbohydrates
- Eat enough
- Eat individually
And do you know why I’m so adamant about this approach?
It’s not because I really like Matt’s last name (but let’s be honest: it has a nice ring to it).
It’s not because it gives you permission to eat carbs, unhealthy foods (in moderation!), and enough to feel satisfied.
It’s because it works!
I spoke with numerous Registered Dietitians to create Strength Running’s nutrition content – and every single one of them is on board with this approach. These nutrition experts:
- Have advanced degrees and certifications in nutrition
- Advise Olympians at the world-class level
- Appear on television as thought leaders in the diet space
- Consult with pro sports teams like the Boston Red Sox and Orlando Magic
I’ve always said that if you’re going to model your behavior after someone, model it after the best.
Links and Resources:
- The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better
- Two (free) audio seminars on diet Q&A with Anne Mauney and myself
- Matt’s other book that I thoroughly enjoy: Racing Weight
- The diet of elite OCR athlete Kimber Mattox
- The diet of elite marathoner Ariana Hilborn
If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to thank Matt on Twitter. I know he’ll appreciate it!
This episode of the Strength Running podcast is sponsored by Generation UCAN, a very different type of fueling product that stabilizes blood sugar and delivers steady energy with no GI distress.
They have a patented preparation process for corn starch, which creates a fueling product that works very differently than anything else on the market:
- Their “SuperStarch” results in no GI distress because it’s not sugar-based
- With no sugar and longer-lasting energy from more complex carbohydrate, there’s no crash or cravings post-run
- It allows you to use less fuel overall because there’s no crash
I’m proud to partner with a brand that I use myself, that’s trusted by elites like Meb Keflezighi, and works so well.