Food as Fuel

Todays Workout- 10 Miles at an easy pace on trails

Want to know the question I get asked most often by email? First “How do you like Coach Hadley?” I get that one often (I like him very much). The second “What do you eat?” To sum it up, I eat about 90% healthy and 10% random. Choosing healthy foods is not difficult for me because I happen to love veggies, salads, soups, etc. Sweets have never been my thing but I love starchy carbs so if I want Doritos or french fries, I have them, but they are not bought often; same thing with Diet Coke. As Sesame Street says “It’s a sometimes treat.”

I never count calories, seems like way too much work and worry but I do make it a point to make sure enough calories are consumed on a daily basis. Since I am not trying to lose weight, it is important that I match my caloric needs (2500+ Calories) instead of going into a deficit. One of the best things about running is HUGE meal portions πŸ™‚ I try my best to make sure I remember that food is fuel so each meal choice should be one that is nutritionally beneficial. That cliche that “Food is Fuel” is absolutely true and may be especially important in growing bodies (kids) and stressed bodies (runners) so I try to show my kids how to eat healthy from watching us and mostly only providing healthy options but that, of course, it’s okay to have treats here and there.

Breakfast is usually coffee or tea with a 4 egg veggie scramble and a piece of whole wheat toast around 7 am but if I’m feeling rushed I’ll reheat leftovers from dinner the night before. I’m the weirdo eating spaghetti for breakfast. I’ll have some Heed or Gatorade before my morning run at 8:30 then a recovery drink (like Hammer Recoverite) or snack after the run. Lunch is a sandwich, soup, or serving bowl sized salad with tons of protein and carbs in it. I also run again in the afternoon 4 out of 7 days and will have a snack at 3 with my kids, like cut up fruits, veggies, and some crackers or yogurt. Dinner varies every night. Throughout the day I am drinking green tea with almond milk, hot cocoa, and cherry juice mixed with water. Lately I’ve been snacking before bed which I had never done before. With higher mileage and maybe more accurately- higher intensity- than I’ve ever done before, my body has been wanting some calories before bed. Anyone else notice it’s the intensity that ups the hunger? Just me?

So continuing with this food theme- The kind crew at Runners World were sweet enough to send me an early release copy of their new cookbook, named appropriately- The Runner’s World Cookbook. Considering I am in the midst of high mileage weeks and in a perpetual state of hunger, I was thrilled. While this is a running blog, I’ve never leaned towards the “healthy living” side of writing so I was grateful to be included. The idea of a cookbook geared towards endurance athletes was exciting. For that reason my favorite feature in the book is that every recipe has clearly typed labels like “PreRun”, “Recovery”, “Gluten-Free”, etc.

Be forewarned that I did not major in Food Photography. The recipe I chose to share with you may not be the prettiest but I chose it because it’s the one I’ve been making for myself most often. It’s called “Stick-with-you Polenta” and is easily amendable for whatever toppings you have on hand. It caught my eye because it was listed under the “Fast” and “Recovery” tabs and honestly I have been sick of oatmeal for ages and this is a perfect alternative. It’s also vegetarian and gluten free in case you like that route. The recipe says it takes 10 minutes but I leave all the ingredients out next to my stove before I leave for a longer run (over an hour) then I can come back, wash my face and hands while the pan gets hot, and cook it in 5 minutes to get the protein/carbs in to recover those muscles fast. It’s beneficial post-run but I also love it for a snack anytime.

Stick-with-you Polenta

Bring 1 cups of milk (I have used almond milk also in a pinch, works fine just contains less protein) to a boil, whisk in 1/4 cup instant polenta and stir until thick. The book says 5 minutes, but mine is always about 2-3 minutes. I use a 12 inch wide cast iron skillet. Stir in 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/8 cup almonds, and 1 tablespoons honey. Easy Peasy.

Quick, Easy Muscle Replenishing.

Some other Runners World Cookbook Recipes:

Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie


Potato Leek Soup- Way yummier than it looks!


Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (Made mine into bars, needed ice cream of course)

Here is the link if you are interested in checking out The Runner’s World Cookbook. I plan on making the Crab & Black Bean Tacos for lunch today….sounds great right? I probably won’t get another chance to post before my half marathon this Sunday so wish me luck. I am hoping for a nice PR (sub 1:20?! Maybe?!) There is no tapering for this race since it is a tune up for our build to Philly. Including the race I should still hit 80 miles for this week but the two days before are an easy pace so hopefully we found the perfect balance of racing great on race day and still getting in a huge quality week for our “A” race at the Philadelphia Marathon. Have a great week everyone and good luck to everyone racing!


21 thoughts on “Food as Fuel

  1. Those recipes look amazing! Yum yum! I think you are a great food photographer! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I totally get extra hungry during marathon training. I feel like I’m never full… Same thing right now with post-baby and nursing! πŸ˜‰

    Good luck in your half! You will get that PR!


  2. The food looks good to me, even if you’re not a photographer. It sounds like the kind of stuff runners would like to eat and would be tasty- like the smoothie after a hot run and the oatmeal and soup after a cooler run. I definitely want to check out that cookbook when I can get my hands on it.


  3. First off, SUPER GOOD LUCK this weekend! You are going to knock it outta the park… or should I say, across the finish line! My mileage and intensity are increasing as well and my appetite is right there with it. Those chocolate oatmeal cookie/bars are right up my ally!


  4. I know I should eat quick after my workouts but I’m never hungry when I get home from a run or teaching classes. I really need to start bringing a protein mix for recovery in my car so I have it on the way home but I keep forgetting. Those look like delicious options though, I’ll have to check out the book!!!


  5. I like it better when the food looks like something I would make instead of a cover shot of Bon Appetit. And TWO posts in the same week??????? We are #soblessed!!!!
    Have a great race this weekend!


  6. I have not seen instant polenta. I will have to check it out. I think I probably could have used it in my 92.7 miles in my 24 hour ultra last Saturday. I was constantly hungry. I continually smashed half cooked potatoes in a mound of salt and thought I was heaven. I think the polenta would be tastier!
    Good luck this Saturday…remember: FOLLOW YOUR DREAM; and the BODY WILL FOLLOW!


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