Do you suggest any specific diet plans to follow? I have a hard time eating red meat and chicken but love fish.
I’m not a nutritionist, so I shouldn’t give you full blown nutrition advice. To be honest, it’s more important that you try really hard to maintain a healthy relationship with food than it is that you follow a certain diet. While eating healthy is good for you (and for everyone!), it is easy for a Type A person (like me and many distance runners, maybe yourself!) to fall into an obsessiveness with food and what you’re eating and how much. Especially in our sport.
Focus on what your body needs to repair and stay healthy and robust – a variety of nutrients! Eat real food with real nutrients – fruits, veggies, meats (fatty and lean!), seeds, nuts, beans, dairy unless it makes your stomach hurt. Carbs and grains are OK! You need the energy. Sweet potatoes are superfoods! Change it up so you get a lot of different nutrients. Hydrate well every day. Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook Run Fast Eat Slow has some really fun recipes to try.
If you feel subconscious about how your body looks, ask your coach if your team can have the option to wear looser shorts and tank top jerseys instead of the skin tight uniforms. I even did this in college at Nebraska (see below), so I could “run free” and not worry about sucking in my stomach.Embed from Getty Images
Honestly, if I could go back to my high school self, I would say to her: “You are training so hard and you are doing so awesome! You’re amazing and I’m so proud of you! Stop stressing about your diet and think about food as your fuel and your power. Enjoy the fact that there are many wonderful things to eat, and please have birthday cake when it’s someone’s birthday, and eat a couple of Mom’s cookies when she makes them!”
This is a very important part of your success: now and in the future; in running and in life. If you can fight this mental battle and learn to be friends with food and your body, you will have a more successful and happier career, and that is what you deserve. So while I can’t give you specific nutrition advice, I can plead with you to look at the big picture. This is something that can affect your mentality towards running and towards life. Look at having a healthy mindset as just important as your training.
This is a huge issue in our sport, and it has been for decades. We can change it one teammate at a time. If YOU have a healthy relationship with food, you can set a good example for your teammates. Together, you can change things for your generation and the generations that follow.