It’s pretty widely understood that healthy eating makes you feel good. As a runner, this is especially important, since food is the fuel that gets you through your long run, or helps speed up your recovery post-run. As an athlete, putting healthy food in your “tank” is critical- you wouldn’t put crude oil in your car, so probably don’t do it to your body either. I am no expert (note: not a nutritionist) but I have learned some things along the way through my years of running (ex: tomato soup before an 8 miler = not ideal). Most of what I have learned has come from the fact that a) I love to eat, b) I love to run, c) I love to make food.
In thinking about how to fuel your tank, it’s important to remember that all of the macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) are necessary for strong bodies, and quality counts. Eating high quality fats (like those in nuts or avocado) is much better for your body than eating low quality fats (like those in French fries). Having easily digestable carbs 30 minutes to an hour before a run (like a banana) is good if you need a little boost before your run. Eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein within an hour after a run is important to restock your glycogen stores and help rebuild muscle (this is why some people swear by chocolate milk post-run…also its delicious).
The most important thing to remember is that each person’s body is different, so it’s good to figure out what works for you and your body. If you are looking for ideas, below are some tasty recipes from your fellow runners. Run, eat, and feel good!
Run Alive Bowl
(inspired by Life Alive in Cambridge) makes 2 bowls
cup Quinoa-Rice (half quinoa, half brown rice, or any other whole grain)
3 cups shredded Kale
1 large Sweet potato, diced
2 Eggs (can also use tempeh or tofu…really any protein)
Hot sauce (Sriracha or Cholula are my favorites)
THE GOOD STUFF Sauce:
1 clove garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp water
Cook quinoa-rice (I do this in a rice cooker with a little sea salt, but you can do it on the stove top, just follow package instructions).
While rice is cooking, lightly oil a baking sheet, and roast sweet potato chunks for 25 minutes on 375F or until fork tender. Add kale and a little salt and cook 10 minutes more.
While potatoes and rice are cooking, make sauce. In a food processor, add ginger and garlic and finely chop. Add tahini, tamari, lemon juice, and a few dashes of black pepper. Puree. Add 1 tbsp. of water to thin out. Puree. If still too thick, add one more tbsp. of water. Sauce should be thick, but like a sauce, not a paste.
Heat a non-stick skillet and cook two eggs according to liking (I like over-easy).
Assemble bowl. Place one cup of cooked quinoa-rice in the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Top with kale and sweet potatoes. Top that with the over-easy egg. On top of all that, drizzle a healthy dose of the Good Stuff sauce. Then sprinkle with nutritional yeast and some hot sauce. Devour.
This is a free-form recipe that you can really adapt to your personal favorites or whatever you have in the fridge. Other great toppers are beets, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, sprouted legumes, mushrooms, eggplant, snap peas…the possibilities are really endless!