basic nutrition for runners

I run a decent amount (~50-60 miles per week on average) but I’m awful with nutrition.  Historically my poor eating hasn’t been a noticeable issue.  But as I approach 37, I’m starting to feel more sluggish during training if I eat poorly or fail to hydrate adequately prior.  Though this observation should be a catalyst for change on it’s own, I’m still finding it challenging to maintain a clean diet.

By writing out high level nutrition principles / guidelines to follow, my hope is that if I better understand why certain foods help my performance, then I’ll be more focused on committing to a healthy diet on a regular basis.

This will likely be an evolving document as I plan to use it as a tool to get smarter and become healthier.


Core principles:

  1. Stay balanced (nutrients, macros)
    • But eat more veggies always
    • Avoid synthetics if possible (and simple carbs even though that’s impossible given affinity for candy)
  2. Drink more water
  3. Listen to your body
  4. Don’t talk about it to anybody else (it’s really boring to everybody but you, just keep it to yourself)



  • Drink healthy amounts of it
  • Helps transportation of nutrients
  • Helps keep your temperature balanced
  • Helps keep muscles from fatigue


  • Vitamin D:
    • Good for bone health (1,000 – 5,000 IU per day)
  • Iron:
    • Helpful in red blood cell formation
    • Check for deficiency first


  • Focus on general principles first:
    • Important to balance each type of main food group on a daily basis (Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates)
  • Protein:
    • Purpose:  catalyst for muscle repair
    • Healthy proteins include chicken, lean beef, peanut butter, egg whites 
  • Fats:
    • Purpose:  key energy source, can fuel aerobic metabolism
    • Healthy fats include nuts, avocado, oil
  • Carbohydrates
    • Purpose: key energy source
    • Choose complex carbs over simple carbs
    • Complex carbs include bananas, kale, whole wheat bread

Post run nutrition:

  • Focus on hydration first, then eat as you have an appetite