Nutrition for Runners and A Recipe!

Since we have all been eating a ton the last few days and are likely settling back in to our workout routines I thought it would be a good time to go over some nutrition tips for runners and share a favorite recipe of mine! I’m heading back to Boston today and definitely need to start getting back to my normal routine since I start training for the Boston Marathon on Tuesday! This is a great reminder for me and you as well!


Eat Breakfast.

I know this should go without saying but I’m still going to say it.  Too many runners or people who workout tell me that they don’t eat breakfast and I always cringe.  Here’s why, eating breakfast helps maintain your metabolism.  This means that eating breakfast will actually help your body process the food you eat and ultimately help you lose weight or maintain your weight.  I also have a vivid memory of my college running coach saying “breakfast is your 3pm energy!”  If you not much of a breakfast person, try a fruit smoothie.  Runner’s World has tons of recipes.  If you claim you don’t have time opt for a yogurt and a banana.  Both are easy to take with you and convenient.

Opt for small meals.

Over the years I have tried many different ways of fueling myself.  I started with 3 large meals a day.  Then moved to a large breakfast, a smaller lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner throughout the day.  Now, I eat about 6 small meals a day.  I start with cereal or oatmeal and a fruit smoothie for breakfast.  Around mid-morning I opt for a banana and some almond butter, at lunch time I have a salad or a small portion of leftovers.  Around 3pm I have a banana and a granola bar.  And then I usually have dinner with some protein and vegetables.  Eating smaller meals allows your blood-sugar to remain level and additionally allows for you to anticipate your energy needs throughout the day and fuel as necessary.

Eat within 30 minutes of a workout.

Eating within 30 minutes of your workout allows your body to replenish nutrients and energy stores you may have lost during your workout.  It also helps to rebuild muscle.  This is essential so you can keep running and working out to your best ability the next day and the day after!

Carb Loading.

If you have a race that you are planning to carb load plan ahead, carb loading is not done in the 24-48 hours before.  It is done slowly over about 3 to 4 days.  You want to focus on replacing some of your non-carbohydrate snacks with carbs and build up gradually so that about 24 hours before your race 80% of your calories are coming from carbohydrates.  And keep in mind that fruits and whole grains contain carbohydrates so you are not forced to eat pasta incessantly.

I thought I’d leave you all with one my favorite dishes.  It’s simple and easy and the substitutions make the combinations of vegetables endless!


Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Turkey Sausage

By Giada de Laurentiis

Note:  This recipe can be found in her cookbook Everyday Italian or it can be found online at the food network website.


2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed

1 pound orecchiette pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound turkey Italian-style sausage, casings removed

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Note: I often substitute whole wheat penne for the orecchiette or whatever pasta I have on hand.  Additionally ground chicken or chicken sausage makes for a great substitute.  I also like to substitute asparagus, or broccoli for the broccoli rabe.


Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned and juices form, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add the pasta to the skillet. Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.


Any Thoughts, Suggestions or Similar Experiences?

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