Elite distance runner Shalane Flanagan knows that nutrition plays a big role in her running performance. She also knows that food is supposed to taste good. Here, she dishes up some delicious, nutritious advice on what to eat before your next big run.


"Ever since I started tackling longer distances, moving up to the half marathon and the marathon, I've really begun to realise what an important role nutrition plays in my performance", says 10,000m American record holder Shalane Flanagan. "It's literally just as important as sleep, or the amount of time I put into my running. Eating healthy helps me recover, makes me happy and enhances my overall training". But learning how to actually "eat healthy" can prove to be difficult. "Before, I think I fell victim to thinking that I needed to count calories and consume low-fat foods, and I had to kind of rewire my brain", says Flanagan, who admits to previously being intimidated by the kitchen. She turned to her former running mate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Elyse Kopecky, a chef who studied at the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, for guidance. Now the world-class marathoner regularly cooks meals from scratch, using whole foods, especially during race season. "Runners need to be fuelling up for their long runs by eating really nutrient-dense, nourishing foods that contain a lot of good, high-quality fats, rather than stressing out about following the latest diet trends", says Kopecky. The two friends recently teamed up to create a cookbook designed for runners, Run Fast, Eat Slow [] (Autumn 2016, Rodale), which features many of Shalane's personal pre-race favourites, including these three recipes. They all contain a good mix of carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and tons of flavour to help push you through your miles. Note: You should never try anything new on (or the night before) race day—practise eating these meals before your long training runs and see how your body responds first.

Recipe Photos by
Alan Weiner (Meatballs and Rice)
Elyse Kopecky (Porridge)