My Dream Running Diet

The last few days my posts have been about the dark side of running, you know the things that make running hard but also help you improve.  Things like lactic acid, tempo runs, and interval training.  Very few of us will come out and say, “Oh I love tempo runs”, or “I really enjoy a 30 minute interval session and how I feel like crying at the end.”  However, I did hear from a ton of people said that despite not really loving certain training runs they do love how they feel afterwards and the results they get out of their workouts.

I agreed with someone about dreading these workouts but loving the results and then said something to the extent of, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if chocolate chip cookies were part of becoming a faster runner?”  I chuckled and then mentioned this to my husband and we both had a good laugh.

If you know anything about me I have a major sweet tooth.  I always have.  Even as a figure skater I spent my whole life eating a very healthy and well rounded diet.  But I have never ever been able to stay away from desserts; namely baked goods.  When I took my first trip to New York City over eleven years ago a friend had planned our trip out and I was so thrilled that he had added in several of the best bakeries to get my fix.

This giant cookie pizza is what I showed up with on Mother's Day.

This giant cookie pizza is what I showed up with on Mother’s Day.

And I picked this cookie sandwich up on my walk yesterday because 1 cookie wasn't enough and the frosting was a must.

And I picked this cookie sandwich up on my walk yesterday because 1 cookie wasn’t enough and the frosting was a must.

So this had me thinking.  What if instead of bright green veggies, red fruits and green smoothies, the tables were turned and other foods helped make us better and faster runners?  Here is my other running world:

How about instead of ice baths you could just hit the frozen yogurt bar?  I mean, its cold right?!  Yogurt is also great for runners because it is full of calcium.  So if you are on board with my plan, you can also keep your bones healthy.

It would also be great if we could use red wine for its bright red qualities instead of taking anti-inflammatories.  They do say it is good for your heart!

While we are at it I wouldn’t mind if beer was part of a carb loading diet.  I am pretty sure I have used this technique as I enjoyed a flight at my favorite microbrewery up in Northern Michigan.  Just make sure you get plenty of rest afterwards before heading out for your run.  I certainly don’t recommend a beer and THEN a run.  Let’s not be ridiculous here!

This is my absolute favorite beer.  If you end up in Michigan don't forget to grab a Short's.

This is my absolute favorite beer. If you end up in Michigan don’t forget to grab a Short’s.

Carrots are packed with Vitamin A which is a must for runners.  So I would like to think that a slice of carrot cake or two can be a helpful aid for my running.  This is of course ONLY if it is covered with a nice slab of cream cheese frosting.  That counts as dairy right?!

Let’s talk about cinnamon.  It is a great anti-inflammatory and can help aid in your recovery.  Not only does it reduce inflammation but also eases muscle soreness.  Weren’t we just talking about D.O.M.S?  Obviously the best solution here would be cinnamon rolls (don’t forget that cream cheese frosting here either).  Funny enough, I had one just yesterday and remembered to take a picture before it was all gone.  I am hoping this aids my Achilles tendonitis….wink, wink.

Hanging my head.  Most of these photos are in my recent pictures on my phone!

Hanging my head. Most of these photos are in my recent pictures on my phone!

We have all been hearing for awhile that sweet potatoes are great for runners.  They are full of vitamins A and C as well as potassium and iron.  They are also packed with antioxidants.  So clearly a helping of sweet potato fries should be part of this new diet.  Clearly you will have to accompany this with a burger for a well rounded meal.   Think protein for muscle repair.


The one thing I think that the elites really have nailed perfectly is the nap.  I told my husband we should all add this too.  He mentioned something about if we all had the luxury of adding it to our schedules.  But I stopped that nonsense and said we should tell our bosses it is a must for our training.  Hey I have a 10K coming up and this girl needs her runner’s rest!

Now this is where I am supposed to add a side note and make sure you know that I am not a nutritionist and that these are all recommendations.  I am pretty sure that by now you realize that I am most certainly not a professional and I don’t really recommend that you follow this diet to improve your running.  If you do follow this plan I would recommend avoiding the scale at all costs!

What foods would you add to your running diet in a perfect world?

44 thoughts on “My Dream Running Diet

  1. Ahh I love this post! You had me at Frozen Yogurt. If eating all those foods could make us amazing runners then I’m pretty sure you and I would be the Kara/Shalene duo because you just named all my favorite things!

    I think to my carbo-loading I would add potato chips because the salt helps you retain water for long runs!

  2. LOL… At two hundred miles a week I can’t eat like that (obviously on a bike, not running) – except the burgers. I can have as many of those as I can eat. And they just happen to be the perfect carb/protein mix – and you get almost a whole salad on top! They’re perfect!

  3. Hahaha I am totally on board with your “dream running world!” I really love my sweets, especially Swedish fish! But I actually have used them as my fuel for running before and they work well. The other day I was feeling tired before I ever went running. I had two handfuls of Swedish fish then went out and ran and had the best workout since I’ve come back from my injury! Btw that cookie pie or cake…whatever it is… LOOKS AMAZING!!!

    • Awesome with Swedish Fish working as fuel. I can see that actually. The cookie pizza was awesome. It was featured on the Food Network. I figured if it was good enough for them….

  4. Frozen yogurt with a mountain of dark chocolate syrup and peanut butter because that’s good for you right!

  5. I’m totally down with the frozen yogurt! Even though I do like those hard training runs, I think I’m a little cray- cray.

    Sometimes I think foods really do help, even junkier foods. I don’t want to say it’s a placebo effect, but maybe just a sentimental one. I’m injured right now (bum ankle, happened on Tuesday, strained), and I know ice cream doesn’t help a running injury… but my ankle seemed to hurt a lot less the next day. I think it’s the treat aspect, that sometimes we just need the little treat. My grandma ate ice cream every night and lived to be pretty old, and I think it’s because she enjoyed life and didn’t deprive herself.

    My running coach is a beer guy, he planned this elaborate 16-miler run for a group, which included 3 breweries. He’s super speedy now but was way fast in his younger days. I think by doing runs like that, taking it easy, and just enjoy it… it makes him a better runner because it takes a lot of the stress off, and you can relax 🙂

  6. bakery traipsing is such a thing here in NYC — glad your friend insisted you do that! my bff is a pastry chef and whenever she comes to visit me, i suddenly see bakeries where i never knew they existed. 🙂

  7. I need evidence for the efficacy of a Chocolate lava cake diet. Any volunteers to help with the research? I promise no placebo…

  8. Haha, funny stuff! Luckily I have almost zero sweet teeth. I do have a beer tooth or two. 😉
    I wish I could eat all the bad stuff, but I try to be good. I wish pizza was healthy.

  9. Great post. Honestly at the end of my last half marathon I felt lousy. I drank Gatorade and water and nothing helped… Not even chocolate milk. Then I went to the beer garden and had a 16 oz beer and almost immediately I felt better! So, assuming that wasn’t because of the other stuff finally getting into my system, my vote is for beer. 🙂

  10. ohh if only! I stand by the frozen yogurt one, it’s got probiotics in it too so it’s pretty much a super food 😉

  11. Yes, to everything!! I know that I would be a much better runner if I could just let go of the soda and McDonald’s. There’s nothing good I can even attempt to find in those two to justify them. I’ll be making an effort to curb them once I’m back in marathon training but I don’t foresee it going too well lol!

    • Funny thing is that when I train for marathons I crave Diet Coke from McDonalds. I don’t drink Diet Coke or ever go to McDonalds….so there must be something to it!

  12. I love sweets too, I could eat them all day if they weren’t so unhealthy.. and the worse is that they always leave me wanting more, so I try to refrain from eating them altogether. Also a good soft and gooey piece of bread with some toppings (cheese, PB&J, hummus) is something I wish I could eat as much as I wanted.

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