In my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," www.muldowneyrunning.com, I wrote a rather tongue-in-cheek chapter entitled, 'Eat Less, Exercise More.'
The basic theme of the chapter was that so many people these days can't understand why they gain weight, when the answer is ridiculously simple: Eat less, exercise more!
We runners have the 'exercise more' part covered, but many runners I speak to at race expos or through email are concerned about their diet. Now, I'm no nutritionist nor am I a medical doctor, but I have practiced a simple plan for diet and nutrition over the years.
I applaud vegetarians and vegans. Done properly, these types of diets can be beneficial to running success.
As for me. however, I enjoy a varied diet, and I try to practice moderation. For example, I enjoy a good steak now and then, but I don't eat steak three times a week. Instead, I vary my diet by eating poultry, fish, and pasta dishes. My wife, also a runner, is a terrific cook, so she consistently prepares delicious, healthy meals.
For years, the American Cancer Society has advocated the consumption of nine fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Although I don't often reach that daily goal, I wholeheartedly agree that we need to practice a diet that is rich with fruits and vegetables.
Next month, my spring onions, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and peas will be planted in my large garden. From March until October, I'll harvest fresh-grown vegetables from my own backyard. We load up our salads with as many fresh vegetables available to us, depending on the season of the year.
Make your diet colorful. Oranges, plums, peppers, and tomatoes. The more colors, the more varied the nutritional value.
Finally, eat food not products.
Keep it real. Avoid processed, non-'real' foods, whenever possible.
And, if, on that rare occasion, you fall off the wagon and succumb to a fast-food temptation, all is not lost. Remember, everything in moderation.
I often say that we sometimes overthink our sport.
The some goes for our diet.
Moderate and you'll feel great.