Nutrition Secrets- The fastest non african marathoner
by Ryan Hall
I am by no means a certified sports nutritionist, but over the past 14 years of running I have learned from the painful pre-run snacks of hot dogs and ice cream in my youth and developed a successful nutritional plan. That said, I am always learning more about nutrition, whether it be from my wife Sara, from the nutritionist at Stanford I worked with leading up to the 2010 Boston Marathon, Dr. Clyde Wilson (www.drclydewilson.com), from my coach Terrence Mahon, or from our team’s assistant coach, Rita Klabacha. I am constantly picking up new tricks. So here are my top tricks and recipes that I have found keep me fueled for the long hall.
1. Breakfast: I always eat at least a little something before I run (ideally 2-3 hours pre-run). I have found that shakes sit very well, even complex carbohydrate shakes that digest slower and provide that clean, slow-burning energy that is so important for marathon running. I recommend 1 scoop of Muscle Milk whey protein or Muscle Milk Light with 6 scoops Cytocarb (available at www.cytosport.com) for 400 high-octane calories
2. Recovery: The best time to fuel muscles (and not fat) is right after completing a run. I always pack a snack so I can eat within 5 to 30 minutes after completing my run. I try and get in a fruit such as a banana, a couple hundred calories of complex carbohydrates (such as two slices of 9 grain bread) and a healthy fat (like 1 tbsp of nut butter). I top off my recovery process by trying to eat a substantial meal within an hour of my snack.
3. Timing Of Meals: My typical day of eating includes breakfast, a snack right after my first run, lunch, a piece of fruit before my second run, a light snack after my second run, dinner, and a snack after dinner. I never go more than a couple of hours without a snack. Stay in the habit of not starving your body so that your body is always recovering and refueling for the next effort.
4. Super Foods: I include the following super foods as staples in my diet. Canned sardines (high in healthy omegas and a good source of a low mercury fish protein), flax seed (high in healthy omegas), canned clams (excellent source of protein and iron), strawberries and other berries (high in antioxidants), decaf green tea (high in antioxidants), olive oil and pineapple (helps reduce inflammation), instant grits (high in iron without wheat that prohibits iron absorption, walnuts (high in healthy omega’s), Salmon (low mercury and high in healthy omega’s).
5. Fuel Muscles, Not Fat. Dr. Clyde’s biggest impact on my day-to-day diet and performance was his advice to eat a substantial amount of raw veggies before consuming more than 200 calories of carbohydrate. Eating the raw veggies (such as two big handfuls of fresh spinach or spring mix, a cup of sugar snap peas, or a big handful of purple cabbage, raw broccoli, or cauliflower slows down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates, keeping the blood sugar stable throughout the fueling process. I have found that I am leaner and have more constant energy with this practice.
6. My Favorite Snacks: Panini almond butter sandwich with non-fat Greek yogurt; two packets instant grits with scoop of Muscle Milk Light and 1 tbsp Smart Balance; 1 cup cereal (Trader Joes Organic Morning Light is my favorite) w/ ½ scoop Muscle Milk Light (cake batter flavor) and 1 tbsp ground flax seed and 1 cup 2% lactose-free milk; lastly, Sara and I’s all-time favorite: the legendary Cytocakes made up of ½ cup your favorite pancake mix (Kodiak Cakes are ridiculously good), 1 scoop Muscle Milk Light (cake batter flavor), topped with 1 tbsp of Smart Balance.