How To Set a PR In The Kitchen

A runner’s or triathlete’s nutrition is often the limiting factor stopping them from shaving 10 to 20 seconds from their minute per mile speed or overcoming a distance plateau.

BY IMPROVING your nutrition profile—including proteins, healthy fats, good carbs—you will see noticeable changes in your energy, recovery capacities, general health, and your performance.

Focusing on the following foods and food groups will give you a bullet-proof nutrition plan to take your performance to the next level.


Carbs are key for athletes, especially runners or endurance athletes who perform more than 90 minutes of exercise per day. They provide the main fuel source within the body. They are stored within your cells, including muscles. When these stores are depleted, our blood sugar levels drop and cause a rapid and sharp decline in performance, also known as ‘bonking’.

  1. Quinoa – Quinoa is a unique carb source in that it provides all the benefits of basic carbs, such as rice and pasta, but contains more micronutrients, fiber, and even a small amount of protein.
  2. Bananas – No food list for runners or endurance athletes would be complete without bananas. While it’s the most sugar and calorie dense fruit around, it can provide a burst of energy without causing bloating or digestive issues.

For runners and athletes, they are best eaten when fully ripe, when they’re soft and yellow. They are digested more quickly and provide a less complex form of carbs, with less fiber and stress on your digestive system.

  1. Berries – Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are a superfood packed full of nutrients.

While they don’t provide enough carbs to be regarded as an energy source, they do provide an insurance policy for any hard-working runner or athlete. Due to all their nutrients, including polyphenols, antioxidants, and micronutrients such as vitamin C, they can boost your immune system, reduce oxidative stress, reduce cell and muscle damage, and help you stay healthy year round.

  1. Healthy Whole Grains – Whole grains should be a staple for most runners, especially those racking up high daily mileage.

Whole grains provide a great source of complex carbs, helping to keep glycogen levels topped up. They also contain important nutrients such as fiber.

The BEST sources include:

  • Brown or wild rice
  • Whole grain oats
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Barley
  • Plain popcorn
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Quinoa



Protein is an ESSENTIAL macronutrient for many athletes, but is often ignored or not optimized by runners or endurance athletes for the fear of becoming bulky or adding muscle.

…..this myth could be hindering your performance and nutrition plan.

For a runner, a high protein diet would not add a significant amount of muscle mass, but it would provide benefits for recovery and cellular health.

Adding protein will help support your body tissues, especially muscle and connective tissue. This can reduce soreness, improve recovery, and reduce the risk of injury.

When adding protein to your diet, the following sources should be part of your grocery list.

  1. Oily Fish

……. Is a perfect protein source for runners as it contains high-quality amino acids along with healthy fats and minerals.

The BEST sources include salmon and mackerel. They provide around 30 grams of high-quality protein per 5-ounce serving.

– They’re also rich in Omega 3 fats, one of the healthiest fats, with anti-disease and health-promoting properties.

  1. Meats

All types of unprocessed meats can be a perfect addition for a runner or endurance athlete.

………For a runner, the extra calories and nutrients from red meat can be very beneficial to help you meet your daily caloric needs and a wide variety of micronutrients and amino acidsboth critical for your performance.

White and lean meats should be included in your day. Don’t feel limited to the basics such as chicken, turkey, and beef, though. Other sources such as buffalo, venison, and pork can provide variety to your meals and a comprehensive nutrient profile.

  1. Eggs

Another SUPERFOOD, eggs provide a perfect mix of healthy fats, protein, and vital micronutrients.

Eggs should be a staple for all athletes. Try to consume a minimum of three whole eggs per meal, ideally four or five, to maximize your protein intake and hit the minimum threshold to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

The healthy fats in eggs also have hormone boosting properties. This is particularly important for runners and endurance athletes, as they tend to have lower hormone levels due to their lengthy, daily training regimes.

Healthy Fats

Another common mistake in the running and endurance world is the avoidance of fat, thinking it has negative health effects, or that it will add body fat.

……In fact, incorporating healthy fats can help an athlete optimize their health, performance, recovery, and even help them stay lean.

Here are some of the best healthy fat sources to stock up on.

  1. Avocados
  • Avocados are one of the healthiest foods available with an incredible nutritional profile.
  • They provide a perfect blend of healthy fats, fiber, and minerals. They are also calorie-dense, helping a runner meet their daily energy demands without adding a lot of volume to be digested.
  • Avocados are a perfect addition to a protein source
  1. Nuts & Nut Butter
  • All types of nuts and nut butters are a perfect snack to add calories and a good mix of all three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat).
  • They are primarily a fat source, providing a mixture of different fats such as poly and saturated fats. Some nuts, such as walnuts, provide a good amount of Omega 3 fats as well.
  • It’s a great idea to keep a bag of nuts with you as a snack – they can be combined with a serving of meat or a protein shake for a more complete me.

……However, due to their high-fat content, be mindful of how many you snack on!

Matthew DiFede, PT, DPT

You Might Also Like...