Go Faster in 2013: 10 Back to Basics Eat Well Tips

Go Faster in 2013: 10 Back to Basics Eat Well Tips

A very belated happy 2013 to all running buggers! May your 2013 be awesomely energised, fit and most importantly, healthy!

So…how are the New Year’s resolutions going?

 I’m not sure that much can be achieved from giving up little pleasures for a month like chocolate or wine; these should be enjoyed throughout the year, throughout life indeed….Half-hearted or unrealistic resolutions will no doubt be broken by mid-January, leaving dissatisfaction and self-deprecation in their wake.

Open your email, read the papers and lifestyle magazines this month and you’ll find the world’s gone crazy doing its very best to make us feel guilty about the lack of perfection in our lives. We should all have the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfectly organised house, we should only eat protein, we should drink this or that miracle recovery elixir, we should eat like a caveman, we should cut out dairy……HELP! I, for one, have reached saturation point!

I’d like to propose getting BACK TO BASICS in 2013.

 Running, after all, is a simple and pure sport. That’s why we do it! It’s about getting into the fresh air, getting fit, running with friends and having a good natter, running on your own to regroup your thoughts, pushing yourself to go that extra mile or beat your PB. It’s uncomplicated. That’s what a runner’s diet should be as well!

Getting back to basics will help with weight loss if that’s your goal, although it will require a little patience, but it’s essentially an easy and uncomplicated ‘way of eating’, both achievable and enjoyable, which will promote both long-term health and better athletic performance 

10 ‘back to basics’ Go Faster tips to eat well in 2013


1. Would you put diesel into a Ferrari? NO!!

Ensure each mouthful is nutritious

 If you’re clocking up the miles your body will need extra calories, but this doesn’t mean that you should just grab the nearest sugar-coated custard doughnut!  Give up these ‘empty’ calories and focus on nutrient-dense foods. Try your best to keep to unprocessed; that’s fresh, natural ingredients. You’ll find lots of examples and recipes to use them in Go Faster Food and on the Go Faster Food website. Of course, with our busy lifestyles processed foods are virtually impossible to avoid, so when you do eat them, check the label for hidden saturated fats and salt.

Know what you are eating! Read the label and ask yourself ”Do I really want to put this into my body?”.



 Sounds boring, but this is the key to long-term health. Whether training or not, the ideal diet should include a wide variety of foods. Your body needs balance, so don’t cut out one particular food group, such as carbohydrate, protein or fat.

Stick to the standard BDA guidelines of around 60% carbohydrate – that’s bread, pasta, cereal, rice AND fruit and vegetables, with a good mix of protein (around 15%) and the rest from fats. As an athlete, you also need to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals.

Don’t forget the maths! The more you move, the more you can eat! 

It’s as simple as that! Don’t eat more calories than you can burn. Fad diets such as AtkinsPaleo, Blood Type, Fasting, Dukan promise great things, but are best avoided unless recommended by a medical expert. They are complicated, difficult to sustain and can affect health in the long term.

Regular exercise and sensible, balanced eating will be far more effective in the long term that a diet.


3. Beauty comes from within, thank goodness!

 Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t got the ultimate 6-pack, or if you’re not the perfect size 10 with abs to die for…

Being active, fit and healthy is more important than having the perfect figure!




4. It’s not just about the race

 Fuelling for endurance running is not just about carbo-loading before a race; it’s equally important to be smart about eating throughout your training schedule. If you eat well, you’ll train well and in turn you’ll race well.

For general training, use the recipes, meal plans and advice in Go Faster Food.  For pre-race fuelling advice, meal plans and recipes, get yourself a copy of FuelSmart for Race Day.

Fuel yourself with the right foods during training, you’ll prevent injury and improve both your performance and your recovery times.


5. You don’t have to be a millionaire to eat well

 Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank! Good quality, nutrient-dense foods such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains are easily available at the local supermarket, so don’t worry that you’re not visiting the farmer’s market, speciality health food store or deli every week.

Keep it simple! Avoiding processed wherever possible is the key to good long-term health. Avoid the ‘so-called’ healthy sports drinks and energy bars and make your own instead. You’ll not only be healthier but you’ll save ££££$$$$$. You’ll find easy recipes for these in FuelSmart for Race Day (£3.99)

6. Keep well-hydrated

 Keeping well-hydrated throughout the day will make you feel energised and focussed. If you wait until you feel thirsty you’ll be slightly dehydrated already, so keep bottles of water with you, at your desk, in the car, on your bedside table. Take a big bottle of water to work with you and make sure you finish it by the end of the day. Read more about hydration.

Don’t waste money on expensive sports drinks when you can make your own – see hydration.


7. Don’t train on empty

 Try to plan your training sessions so that you can eat 1-2 hours before setting off, especially if you are planning an intense or longer workout. You’ll train stronger and feel better. Eat something which is low in fat, easy to digest and high in carbohydrate that will gradually release energy to your muscles; click here for pre-workout recipes….


8. Good recovery is the key to success!

 Carbohydrate is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. Glycogen levels become depleted after a workout and the quicker they are topped up again, the quicker your recovery will be and the better you will feel for your next session. You also need water and electrolytes to replace fluid loss, and protein to repair your muscle cells. Grab something as soon as you finish your workout like a honey sandwich, a bowl of rice pudding, a slice of toast with scrambled egg, peanut butter or hummus, an energy bar or flapjack, a piece of fruit (melon is good) or a refreshing home-made smoothie made with skimmed milk or yoghurt.

Eat and drink to refuel within the 15 minute magic window to speed recovery. Click here for recovery recipes


9. Eat well on rest days

Rest days are highly important for recovery as this is the time when your muscles are at their most receptive – it can take up to 20 hours for muscle glycogen stores to be fully replenished and it is often when the hunger starts to kick in with a vengeance.

Make the most of rest days, replenish your depleted energy and feed your muscles by eating well.


10. Don’t be too boring and obsessive about what you eat! Follow the 80:20 rule

 Athletes can often become body conscious and this can sometimes lead to eating disorder. Please don’t get too hung up on your exact food intake; a relaxed attitude to eating will help you stay focussed, feel good, exercise better and enjoy your training without starting to feel that it is a chore. Eating well for around 80% of the time means that you can afford to stray for the remaining 20% without feeling guilty.

Enjoy your food! It’s what makes all this training worthwhile!

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How refreshing to read something about sports nutrition that makes real-life sense! Thank you!