I'll just discuss what works for me, what I want to try next and what I see others trying around me.
Do You Have To Eat Healthy To Be A Runner?
No. This is the greatest myth of all time in running.
I hate fruit and vegetables. I think I'd rather shoot myself in the head than follow the Palaeolithic diet. The people who follow this regime seem to have the idea that they will live forever.
The truth is you won't. You'll end up dying in your own piss in a care home like the rest of us. In fact I'll probably out live you as my body will be mummified in salt.
This is why I eat processed food and plenty of it.
Here's a typical day's menu for me.
As A Long Distance Runner, How Many Miles Do You Run A Week And How Many Calories Do You Consume Daily?
On average I run about 30 miles per week.
I eat around 3,250 calories a day but reduce that to around 2,500 if I'm trying to lose weight (which I'm trying to do now!). At the weekend I'll eat a lot more. In fact I couldn't tell you how many kcal's I ingest then. Probably be closer to 4,000!
I try not to drink any of my calories if possible.
I have struggled with my eating for quite some time. I tend to become insatiable in the evening and less so in the morning. Recently I've reduced the amount that I eat in the am as it's difficult to maintain a healthy weight whilst I'm eating like crap around the clock.
Can Runners Eat Whatever They Want Without Gaining Weight?
No and no. Whilst I can eat around 3,000 calories a day without gaining any weight, if I stop monitoring my calorie intake altogether then I'm likely to gain weight quickly.
I've reduced my alcohol intake for this very reason. Alcohol itself is laden with calories and will happen your weight loss progress on it's own. What's worse is that ethanol increases my appetite tenfold and I will eat anything in sight. This is not a joke. I regularly get thoughts of constructing a bow and arrow and hunting down pigeons outside.
Can Runners Drink Alcohol At All Then?
Of course! I try to keep most of my drinking for after a race. There have been occasions where I've went into a half marathon feeling a little too hungover and I find it reduces my enjoyment of the race.
There is little better for me than celebrating a half marathon with a jar or two of ale. By the time I'm ready to get back on the plane home, I feel seriously lightheaded. This is good as I am terrified of flying.
My Diet On The Morning Of A Half Marathon
Typically I'll have something like a bag of Natural Confectionary Co. Fizzy worms along with 3 cans of Monster Ripper.
The Monster Ripper provides me with enough mental and nervous energy to get me to the start line. If I drink it 3 hours before I start a half marathon then I won't need to get to the toilet at all during the race as it causes me to shit like a king an hour after ingesting it.
What Foods Do You Eat And Drink Whilst Running Half And Full Marathons?
I cant stand gels as they have the consistency of gob.
I therefore have to ingest my carbohydrates in the form of Reese's Peanut Butter cups or Lucozade Tablets. I've tried everything from American Hard Gums to Maoam Chews but I find that they are too hard to eat whilst I'm running.
Nutri Grain bars aren't bad either, mainly because they're soft and you can finish them off quite quickly. Any other cereal bars don't really do it for me.
In terms of drink, I'll take anything from water to Powerade. I won't drink alcohol whilst racing unless I'm certain to finish and there's only a mile to go (and it's warm outside and the pint is free!).