Anyone who has been around RunToTheFinish very long knows that I live by a couple of food rules:

— Aim for 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (freggies for short)
— Drink a combo of water and Vega Sport Electrolytes (keeps me balanced)
— Enjoy what I eat
— Eat chocolate or cookies … or both

When I agreed to run that very first race, I had two goals: have fun and lose weight. The second goal meant that I spent a lot of time focused on calories and very little time thinking about how food impacted my running.

Luckily it only took me 10 years to figure it out.

I’m kidding … mostly. As a college student, I noticed a difference when I took the time to fuel properly, but it’s been a process of tweaking my routine over the years that has finally led me to settle on the above rules for keeping both my mind and body in balance.

The biggest factor was that I used to hate vegetables. Additionally, I am not someone who can follow a diet plan or who wants to have my whole routine turned upside down overnight Instead, I simply changed one thing about my eating each month and now, years later, it’s all become habit and my body craves vegetables.

Here is a generic day in the life of my eating habits:

Pre-run: A shaker with 8 ounces of water, half a scoop of Vega Sport Protein, half a scoop of Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer, 1 teaspoon of spiraling and 1 teaspoon of glutamine (it helps my tummy)

Mid-Week Run: 6-10 miles

strong>Post-run: Green smoothie with 8 ounces of water, half a scoop of Vega Sport Protein, apple, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and apple cider vinegar

Breakfast: Chicken sausage with steamed broccoli, avocado slices and mustard
Lunch: Salmon with roasted cauliflower, carrots, red peppers and hummus

Snack: 2 tablespoons of almond butter with half a cup of brown puffed rice, half a cup of Love Grown Foods Power O’s, blueberries and 1 piece of dark chocolate or a Newman’s Own Cookie

Second Snack: If I’m still hungry, a granola bar of some kind

Dinner: Tempeh with spaghetti squash

Snack: Half a sweet potato with cocoa powder and cinnamon, and probably another piece of dark chocolate

Yes, I eat a lot. I run a lot. I don’t feel bad about it.

I listen to my body and do my best to feed it right.

The lesson here is simple: be willing to experiment. When my cadets ask me about fueling, this is the first thing we discuss. Begin looking at your food as an experiment. Pay attention to what gives you the most energy, leaves you feeling joyful and tastes great!

This mindset makes it much easier to look at food for nutritional purposes instead of just thinking about calories. This, in turn, forces people to start figuring out what really works for them and what is truly sustainable.

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit