One of the most important factors for a successful and fulfilling cross country season is nailing down and honoring your nutritional needs. You won’t be able to run very far or fast without enough of the right nutrients, and it won’t be any fun if you aren’t enjoying what you eat!
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of contradicting and fallacious information floating around out there about how distance runners should and shouldn’t fuel to run fast. We talked to registered dietician and distance runner Sarah Schlichter, author behind the nutrition blog Bucket List Tummy and co-host of the Nail Your Nutrition podcast, to get the facts straight about the best way to eat and nourish your body during the cross country season.
One of the most common struggles for athletes, cross country runners in particular, is learning to honor and acknowledge hunger.
“Many runners undermine the energy they need day in and day out, regardless if it was a hard workout day or long run day or a rest day,” Schlitcher explains.
To properly honor hunger cues, Schlichter says to nix any “food rules” you may have picked up and learn to tune into what your body needs, whether it’s something sweet or an extra sandwich. “It’s important to realize there are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods — there is just food,” she says. “Some provide more nutrients, and some provide more comfort, enjoyment, etc.”