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Running column: You are what you eat as Mark Armstrong is starting to find out

Mark Armstrong in the warm-up for the Lord Mayor's 5K. Picture: Epic Action Imagery

Mark Armstrong in the warm-up for the Lord Mayor's 5K. Picture: Epic Action Imagery

Epic Action Imagery

Whenever I'm coming towards the end of a morning run I let my mind wander a little what I'm going to eat when I get home.

It normally involves brown toast, lashings of peanut butter and a bit of raspberry jam… it disgusts my wife, Alison, which makes it taste even better.

It's not the best thing to eat, it's probably not the worst.

But the nutritional side of things is something I want to have a serious look at over the next few months and not just because of my running.

Having Neil to call upon as a coach means my training is clearly in very good hands and being a bit of an obliger I respond well to the plans he sets out each week.

If it's down in the email he sends then he can be pretty confident those runs will get done barring injury or illness.

However, there's only one person that can control my diet and I feel if I could get a handle on my nutritional needs then it will make me a stronger runner and more importantly, person, in the long term.

I have been guilty in the past of thinking 'I ran eight miles earlier, I can eat what I like now…'

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that, particularly if you want to get the best out of yourself.

What has really brought this to the forefront of my mind is that Alison has been making some big changes to her eating in recent weeks, incorporating a lot more healthy fats in her diet and appears to have so much more energy as a result.

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We're very different from a metabolic point of view so I'm sceptical about whether my body would respond in the same way… we're all very different after all. What works well for someone may have a detrimental effect on somebody else.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

But having spent the last month or so feeling 'under the weather' I'm prepared to make some changes to my diet. Who knew you needed energy to run?

I've followed a lot of Joe Wicks' 'Lean in 15' content over the past few years and I enjoy a lot of the core principles of his meal plans.

Perhaps the most important lesson is the art of 'prepping like a boss' - getting your meals ready well in advance so you don't go for the most convenient, probably unhealthy, option when you get those hunger pangs.

Next time I go for a long run, beforehand, I will know exactly what I'm going to be eating for the rest of the day to make sure I get the nutrition I need to recover as quickly as possible… not have a slice of cake in the afternoon because 'I burned 1500 calories'.

There's a balance to strike obviously but a treat has got to be just that, not the norm as it can threaten to when you're training hard and your body naturally wants fuel to repair and regenerate.

That doesn't mean I'm going to give up the peanut butter/jam butties… there's always a treat day isn't there?

I'd love to know more about your post-run meals… let me know what you like to eat after you've nailed that training run. I'd love to hear all about your ideas and recipes - comment in the Run Anglia group on Facebook or drop me a line at mark.armstrong@archant.co.uk

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