Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eat Elite: A Short Intro to Wilson Komen's Diet

picture of a Kenyan hillside overlooking the Kerio Valley
Kerio View–Iten, Kenya
Elite athletes are often asked what they eat. It appears that most people want to know if food is the secret to winning races.

Well, I am here to share the secret with you.

Drum roll please . . .

There is no secret!

Truly, my meals are pretty ordinary, and I am not snobby about food or how that food should be prepared. However, I am consistent with what I eat day to day, and I do ensure that my meals are balanced.

Also, there is one food I can’t do without: milk. Milk is king in my book! Without exaggeration, I could drink milk 24 hours a day. Even though I never forcefully interfere with my trainees’ diets—however, you should try to avoid the really bad stuff, like fried food—I do believe that, as contemporary nutrition science indicates, protein is vital for endurance athletes. For my part, I enjoy getting much of that protein from milk. It’s my personal form of running fuel.

Here is a sample of what I eat in day:

2 boiled eggs on 4 slices of dry bread and Kenyan tea with lots of milk. If it’s a race day I have just bread and tea.

I often have a bean stew with lots of veggies or a salad. It is vital that distance runners receive the vitamins that come from fresh vegetables. And, of course, broccoli is also an excellent source of protein, which is a bonus.

If I am at home for lunch, I will often have a baked sweet potato with a glass of milk.

banana and yogurt or nuts with an orange
picture of a tray of food with juice, milk, tea, a banana, and nut butter
An elite snack!
My dinner remains pretty much the same everyday: meat with veggies and cornmeal.

And there you have it. That’s what I eat in a day to fuel my run. There is no perfect menu or one-size-fits-all approach to nourishing your body for a good run or a good race.

However, one tip I could give is to write down what you eat and to monitor how you feel an hour after eating. Do you feel bloated? Sluggish? Do you feel energized? Depending on how you feel, you can adjust your diet accordingly, remembering that it is usually a good idea to follow the basic nutrition rule of adding fruits and vegetables to whatever you eat.

I also recommend speaking with your primary care physician as you begin a training regimen so that you can discuss your dietary needs.

At the end of the day, a good run depends on good training, nutrition that suits you, the route you run, and the weather.

picture of the start line of the 2016 Komen Race for the Cure
Wilson at the start of the 2016 Komen Race for the Cure

Run steady, and eat well!

Coach Wilson

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