With Saucony’s launch of the Triumph 19 last month – complete with PWRRUN+ cushioning and premium details that allow runners to focus on their performance – the brand is also is getting serious about promoting the nutritional aspects of training and running. Since the two work in tandem to get runners across the finish line, Saucony enlisted ambassador and two-time New York Times best-selling author, Elyse Kopecky, to help teach people how to pack in the best nutrients and fast in fast and easy ways – just like a marathoner would need.
Kopecky is planning to run a top U.S. marathon this fall, and has her routine dialed on how to stay fueled while she puts in the miles. So of course Running Insight interrupted her training for five quick questions to clue run specialty retailers in about the link between nutrition and training for a big race.
- So please tell us what exactly is the relationship between nutrition and running?
For runners food is so much more than just fuel. Without proper nutrition to repair our hardworking bodies, runners aren’t able to stay in the sport for the long haul. Nutrition is essential for recovery, energy, injury-prevention, mental health, sleep, and longevity.
- How did you develop this philosophy?
In college I suffered from back-to-back injuries due to poor nutrition. I had athletic amenorrhea, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, low bone density, IBS and anxiety. As soon as I changed my diet to indulgent and nourishing whole foods all my health problems went away. I’m running stronger and feeling more energized and happy at 40 than I was in my 20s.
- What’s advice would you give runners to get them to be more aware of their nutrition as it impacts both their performance and their recovery?
Healthy food isn’t just kale juice, but also a juicy burger. Don’t get caught up in fad diets. Just enjoy delicious, homemade food. The single greatest thing you can do to improve your health and happiness is learn to cook.
- And how does this message translate for the everyday runner, not the competitive racers?
This message is even more relevant for the everyday runner because the everyday runner often gets into the sport to lose weight, but then they make the huge mistake of counting calories or following a restrictive diet, which ends up depriving their body of essential nutrients for energy. It's not a fun sport when you’re depleted, so new runners often have a hard time sticking with their training program because they aren’t fueling correctly.
- What mistakes do most people make when it comes to nutrition and training?
Runners get caught up in all the misleading messaging from our $64 billion dollar weight loss industry and lose sight of listening to their body’s cravings and hunger signals. Dieting does not work in the long term and often backfires. The best way to gain fitness is to eat wholesome, delicious meals that leave you feeling satiated.