Nutrition, like running, is pretty basic at its core: eat more fruit and vegetables; eat fewer chips and cheeseburgers. But you have so many options these days that they can confuse you. Here are four simple tips that will make eating easier, courtesy of sports nutritionist Nancy Clark.
One day a week, go vegetarian
Forsaking meat for just one day a week will introduce you to new, healthy foods; and over time you may even develop a hankering for vegetarian fare (which tends to be high in fibre and low in fat). Choose the 'healthy' ready-meals when visiting your supermarket if you lack the time or inclination to cook. Or make a hearty bean soup or a pot of vegetarian curry.
Pop a multivitamin
Unless you have special medical needs, replace your motley collection of vitamin and mineral tablets with a daily multivitamin which covers all of your nutritional bases. If you're already eating a balanced diet, this should give you extra insurance.
Divide up your plate
You'll go crazy trying to calculate whether your dinner breaks down into the ideal ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Instead, use this easy rule: about a quarter of your plate should be covered with a protein food (lean red meat, chicken, fish etc), and the rest should be filled with vegetables and complex carbohydrates (whole-grain bread, rice and potatoes).
Be a nibbler
A famished runner typically makes poor food choices. "Very hungry people tend to eat fast food or biscuits, and not fruit and vegetables that help to protect health," says Clark. So keep your appetite satisfied with several light, healthy snacks throughout the day.
Make drinking into a habit
You know by now that you should drink eight 250ml glasses of water a day, and even more if you're training extra hard. So make it simple: keep a two-litre water bottle on your desk, and ensure that you drain it by the end of your work day. (Then request a desk closer to the toilets.)
The full series: Training, Nutrition, Racing and Speedwork, Gear, Gym
Plus: Ten Things You Don't Have To Worry About