Secrets of the Marathon Chefs

Discover the tastiest ways to fuel your body from four kitchen wizards who regularly tackle the big 26.2

by Peter Jaret

nate appleman
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The Secret: Fast Food

Time-pressed Nate Appleman (PB 3:51), reveals how to fuel up when seconds count

Appleman  started running four years ago for his newborn son. "I was pushing 18st," says Appleman, winner of the 2009 James Beard Foundation's rising star chef of the year award. "I didn't want to be the fat dad who couldn't play with his son in the park."

Predictably, it was hard. "I'd run half a mile and be ready to drop," he says. "But each week I'd tack on an extra block." As he lost weight he began to rethink his eating. "I used to skip meals because I was so busy, then get really hungry and reach for sugary foods."

As a runner, he started thinking of food as fuel rather than something to simply satisfy hunger. "I wanted to make sure what I ate delivered energy and good nutrition. That meant turning to whole foods."

Appleman lost six stone and ran his first marathon. The key has been planning. "It can be tough to find healthy options on the go," says Appleman. Nutritionist Ruth Carpenter, author of Healthy Eating Every Day (Human Kinetics, £23), agrees: "When you plan ahead, you're not forced to make a spontaneous, less-healthy decision when you're hungry." Here are Appleman's planning strategies - and how to make them work for you.

Pack your bags

"I never leave home without something nutritious in my bag," says Appleman. Having healthy options such as nuts, dried fruit or a banana with you makes it easier to avoid that morning meeting tray of pains au chocolat, and means you always have quality pre- or post-run fuel for unscheduled sessions.

Stock up

"When work is hectic and you're training hard, life can get pretty crazy," says Appleman. Stock your kitchen with quality easy-prep basics such as  pasta, rice, beans, fresh and frozen veg, tinned tomatoes, herbs and spices, so you can throw together delicious, healthy  meals at the drop of a hat.

Double up

It takes about the same time to make a double batch of a recipe such as bolognese sauce as it does a single batch. So make two and freeze one. Then 'cooking' a healthy dinner is as easy as hitting the defrost button.

Try his chickpea spread for bruschetta or blitz up a super speedy breakfast smoothie.

Picture credit: All images Gorman & Gorman

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