4 impressive recipes every runner needs to know

Grilled beef fajitas

Beef is one of the richest sources of iron, which keeps oxygen-transporting red blood cells healthy. Without enough of this key mineral, runners can develop anaemia, which causes fatigue and hinders performance. When 1500m Olympian Carrie Tollefson had a bout, she started eating beef three times a week to rebuild her iron reserves. ‘This recipe is a favourite of mine,’ says Tollefson. ‘It’s an easy dinner and makes great leftovers for lunch.’

SERVES 6 PREP 1 hour 25 mins (including marinating time)

INGREDIENTS  

Handful of fresh coriander 

Juice of 2 limes

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp paprika  

2 cloves garlic, crushed

900g flank steak

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 green or red peppers, cut into thin strips

1 large onion, thinly sliced

18 small corn tortillas  

2 tomatoes, diced

1 avocado, diced

  1. Combine the coriander, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, paprika and crushed garlic in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake it to mix the ingredients. Open the bag and add the flank steak. Reseal it, turn to coat the meat, then put it in the fridge to marinate for 40 minutes, turning at least once.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the peppers for five to eight minutes, stirring frequently, then transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Cook the onion in the pan, stirring frequently for 10 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown. Transfer to a separate bowl.
  4. Grill the steak at a medium-high heat for roughly seven minutes per side, until medium-rare. Let it rest for five minutes while warming the tortillas in the oven. Thinly slice the meat and serve with the tortillas, tomatoes, avocado and other fajita fixings. 

PER SERVING 608kcal, 52g carbs, 6g fibre, 46g protein, 23g fat (7g sat fat)

Prawn, artichoke and pesto pasta

Artichoke hearts bring digestion-aiding fibre to the table, and while this dish – devised by dietitian and author of The No Cook, No Bake Cookbook (£9.74, Ulysses Press) Matthew Kadey – is perfect for post-run recovery, it also makes an ideal carb-packed meal the night
before a long run.

SERVES 4 PREP 20 mins

INGREDIENTS

340g wholegrain pasta shells

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

340g artichoke hearts  

450g peeled and deveined prawns

180g green pesto 

60g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced 

Salt to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and then add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the artichoke and cook for three to four minutes, until heated through.
  3. Add the prawns and cook for two minutes, or until the prawns have just turned pink. Add the cooked pasta, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss everything together.

PER SERVING 758kcal, 80g carbs, 17g fibre, 46g protein, 30g fat (6.5g sat fat)

Power-up polenta

Nutritionist Dr Liz Applegate cooks up a nutritionally balanced, quick-to-make breakfast kickstarter. Ideal for when you return ravenous from a pre-breakfast run, it’s loaded with carbohydrates to restock energy stores and protein for muscle repair. Plus, the dried blueberries and almonds provide a health-boosting antioxidant punch. It’s also versatile enough to serve as a pre-run fueller if you don’t want to attack your morning session on an empty stomach.  

SERVES 2 PREP 10 mins

INGREDIENTS 

600ml skimmed milk

80g instant polenta

40g dried blueberries  

40g chopped almonds

2 tbsp honey

Ground cinnamon to taste

  1. Pour 450ml of the milk into a medium-size saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk in the polenta, stirring for five minutes, or until it becomes thick
  2. Stir in the blueberries, almonds, and honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Divide the polenta between two bowls and top each with the remaining milk.

PER SERVING 516kcal, 100g carbs, 6g fibre, 18g protein, 7g fat (1g sat fat) 

Caprese farro salad

Tracy Harris, author of the blog The Runner’s Palate, combines all the goodness of a traditional caprese salad – mozzarella, tomatoes and basil – with farro (melburyandappleton.co.uk), a chewy, nutty cereal rich in protein, fibre and vitamins. 

SERVES 4 PREP 35 mins

INGREDIENTS 

250g farro

220g cherry tomatoes, halved

240g fresh mozzarella, cubed 

20g fresh basil, chiffonade (thin strips made by laying the leaves together, rolling like a cigar, and slicing crossways)

60ml extra-virgin olive oil  

2½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp agave nectar or honey

Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Put the farro in a large saucepan with a litre of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. Drain well with a strainer and place in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Toss to thoroughly mix.
  2. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, agave nectar or honey, and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the farro mixture and toss to coat. Either serve the dish immediately or let it cool to room temperature. 

PER SERVING 530kcal, 52g carbs, 5g fibre, 20g protein, 27g fat (10 g sat fat)