Nutrition for Runners

When I started my running journey, I was a bit heavier than I am now. I weighed about 170 pounds back when I started. Today I weigh about 128. I am 5’7″. I feel that I am a pretty healthy weight now. 

How I lost weight:

I was some-what strict about counting my calories and macros on the app myfitness pal. I learned a lot about my eating habits and the nutritional value of food through using this app every day for 3 years. I went from 170 down to 130 within the first year then I maintained my weight from there. I have not used this app for calorie tracking in over 2.5 years.

Things that helped me lose weight:

1- Eating an entire plate full of salad before dinner every night. 

2- Learning healthy options at restaurants & avoiding eating out more than 1-2x a week

3- Sticking to the meals and snacks I had planned- I would log almost everything the day before and plan out my meals and snack. It will not help you to buy a bunch of fruits and veggies if you don’t prep and plan on eating them

4- Eating my “exercise calories” and NOT under-eating. Even when losing weight, I was eating close 2000 calories a day. Everyone is different, but I could never had survived mentally and physically (running) off eating less than 1700-1800 calories a day running my 30 miles a week back then

How to know how much you should eat?

Try an online calculator like this fill this out like your activity level before exercise

 then add additional calories for your exercise. IE, if you run 30 miles a week that is close to an additional 3000 calories a week of 4ooish a day. 

What Running 60+ miles a week @ 128 5’7″ looks like:

8:00am- post run breakfast 

Bagel, Peanut butter, banana, protein/recovery drink 

10am- morning snack

Protein Bar and pretzels/apple

noon- lunch

pasta, chicken, side salad

1:20pm- afternoon snack

trail mix

3:00pm- afternoon snack

beef jerky

5:30pm- dinner

grilled kabobs, dinner roll, side salad

7:30pm- bedtime snack

greek yogurt, berries, musli/granola

I eat roughly 2800 calories a day if I had to guess. If I am hungry, I eat. The hardest part about my eating now, is eating the most micro-nutrient dense foods. 

Some of my favorites:

-chia seeds & anything (hummus, shakes, mama-chia)

-La croix sparkling water (if you like pop- this will help you kick the habit!)

– pretzel chips

– beef jerky




Race week Preparation checklist

This is my experience on nutrition and “preparing” before a big run or race event. I have learned from my mistakes over the years. What works for me might not work for you, but some of these things have been extremely beneficial to me and many of my athletes to incorporate.

7-4 Days before:

Mentally Check in with your body. How are you feeling? Are you sore? Do you need extra rest? Is something flaring up? I spend this time to become very active in the recovery process.

1- cut back on mileage 5-25% depending on how you feel

2- taking epsom salt baths, stretching, foam rolling, wearing compressions

3- increasing hydration and electrolight intake

4- Positive self talk & reflect on positive race or long run experiences from the pace

3-1 Day before 

Continue to mentally check in with yourself on how you are physically feeling and cut back as needed

1- take an additional rest day if needed

2- Plan out your long run on a map (  OR  view a map of your race to mentally  prepare for the big day!

a- Plan out where water stops will be

On Long Runs: I like to drink water on runs over 90 min. I will typically stop for water every 45 min. This will vary for everyone

During Races: I take water and gaterade at almost every stop

b- Plan out when you will take fuel

On Long Runs & Races: I like to use a Gu (clif shot expresso flavor) on runs over 2 hours. I will usually take them @ 45 min, 90 min, 2 hours, & 2 hours 30 min.

c- Do you know where the bathrooms will be?

I usually only stop during my training runs, but it is very important to know where these are! The last thing you wanna do it be stuck without a bathroom 🙂

3- Continue to hydrate and eat your regular diet. If you are hungry, eat more- now is not the time to starve yourself or try to cut back on calories (you are an athlete!).

4- Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep! Go to bed early! I also try to get my body used to the time I have to wake up in the morning for the race or run.

5- Check the weather forecast & mentally prepare for the race day conditions

12-24 Hours before

1- Make sure you are eating enough. I try to eat foods I am used to and high nutritional value and lots of carbs. IE skipping dinner and eating a blizzard at 8:00pm probably not the best idea, but I am sure it has been done!

2- Find race day or long run outfit & make sure you are stocked up on gus or gels if you use them

My personal rules of thumb for weather:

below 10- dress in as much layers as possible. Cover face and neck

15-25 – Wear at least 2 layers

25-45 One layer long sleves (thermal) & leggings

45- 55 this is where I see the most variation in what runners wear.. anything goes

55-70 shorts and tank top

70+ sports bra and shorts

Raining? Water protection for phone or ipod

3- Make sure you have your morning breakfast planned and availableeat what you normally eat the morning before a long run

My “go-to meal”: bagel with PB- sometimes add a banana & a protein bar 

Night Before going to bed

1- Lay out your running outfit (socks, shirts, gloves, arm warmers, shoes, etc) make sure you have everything out and ready for no surprises

2- Make sure your garmin is charged or charging. Do you have a backup plan in case your garmin malfunctions? App on your phone? Stop watch? Be prepared

3-Set your alarm for the correct time. Mentally plan out your morning. How long does it take you to take a shit after drinking coffee? How long do you need to digest food? How long will it take you to drive there, etc?

4- Once steps 1-3 are done, try not to think about the race. Turn the TV on and read a book

Morning of Big run or Race

1- Get out of bed immediately, don’t press snooze!

2- If you usually have coffee or something to drink in the morning, I would do that right away to wake your body up and get things “flowing”… DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW! I also like to eat right away with that so my body has more time to digest before I begin running

3- Use the bathroom MULTIPLE TIMES. I usually go 3 times before a big run. My husband goes 4-6 times before a big run or race. Neither one of us have ever had bathroom or stomach issues during a race. I like to think it’s because we “clean out”. I think this is something your body learns over time. If you can’t go, don’t panic or stress.

4-Do a mental check before you leave your house. Do you have everything?

Gels? Bibs? water? hydration pack? extra layers? watch? Earbuds? Throw aways to keep you warm before? snacks? protein shake for after? Ipod?

5- Make sure you get there early enough to use the bathroom or get your bib if needed.

During the run

1-Follow your pacing plan & fuel plan. 

2- don’t go out to fast 🙂

3- enjoy!

After the Run

1- Do a cool down and let your HR drop before you sit down. Stand or walk around for a few min to catch your breath

2- After your cool down, grab your water and recovery shake and do some light stretching

3- If it is cold out and/or you are wet, you will need to start thinking about getting dry clothes on within 5-10 min of stopping otherwise you will get very cold fast

Next 24 Hours

1- Put on compression socks or pants

2- eat nutritious foods and take your supplements as usual if any

3- foam roll, yoga, relax!



LA Marathon Recap

Friday- Travel day!

I took a half day from work to catch our 4:30pm flight from Minneapolis to LAX airport. Finally after getting our rental car & checking into our hotel in little Toyko at 11:30pm, we were able to get some food down the street at some place called “Mr. Pizza”.  At this point, we were both tired from traveling & up way past our bed time!

Saturday- Olympic Trials

I woke up in a much better mood. We had a pretty fun day ahead of us. 

7:15am- stand in the line at the expo for 45 min until it opens

8:00-9:30– LA Marathon expo & bib pickup!

9:30-1:30– watch the Olympic Trials 

The Olympic Trials were amazing. Jason & I bought VIP tickets which included access to a premium seating at the start/finish line, a tent area to stay out of the sun, bathrooms, free water bottles, mimosas, a buffet for lunch and breakfast… It was pretty sweet 🙂 I definitely recommend doing this if you ever watch the trials. 12705374_10205737165609761_4321484497820188671_n.jpg11230592_10205757997930556_5274922576794038916_n.jpg

That is how I got all these sweet up-close photos like this:


As the Trials went on, it became VERY clear that the heat and sun were taking a toll on many of the athletes. We must have seen 4 dozen runners drop out of the trials. I was hot and uncomfortable just standing outside. As I watched the runners, I re-assessed my goals for the LA Marathon the next day. I was reminded of how heat and sun will take it’s toll on you especially during a 26.2 mile race. 

Sunday- Race day

Despite running 12 marathons/ultras before, I was still kinda nervous. It’s funny how that works 🙂

I was mentally ready for the heat. I accepted that it would be a huge factor in the race for me. I was mentally ready for a non-PR day. I was ready to “enjoy it” and give it my best effort. I was at peace with it. 

4am- wake up

5:00 -walked 1 mile to Union Station 

5:30am– shuttle from Union Station to Dodger field/the start

On the shuttle, I remember telling Jason,

I will probably go out in a 1:38-1:39 then come back with a 1:48 and just sneak under 3:30“. 

He was quite about his goals, so I knew that meant he was going to try for a PR.

6:30am- get in line for race


6:55 am- the start

1 Mile- 7:13 

This mile was directly downhill

2 Mile- 7:10

Again, a HUGE downhill. But I knew I needed to slow my roll

3 Mile- 7:29

I started trying to find shade on the course. I was actively trying to slow down. I was not getting passed by A LOT of people.

4 Mile- 7:36

I tried to continue to mentally tell make myself  SLOW down. This is not fun- it meant getting passed by a LOT of people. This was hard for me to do because I felt really great, but I knew I needed to be smarter.

5 Mile- 7:52

There was a big uphill section here, but I felt like I was finally running around the correct pace.

 I was trying to find as much shade as possible. I was dumping water on my head at every water stop as well as drinking as every water stop


6 Mile- 7:45 *Gu

After taking my gu, for the first time in the entire race, I began to feel good about the pace & comfort of my run. I felt like I was getting into the groove, but I could tell it was also getting hotter by the second.

7 Mile- 7:21

Probably a sugar rush from the Gu & the crowds for the first time in a few miles. I took a few selfies and gave a few high fives.

8 Mile- 7:24

At 8 miles I was at exactly 1 hour. 7:30 average. I felt okay with that. 

9 Mile- 7:35

10 Mile- 7:17

At this point, I was starting to have thoughts like, “maybe you could still PR.. Maybe you could just go for it? What do you have to lose?”. I stopped looking at my watch and focused on keeping the pace moderately comfortable, staying in the shade, and staying hydrated.

11 Mile- 7:14

12 Mile- 7:16 * Gu

13 Mile- 7:37

Half 1:38-1:39 ish 

They say you should always “re-evaluate” at half way. I decided that a PR was officially 100% out of the question. I was just going to maintain my effort and hope for the best

14 Mile= 7:37

15 Mile- 6:55 (MEGA huge downhill)

16 mile- 7:20 (downhill)

Hit 16 miles in exactly 2 hours. 8mph 7:30 pace exactly again. 

17 mile – 7:55 * Gu

The Gu basically had 0 effect on how I felt. I knew the last 9 miles would be a grind.

18 Mile- 7:53

19 Mile- 7:58

At 19.5 I was completely exposed to the sun. From 14-19, I was passing a lot of people, but I was starting to feel REALLY crappy. I told myself to be grateful that I even have the ability to run 26.2 miles 

20 Mile- 8:05

21 Mile- 8:34

I remember getting passed by like 20 people at once somewhere in this section. I thought my calfs were going to explode. I didn’t even feel like I was moving any more.

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22 Mile – 8:23

23 Mile – 8:40

I knew my pace was slipping a lot. There were times when my watch said I was going 9:xx pace. I never like seeing that. 

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My Legs felt like lead, then I could feel that we were now shifting to the downhill section- the final part of the course. It was tough to get the legs turning, I tried.

24 Mile- 8:35

 I set a new goal for myself to break 3:25

25 Mile- 8:01

Instead of 3:25, I wanted 3:23

26 Mile- 7:54

Last .38 miles @ 7:39 avg



87 /9,122 women

729/20,623 Overall

11th in the 20-24 Age Division

No matter how many marathons you finish, you are SO freaking happy when you cross that finish line. I don’t think I have ever been more talkative & grateful to the volunteers. I was almost in tears I was so happy to be DONE.


I felt like I had really accomplished something when I finished. I never once felt “great” during the race, but I never once thought about quitting. I was completely in control of the “mental demons”. I felt really refreshed knowing that I kept a positive attitude.

Once I finished, I saw our Lifetime group and Jason. The group from Minnesota we were with- Some people were over 30 min off their PRs- others had dropped out. I am going to attribute it to: HEAT, SUN & HILLS. This is not an easy course by any means, but it was also not the hardest I have done 🙂 Although it’s never fun to run 9 min off your PR (3:14), I still feel great about the race. 

Since May 2013:

-13 Marathons/Ultra Marathons

(4:09, 3:47, 3:45, 3:43, 3:27, 3:31, 3:59, 3:26, 3:19, 3:20, 3:14, 3:24, 3:23)

-8 Boston Qualifying Marathon Times in 7 different states

  • – 8 Different States (MN, WI, IA, MA, FL, CA, KS, NV)

LA Training Wrap Up!

In December, I decided to buckle down and actually train for my marathon. Usually, I am not very good at following a training plan or doing what I’m supposed to for races. I just do what I feel like, and it usually works out.

All of my training was done on a treadmill

Week 1: 12/4 ( 72 mi total)- build

workout1- 5 x .75 mile @ 6:22 with .25 jog between (9 mi total)

workout2- 2x 2 mi @ 6:38 avg (9 mi total)

Long Run- 15.1 miles @ 7:24

Week 2: 12/11 ( 73 mi total)- build

workout1- 3 x 2 mi @ 6:40 avg (11 total @ 7:15)

workout2- 6 x 800 @ 3:07 avg (9 total @ 7:20 avg)

Long Run- 18 miles @ 7:40

Week 3: 12/17 ( 57 mi total)- build


workout1- 2 x 3.1 miles @ 6:36 avg with .5 jog (11 miles @ 7:00)

Long Run- 16.5 miles @ 7:16 avg- last 6 @ 6:55

Week 4: 12/21 ( 50 mi total)- cut back

VACATION- No workouts or long runs in Mexico

Week 5: 12/28 ( 71 mi total)- build

Workout1- 8 x 800 @ 3:04 avg (11 mi total 7:15avg)

workout2-  4 & 3 mi tempo @ 6:36 avg (13.1 miles @ 7:05)

Long Run- 19 miles @ 7:24 avg – middle 7 @ 7:00

Week 6: 1/4 ( 72 mi total)- build

workout1-  5 x 1 mile @ 6:20 avg (11 total 7:10 pace)

workout1- 6 & 2 mi tempo @ 6:37 (14.1 @ 6:55)

Long Run- 21.6 miles @ 7:24

Week 7: 1/11 ( 64 mi total)- cut back

workout1- 6 x 800 @ 3:04 & 4 x 400 @ 5:40 avg (10 @ 6:55)

workout2- 3 x 2 mi @ 6:24 avg (11 total @ 6:53)

Long Run- 17 @ 7:03 – last 13 @ sub 7

Week 8: 1/18 ( 80 mi total)- peak

workout1- 3 x 3.1 @ 6:48 with .5 jog – (15 @ 7:05avg)

workout2- 7 x 1 mi @ 6:15- (13.1 @ 6:48)

long run- 23 miles @ 7:24 – last 13 @ 7:07 avg

Week 9  1/25: ( 68 mi total)- peak first half/taper second half

workout1- 8 mile aerobic tempo @ 6:58 (13.1 miles @ 7:12)

workout2- 10 @ 6:50 avg (fartlek)

Long Run- 17 miles @ 7:05 progression

Week 10: ( 56 mi total)- taper

workout 1- 10 x 800 @ 3:04 avg (10 @ 6:53 total)

workout 2- 11 mile progression @ 6:55 avg

Long Run- 14 miles marathon simulation @ 7:10avg

Week 11: ( 57 mi total)- RACE WEEK- taper

workout1- 5 miles aerobic tempo (7:00) (8.5 total @ 7:10)

workout2- 2×2 mi @ 6:55 & 6:42 avg (8 total 7:11)


Should be interesting to see how race day goes! Temps will be in the 70s and 80s 😮 flight leaves tomorrow!


7 Tips to Speed up Recovery

Running can leave you feeling sore especially when you are ramping up and training for a big race like your first half or full marathon. Over the years, I have discovered a lot of recovery tricks that would have been very beneficial knowing from day 1. I decided to share everything I do with you guys 🙂 Hope this helps aid in your recovery process.

1- Take a rest day

This might be SO obvious, but it is super important. Rest days are key to recovery. I like to incorporate at least 1 rest day per week. This will vary from person to person. Many of the athletes I coach have 3 rest days in a 14 day span. If you have not taken a rest day in awhile and you feel run-down, I would advise a rest day 🙂 Rest is an important part of training.

Note: If you are on a “run streak” your rest day might mean 1 very slow mile

2- Foam Roll and/or “the stick”

The best place to purchase these items is online or at a large marathon expo. I would recommend foam rolling 3-5x per week anywhere from 5-10 min at a time. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you aid in the recovery. Essentially you are giving yourself a deep muscle “massage” when you do this to remove tension. This can be uncomfortable at times, but it is worth it.

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3- Hot Epsom Salt Baths

I have done the whole “ice bath” thing in the past, and it is very uncomfortable. I don’t necessary recommend that. Instead, I will recommend a hot epsom salt bath! You can purchase epsom salt near the medicine section of any drug store or target/walmart kind of store.  Espom salt is said to remove toxins from muscles. It is also good to get the muscles in your legs warmed up. Warming up the muscles increases blood flow which increases recovery 🙂

4- Compression socks or pants

Compression socks/pants provide pressure to your legs which promotes blood flow to your legs. This helps prevents swelling and aids in the recovery process. You can purchase these online or at a running store! They should be pretty snug. I always struggle to get mine on and off. Tiux Compression socks are my favorite by far! You can get yours online here !

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5. Massage

I like to get a deep tissue massage every 6-8 weeks. There are almost always gropons to places to get a massage for 40$. Once you find a place you like, most places offer monthly massages for $55 bucks a month. I have had a membership to a massage place for 3 years, and it holds me accountable to get a massage on a regular basis (otherwise I probably would not go as often).

6. Cryotherapy

If you live in a big city you might have access to a cryotherapy machine. This machine essentially goes super cold for 3 min. When you get out, the blood flow increases which promotes recovery. This is about $20 a session. Kinda fun to try the first time too.Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 8.13.23 AM.png

6. Light Sauna Stretching or Heated Yoga

I like to go into a sauna and stretch out a bit. The sauna helps warm you up and promotes blood flow and stretching out muscles can help relive stiffness.

7. See an ART Specialist

Most larger cities have ART (active release therapy specialist). If something specific is tight, they are trained in ART to help trigger the area and provide recovery. Essentially this is like an active/deep tissue massage. These people are usually chiropractors/doctors.

These are all things you can do once you are ALREADY sore. Perhaps next time I will make a post on how to recover right away after a run to avoid getting sore 🙂 Hope this helps!

Victoria Phillippi — Run4PRS

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