As runners we are so focused on our immediate energy needs that we obsess over macronutrients and forget that not all protein, fat and carbs are created equal. The stress that running puts on the body means that to stay healthy (and fast!), runners need more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than most. In a culture accustomed to processed foods, produce shipped from halfway around the world and mass-farmed meats, it’s more difficult than ever to fulfill our nutritional needs. As a result runners everywhere are missing out on the nourishment their bodies need to thrive.
All photography provided by Alan Weiner.
A year ago, former college roommates and teammates, Shalane Flanagan, American record holder and Olympic medalist, and Elyse Kopecky, whole foods chef, food writer and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) reunited over a home-cooked meal at Shalane’s house to share stories from their recent adventures abroad. Elyse was freshly inspired from two years living in Switzerland surrounded by a culture that celebrates real food and six months in NYC studying culinary nutrition at NGI. Shalane was thrilled to be back home after a successful international racing season and to be once again shopping at the Portland Farmers Market. Together we couldn’t stop talking about our shared passion for cooking nourishing meals and our desire to help female runners everywhere eat better.
And then it was decided. What if we wrote a cookbook that celebrates food in a way that would inspire female athletes to fuel up for the long run? We wouldn’t focus on counting calories and carbs versus protein or the latest fleeting, foolish diet trend. We would show women everywhere that by indulging—yes, indulging—in whole foods, they not only will feel better, look better and train better but will overcome a wide range of ailments.
Leading up to the 2014 Berlin Marathon, Shalane kept a food journal in which she recorded the foods she ate to maximize her performance. Since then we’ve been spending hours together in our kitchens developing Shalane’s favorite performance-enhancing foods into crave-worthy, approachable recipes.
Using her knowledge from studying nutrition at NGI, taking cooking classes in seven countries, running competitively in college and curing through diet her own struggles with athletic amenorrhea, Elyse is carefully crafting each recipe with the purpose of maximizing flavor and nutrition (luckily the two go hand-in-hand) and minimizing digestive distress, toxins and inflammation.
This will not be another runner’s nutrition book pushing high protein, low fat meals, carbo-loading and calorie-counting. This book will be about cooking and eating nutrient-dense, satisfying meals for real performance now and longevity later.
Shalane Flanagan is an Olympic bronze medalist, 3-time Olympian, multiple American record holder, and world-class marathoner. She finished second in the 2010 NYC marathon and ran the fastest time ever by an American woman at the 2014 Boston Marathon, completing the race in 2:22.02. At the 2014 Berlin Marathon Shalane ran the second fastest time ever by an American woman, closing in on Deena Kastor's long standing record. She has been running at an elite level for 14 years and typically runs 100-plus miles a week.
More impressive than her running achievements is that she has never suffered from any of the injuries common to many elite runners. She attributes this to a nutrient-dense diet. Focusing on fueling for health and performance is an integral part of Shalane's training regimen.
Shalane has been featured on the cover of Women’s Running, Running Times, Competitor Magazine and Track and Field News. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN Outside the Lines and Oprah. Her inspiring story has also been heralded in Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Shape, USA Today, the Boston Globe and the NY Times. Shalane speaks passionately about the importance of healthy eating for training at over a dozen running events across the country on a yearly basis.
Elyse Kopecky is a runner, food writer, whole foods chef, consultant and most recently a mother. Shalane and Elyse ran together at UNC and after graduation both worked for Nike, Shalane as a sponsored athlete, Elyse as a digital marketing producer. After 10 years of working in the corporate world, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for cooking and writing about healthy food. She went to NYC to study health-supportive culinary arts at the Natural Gourmet Institute and took cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
Once back in Portland, Elyse was excited to reunite with Shalane and together they discovered their shared passion for helping female runners eat healthier. Elyse manages a social media consulting business focused on helping chefs, cookbook authors and food bloggers reach a larger audience and is currently developing and writing recipes for Darya Rose, author of Foodist.
DON'T MISS A BEET!
DON'T MISS A BEET!