Runner’s Diet

Fernstrom, Madeyln. The Runner’s Diet: the Ultimate Eating Plan That Will Make Every Runner (and Walker) Leaner, Faster and Fitter. New York: Rodale, 2005.

Reason : yup. Still on the running kick.

Author fact: Dr. Fernstrom is the founder of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Book trivia: don’t expect recipes.

The Runner’s Diet is chock full of information, both about running and nutrition. While a great deal of the information is pretty standard stuff, I took it as necessary reminders (keep your head up when you run and be diligent about portion control, for example). Despite the basic hand-holding I think I was looking for more structured information, maybe even specific diet plans. I know that comes from not having the imagination to come up with menus of my own.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition

Clark, Nancy. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Ed. Champaigne, IL: Human Kinetics, 2013.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook is jam-packed with all sorts of information, including eating disorders (anorexia & bulemia), which is something I didn’t encounter with other nutrition-for-athletes books I have read. While a great deal of the information is useful I also felt there was a great deal of repetition and common sense “fillers” that took up space (like her comment on plastic water bottles which has nothing to do with sports or nutrition, just her opinion). I enjoyed the clean and well organized chapters but didn’t try any of the recipes in the back. Although I initially borrowed this from a library, this is the kind of book I would buy to keep on my personal library shelves in order to refer back to it again and again.

Reason read: the Toronto Half Marathon is less than a week away. Talk about getting some last minute advice!

Book trivia: while most of the illustrations are interesting and well-meaning, some are downright goofy.

New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition

Fitzgerald, Matt. The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: a Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall.” Boston: Da Capo Press, 2013.

Reason read: So. I have this little run of 13.1 miles in Toronto in less than two weeks. I’m just now thinking I should research nutrition for this jaunt.

As much as I love books that are designed to make me a better anything my eyes glaze over when the information becomes too out-of-my-league. Take, for example Fitzgerald’s recommendation that runners should know “basic” information: body weight and V02 max. I can jump on a scale and figure out BMI, weight, fat % and bone density… but V02 max? I’m a middle-aged housewife just looking for a little more information on nutrition for runners. Obviously, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition is for consumers who are much more hardcore about running than I am! But having said all that, there was a plethora of take-away information that I could (and probably will) use. Pre-race nutrition was especially helpful, as was the nutrition training plans and the chart of diet quality guidelines.

Author fact: Fitzgerald has written a few other books about running, nutrition and the like.

Book trivia: Kara Goucher, two-time Olympian, wrote the foreword for New Rules. Ryan Hall, also an Olympian, endorsed the book as well.

Nutrition for Life

Hark, Lisa. Nutrition for Life: the no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and reaching your healthy weight. London: DK Publishing, 2005.

I would have preferred this book title have one small change – instead of “reaching your healthy weight” why not “maintaining your healthy weight.” Why does it have to be all about being fat? Why can’t it be about being healthy? But, aside from that small gripe this is a great book.

Nutrition for Life is overflowing with information. Even though the emphasis is on nutrition there is a whole chapter dedicated to weight management. It is more than an “eat this and not that” book.  The attempt is to make the reader more aware of the benefits of eating better by supplying information about the medicinal value of food, the difference between store-bought and farm-fresh, and the right foods for different age groups. Nutrition for Life also includes a diet directory. Every well-known diet (including famed Scarsdale, South Beach, and grapefruit diets) is explained with a section on how it works, how you do it, whether it is healthy or not and example of a day on the diet.

I appreciated the case studies of people with examples of special dietary needs. Putting a face to different health issues helped put the importance of food into perspective. The other thing that was great about Nutrition for Life was the photography. The pictures are extremely glossy and gorgeous.