October 4, 2011

Training Staples

On a recent blog post, someone asked if we drank coffee or alcohol. We don't, but that question inspired Andrea to write a post on some of our staple training foods. We already covered breakfast a few weeks ago (Breakfast of Champions). I would say overall we eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet, and that has been a contributing factor to how well we are running. We do have some vices, although we are making strides to cut back on the junk even more...

[The rest of this post was written by Andrea]

Jake and I have recently given up carbonated drinks (post coming soon on Jake's first three weeks without Diet Mountain Dew!). Because water is just too bland to drink all the time, these Hawaiian Punch Singles (from Family Dollar) have been a great alternative. We put two singles with one Emergen-C to get some extra electrolytes and vitamins in 32 oz bottles. My favorite is probably the Lemon Berry Squeeze.

Jake and I eat at least one 3.5 lb package a week of broccoli florets from Costco. They are so much better than those terrible broccoli cut packages that consist of mostly stems. Putting a little shredded cheese on top doesn't hurt either! We eat tons of steamed vegetables, for lunch and dinner everyday.

This ground turkey has also become quite a staple in our diets because it is super lean and we can get it for only $2.29 for 1.25 lbs at Costco. Tough to beat that. Ground beef tastes better, but with the right seasoning you can't even tell a difference between the two. When chicken breasts are on sale, we'll buy those and alternate between the chicken and ground turkey.

Speaking of the right seasoning, the Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning is awesome. It can make pretty much anything taste good. Although we wouldn't recommend taking it on camping trips or else a bear might just try to eat all your food (see JMT Day 1).

We eat macaroni and cheese the night before every races. For some reason, the taste of whole wheat pasta doesn't taste right for mac and cheese to us. The Garden Delight noodles are still very healthy, with one serving of vegetables per 4 oz serving. In terms of cheese, it's hard to beat Velveeta.

Quakes are a great afternoon snack. I have been known to eat a bag of these in one sitting, but I don't feel too bad about it with only 420 calories per bag. I really like the cheddar flavor; not much a fan of the other kinds.

As runners, it's very important to make sure we are getting all of our vitamins. Jake and I both take women's vitamins (for the iron). I have to take an additional iron pill because I was borderline anemic last year. I can definitely tell a difference and would recommend all runners to consult with a doctor to make sure they have the proper iron levels.

There have been an abundance of studies showing that chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink. We try to drink it within 30 minutes after hard workouts. Disregard the manager's special stickers - we're also cheap! :-)

Candy and ice cream are our vices. Running 70-140 miles a week justifies some treats, right? We have been known to have 10+ cartons of ice cream at a time (we eat ice cream every night). Kroger's Jammed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream has been our go-to for the last year and a half. [Note from Jake: Andrea took away all the candy a few days ago (bagged it up and hid it) so we can be fast and light for our target fall races! We're really trying to cut back in this category!]

If you have any new staples that we should try, we are open to suggestions!

[Update: See Training Staples Part II for more]


  1. You guys are awesome and I am pretty sure it is all the icecream you eat that makes you so fast. :) I also love the Hawaiin punch drink mixes and chedder flavored quaker rice cakes. They taste just like cheetos right?

    Now maybe one of you could do a post on how you got so fast? Did you run in HS, college? Think a lot of it is natural? Or can the majority of it be contributed to hardwork and training? I am just wondering if there is any hope for me.

  2. Rachelle your future in running is SO BRIGHT!!! You have such passion for the sport and you work hard... those are things that are internal and you can't teach to people... and they are absolutely crucial.

    In the next Utah Running magazine, there will be an article where I go through my background in the sport. Andrea and I both have talent, but its not like we were superstars in college. Andrea didn't even run in college and before this year was a 20-21 minute 5K / 1:34+ half marathoner... and I was very good in high school but struggled for a lot of years afterwards... and didn't even compete for 3 years before this past year. Then we committed ourselves to working hard but having fun, and this year has been a blast and opened tons of new doors for us looking forward into the future.

    I'd be happy to answer any more specific questions, give you some tips on training, etc. Think about coming up for our 5K over Halloween if you don't have anything else going on. It would be great to meet you in person!


  3. Jake thank you so much for your response! I really really appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement. It has been so exciting and inspiring for me to follow yours and Andrea's training and what I admire most is that you are both so genuine and humble. I really look up to you both a lot and have learned so much from you. I will definitely let you know what specific questions I have because I know I always have so many.

    I am a very new runner and didn't even think of running until Summer of 2010. I feel like I have kind of hit a plateau but know I have so much potential and more than anything my heart is in it. Thanks again for being so helpful and encouraging. I am so excited for your race Sunday. Is there a way we can track you guys online?

  4. Green leafy vegetables are a good staple so are tomatoes. For my easy snack foods I drink Bolthouse farm smoothies. I also like to snack on dried fruit and nuts. I also love to eat chips. My favorite type is the TERRA vegetable chips.

  5. Rachelle - the fact that you have gotten to your ability level in such a short time is pretty incredible. Loving the sport and having motivation is the hardest thing for most people, so that in itself will take you a long way.

    James - thanks for the ideas. We will definitely try the smoothies or TERRA chips!

  6. Some of my staples:
    -emergen-c (every morning -- for the extra vitamins and electrolytes)
    -Greek yogurt - protein! And great for a quick breakfast. I usually eat it with granola mixed in -- oats, dried fruit, nuts -- great "refeul" meal.
    -Peanut/almond butter or hummus with celery or any other vegetables (excellent snack food)
    -Spinach (2-3 bags per week)
    -Fruit -- I snack on various fruits all day. Apples and bananas are the staples, with berries, nectarines, peaches and melons when in season. More citrus in the winter. I easily eat 6-8 servings a day.

  7. Yuck I can't stand the taste of Greek yogurt! haha. That is why we make the breakfast casserole for protein in the morning, post run.

    I do actually love spinach but we don't seem to eat it enough. I was just thinking about that the other night.

  8. Jake and Andrea. I really appreciated reading this post. Such great ideas and insight. I love the ice cream in the freezer. I must confess that one blog post of Andrea's showed her eating a dairy queen chocolate dipped cone (this was in July I think). well after I saw that, I craved those so bad and ate at least 2 a week up until about a week ago. So thanks Andrea for spawning a new craving for me! :) Anyways, I love posts like this. Andrea, can you please do a post about how exactly you got faster this past 2 years? I am wanting to get to the next level in my training and I am unsure how to go about it. I would honestly appreciate your insight. Running quick doesn't just come I know that, but share what kind of workouts you have done, and if they were with someone. How they started out and how they progressed (timeline). If you don't mind anyway? I know life is busy busy! :) Loves to you both. You are fantastic and amazing and I am so glad you love Utah!