Most runners love eating almost as much as running, even if they don't go about it the same way. Some diligent souls keep track of every gram of carbohydrate and protein that passes their lips. Others are so consumed with work, kids, and training that they grab whatever seems healthy enough to consume on the fly.
Of course, there's no single right way to eat well. Each approach has its own merits and drawbacks. The key to fueling your body and running your best, says San Diego-based nutritionist Tara Coleman, is to understand your tendencies, so you can build on healthy choices and adjust not-so-good-for-you habits.
More: What to Eat Before a Run
Whether you graze every few hours or eat the same three meals every day, here's how to tweak your diet so it better meets your nutritional and running, needs. But remember, no matter what type of eater you are, everyone needs a good dose of these 15 Best Healthy Foods.
The Reactive Eater
"Reactive eaters listen to their bodies," says Coleman, "eating when hungry and what they crave." That's good because it means you stop eating when you're full, reducing your risk of consuming too many calories and gaining weight. But when overwhelmed by work, family, or training, reactive eaters choose whatever foods are close when hunger hits, which sometimes means not-so-healthy fare.
Your diet will benefit from some planning, says Coleman. Cook extras of a dish you can eat cold so it's ready when you need it (try whole-grain pasta with vegetables). Stock your gym bag, desk, and car with carb and protein snacks (sturdy fruit, like apples and peanut-butter, and trail-mix packs).
More: 4 Fully Loaded Meals to Carry You Through Race Day
On the road, skip the chicken patty at the drive through and get the marinated, grilled chicken with roasted veggies in the prepared foods section at the supermarket. Need more meal ideas? Try these healthy recipes.