Run Fast, Eat Slow: Talking Nutrition with Shalane Flanagan

The fast part is obvious, but the notion of “slow” in Shalane Flanagan’s new cookbook title might sound like a contradiction for the speedy champion marathoner. The four-time Olympian’s debut cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow, is more than just about eating slow. It’s about getting back into the kitchen, preparing healthy meals and fueling your body to perform well. Here, the champion marathoner and HOTSHOT ambassador gives us a look inside her strategic approach to nutrition.

So, why the title, Run Fast, Eat Slow?
Obviously the run fast is pretty self-explanatory. But the eat slow process is about taking the time to cook for your friends and family and sitting down and sharing nourishing meals. The book is meant to inspire people to want to be healthier and fuel themselves properly. Getting back into the kitchen and taking the time to prepare meals for yourself and others can be a gift to be shared.

Have you always felt this attentive and passionate about nutrition and cooking?

When I first started training for the marathon, which was so daunting and overwhelming, I really felt like I had to dial in my nutrition. Endurance athletes really have to not only focus on the training aspect, but the fueling part, as well. What goes into the body is just as important as the other aspects of training.

How did your transition to marathon training and your interest in nutrition align?
There’s that feeling of accountability to know exactly what I am putting in my body. For the marathon, I reached out to resources that could help me become the best athlete I could be; and so I did the same for my nutrition. When I started paying more attention to what I was eating, I became inspired to cook more for myself and make sure I was putting the best fuel inside my body in order to perform well.

What changes did you make to your nutrition planning?
I look at pretty much every ingredient and every food source that I purchase. It’s difficult to shop organic all the time since I travel so often, but when I do get the opportunity, I love to eat locally and eat food that didn’t have to travel long distances to get to my kitchen. Also, local foods generally tend to have more nutrients and a lot more flavor!

What’s different about your understanding of food now?
I genuinely feel like fueling well is an important part of what I do and so it’s become a passion of mine, beyond running. Now I can tell the difference in fruits and vegetables. Before I didn’t even think about it or really understand the importance of color or vibrancy. Checking out the local farms and knowing where your meat is coming from is a very Portland thing. I have dreams of going out this fall to check out the Bison farm of my favorite farmers out in Bend, Oregon.

Run Fast, Eat Slow is collaboration between you and your UNC Chapel Hill teammate and Chef Elyse Kopecky. Any favored recipes?
The salmon and the sweet potato cakes were a result of two of my favorite things to eat. The mix of the salty salmon and the sweet potato is so good —and both are so good for athletes. The fish is unbelievably fresh in Oregon so I said, “Could we blend my two favorite things?” So that’s what we came up with, sweet potato salmon cakes!

How does HOTSHOT fit into your fitness and nutrition regimen?
It’s a responsibility for all athletes to know what they are putting in their body, so knowing that HOTSHOT is organic, all natural ingredients, that’s a key factor for me.

Be sure to check out Run Fast, Eat Slow — on sale now!



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