Like all athletes, Rumble Ambassador and Canadian 800m runner Lindsey Butterworth has had a tricky year. With races cancelled and social distancing measures in place, she had to modify her training and her state of mind to keep motivated. What didn’t change? Her commitment to nutrition.
Runners like Lindsey need proper fuel to keep their energy up, and recover quickly after workouts and races. We ask her how she’s adjusted her diet over the last year, and what she’s learned about nutrition and healthy eating - for running and for life.
Q: Back in 2019, you came in 10th in 800m at the World Championships, and had your sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics - then it was pushed to 2021. Have you running goals changed at all?
A: My running goals haven’t changed over the course of the pandemic - the timeline is just different. I still feel that this is my time, and I am more than ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes up. Training has been going really well and I’m excited to race!
Q: How did you adjust your training?
A: At the beginning of the pandemic with no races, my coach and I would plan our workouts only 2-3 weeks in advance with time trials spaced out every few weeks. This allowed me to focus more on short-term goals rather than the big picture. The time trials gave me some objective tests to see where I was at with training with no races in sight. We are lucky to live in a place like BC, with endless trails and great weather, plus running is such an accessible sport. Sometimes it’s almost like therapy to get out the door in the fresh air and clear your mind. I think that training this year has been just as good for my mental health as it has been physical.
Q: Has your diet changed at all?
A: As I have been working from home during the pandemic, I’ve had more time to make different types of meals that I wouldn’t have made when I am normally going straight to work from training. It’s been nice to make a smoothie at home after a workout, or an omelette. Normally when I'm on-the-go, I bring left-overs for lunch and have less snacks. I think both work for me, but it’s nice to have a change. Lately at home, my go-to smoothie recipe has consisted of a banana, frozen berries, spinach, peanut butter and vegan Rumble Cacao – so good!!
Q: Ooo, we’ll have to try that! How have you kept motivated with so many competitions cancelled or postponed?
A: What has really helped me is to just focus on the day to day. Setting small goals for myself and trying not to plan too far in advance has really helped. I think covid has taught us all to manage expectations, and to be grateful for the small victories.
Q: Has the last year made you rethink anything about your relationship to running or athletics?
A: I’ve always loved to run, but I think this year has definitely taught me to be grateful for any race opportunity and to take nothing for granted. I also think running has continued to be a stress reliever and a chance to get outside in the fresh air every day.
Q: Are there any nutrition habits, routines, macros, or specific foods that runners need in order to be properly fuelled for a run?
A: I think generally it’s really important to find the habits or routines that work best for you as an individual. Consistency also helps me prepare for a run as I know how my body will respond to the same pre-run meal. I typically have the same breakfast every day before a run (toast with peanut butter and a coffee). This is the same meal I will have before a race (day or night). For me, I try to eat more carbs before a run as I find carbs fill me up and give me the energy I need. Usually more bland foods like whole grain toast, oatmeal, and bananas are easier on the stomach pre-run and keep you fuller for longer, but again, that’s individual preference.
Q: What have you learned about nutrition from your experience as a competitive athlete?
A: Everyone is different and adequate nutrition really depends on your sport/activity.There is so much information out there, so I think it is easy to get confused and misinformed. For anyone looking to improve performance through what they eat, I’d recommend seeking professional guidance on the nutritional information you need for yourself and your sport.
That said, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is the importance of recovery. In order to increase recovery, it’s important to replace the nutrients that your body has depleted within 30 minutes of a workout. This is one of the main reasons why I love Rumble because it is a super quick and easy way to promote recovery immediately after a workout with high protein and other vitamins and minerals that we need to replenish.
Q: That’s awesome to hear. What does ‘healthy eating’ mean to you as a runner and in life?
1. Moderation and balance.
Every meal, I try to balance my plate with a protein, a carb (such as rice, pasta, or potatoes), and a few veggies. Also, treats and junk food are okay! It’s easy to get caught up in diet culture and restrictive eating. If I want some chips, I’ll have some chips. If I want dessert (which is very often), I’ll have a dessert. Everything in moderation!
2. The more colourful the better.
I eat lots of fruit and veggies. If you’re not a huge fruit and veggies person, there are a ton of recipes out there that hide them! A prime example is the spinach in my smoothie recipe, or the veggies in Rumble!
3. Try to stay away from processed foods.
If I don’t know what an ingredient is on the label I likely won’t be putting it in my body.
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