Summarized from "Core Performance: Endurance" by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams.

We talk so much about training and miles but we also need to focus on eating properly.  There is no way to improve our athletic performance unless we recognize that eating properly is half of the formula.   Without proper nutrition, we will not have the fuel we need for each training session, nor will we give our bodies the ability to recover properly.  

Most of us fall into 2 categories...we fear food because it will make us gain weight or we exercise for the purpose of eating.   Neither of these work well for endurance athletes so below are 5 key nutritional points. 


As endurance athletes we should be consuming 2-4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day. An easy rule is to include a fist-size portion of carbs at most meals.

Carbs are our primary source of food, they provide energy for muscle function and act as the primary fuel for our brain.  When we eat the perfect amount, they are stored in our liver and muscle for future energy.  But when we eat to little we run out of fuel (energy) and when we eat to many they are converted to sugar and stored as fat.   Most importantly we should be avoiding processed carbs such as white bread, pastas and baked goods.  Processed carbs provide little nutritional value and are converted quickly to sugar and stored as fat.  We should eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole-wheat pastas, whole-wheat cous-cous and brown rice. 


As endurance athletes we should be consuming .6-.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.  A portion of lean meat about the size of a deck of cards has about 35 grams of protein.

Protein builds, maintains and restores muscle.  If protein is not consumed with enough carbs to give the body the energy it needs it will be used as energy, which is inefficient and ineffective.   It should be included in every meal to help stabilize energy levels and rev up your metabolism. 

Low-fat dairy products and lean meat are great sources of protein. It's been said that the less legs something has the better the ratio of protein to healthy fat.  For example, fish have no legs and are very healthy.  Squirrels have 4 legs and are NOT very healthy. :)

1 cup of milk has 8 grams, 4 oz of chicken has 35 grams, 6 oz of salmon has 40 g, 1 egg has 6 grams (3 in the white). 

** For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, visit

3.  FAT

We all need some fat.  Good fat provides powerful nutrients for cellular repair of the joints.  These good fats can be found in olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil and nuts.   The rule here is to avoid foods that have the words "hydrogenated" or "fractioned" in the first 4 ingredients. 


Try forgetting 3 square meals each day and try 6 small meals per day.   First and foremost, do not skip breakfast as this is your fuel for the rest of the day.  We recommend 3 moderate meals and 3 small snacks. 

Metabolism is like a fire which is in constant need of fuel.  If you let a fire go to long without adding wood, it would smolder and die out. Metabolism is much the same.  Each time you eat, you crank up your metabolism and burn calories to digest the food.   If we don't eat often the body will eat its most readily available substance which contrary to popular belief is not's muscle.

Keep the meals and snacks balanced.  Your meals should be full of colorful vegetables, have a fist size portion of unprocessed carbs and a deck of card size portion of lean meat. 


As endurance athletes we should be consuming 1/2 - 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. 

There is no simpler way to maintain and improve your performance than proper hydration.   Minor dehydration impairs concentration, coordination, reaction time and reduces stamina.  It's said that dehydration of just 3% causes a 10% loss in strength and an 8% loss in speed. 

When training over an hour or in very hot conditions it is important to drink something with glucose, sodium and potassium like Gatorade.  Salty sweaters (those who end up with a white film after your workout) will need higher concentrations, which can be found in drinks like Gatorade Endurance.  These drinks should only be used when training and not as a replacement for water during the day.



Collectively our registration donations will make an impact for the beneficiaries participating in Steps Together but the possibility of what we can all do beyond that is so much greater.  

Let’s say a beneficiary has thirty people walking or running on their behalf, if each of those thirty people manages to send an email or letter and collect $100, that’s $3,000 more dollars.   If each of those thirty people collects $1,000, that’s $30,000 in additional funds raised

In five years of coaching destination marathon teams, 98% of our participants raised in excess of $3,000. The point is, the potential to make this much greater than participation in a walk or run is at our fingertips.

So, how do you write an "ask" letter?   Keep it simple and speak from your heart.  

For those supporting families:  

  • How did you feel when you heard the beneficiary’s story?
  • What is it about the family that made you want to participate? 
  • What in your life is similar to this family?
  • Explain what if feels like to be helpless.

For those supporting non-profits and causes:

  • Detail whom the non-profit benefits.
  • What is it about the non-profit’s efforts that means the most to you?
  • Share if anyone in your life benefited from the non-profit.

Other suggested inclusions:

  • Include payable information for the beneficiary you are participating on behalf of by including the online donation link that can found on each beneficiary page. 
  • Remind donors to message you when they make a donation on your behalf so that you can thank them accordingly.   You'll also find when someone sponsors you it's quite motivating to push on so you'll want to know for that reason as well. 
  • Consider leaving the “ask” amount open-ended. If you ask for $25, you will receive $25.  If you leave it open, you may receive $50 or $100.
  • Include details of your fundraising goal, if you have one.  
  • Invite recipients of your letter to share your purpose and goals with their networks. 
  • Encourage donations today as financial support for our beneficiaries is immediate although the event is not until September 29th.

Who should receive your letter?

  • Print out the holiday card address labels and be sure to reach out to every contact via email or a printed and mailed letter.  We still love the printed and mailed letter above all!  
  • Email your entire workplace network.
  • Consider your neighbors who will see you doing your training walks and runs. 

Finally, keep the momentum going.

Use soft reminders like Facebook and Twitter to share your excitement after a donation is received or you've had a great workout.    End each one with links to how people can support your effort.  

Get out there and be unstoppable just as you would hope someone would be if you were facing a crisis.  We promise you'll be amazed by the response you get.