Financially and nutritionally, I don’t think there’s any way around cooking your own meals. There are many books on sports nutrition and performance training and all have two things in common: the important role nutrition plays in performance and the need to cook/prep your own meals.
One of my ultra-running heroes is Scott Jurek, not because he’s won seven Western States or sports the meanest man perm next to Weird Al, but because of the reverence he places on the food he consumes and the importance of the cooking process as part of his training. He’s recently written “Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” in which he chronicles his running career and the role food played in those experiences. He’s always been an advocate for sustainable and conscious eating. His advocacy for sustainable nutrition and cooking is catching on as more recreational athletes are passing on eating out and cooking for themselves Need proof? Check out any running blog and every single one will have a photo and recipe they’ve cooked recently. Heck, just look at my archived posts about nutrition!
Cooking as a process helps because we have control of what we put into our body. That’s empowerment! When we choose to cook healthy, we help shape our running destiny. You just know you’re going run better. I don’ think anyone’s come away thinking, “Man, I’m going to PR today!” after eating a Big Mac combo meal.
No doubt about it, cooking can sometimes be time-consuming and parts of your day will need to be devoted to it. Look at those moments as small investments towards your success as a runner, just as we devote time to speed workouts and the long run. Cooking needs to be part of the training process!
So, check out some recipes and try them. Let me know of any “must try” recipes. I’m always down to try something new. Oh, and sharing the food you cook is always good running karma:-)