Book review – The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald


I know I’m not alone in being really interested in nutrition and running. Over the last few years there have been all sorts of various diets and certain foods recommended or to be avoided. I have watched with interest as friends have radically changed their eating habits with the aim to improve their ultra running performance.

Personally I have worked fairly hard to keep my weight down hoping that it would help my endurance running and I do feel it has. To do this all I have really done is to try and eat sensible portions and avoid puddings during the week. We generally eat healthily with lots of fruit and vegetables.

So I was very interested to be given a copy of Matt Fitzgerald’s latest book, ‘The Endurance Diet’. I have read a few of Matt’s books and always found them very interesting and thought provoking. This one was no exception.

Before I started it I wondered whether it would be advocating a particular diet which would mean a radical change in eating habits but it is nothing like that at all.

The basis of the book is Matt’s extensive research. The subtitle is ‘Discover the World’s Greatest Athletes’ 5 Core Habits to Look, Feel and Perform Better.’ Matt uses his research of athletes from various sports in many countries to show how they have worked out by trial and error what works for endurance athletes.

According to the book there are five core habits that elite athletes follow. They are:-

1. Eat Everything
2. Eat Quality
3. Eat Carb-Centered
4. Eat Enough
5. Eat Individually

Each chapter is really easy and interesting to read. Matt starts each section with a story from his travels giving an example to follow or a things to avoid.

I found that there was loads of common sense and really helpful yet challenging ideas to think through. I found myself agreeing with so much especially when compared with many diets which encourage us to avoid certain foods or drastically reduce particular food types.

The chapter on Eat Everything starts on this theme that we need a balanced diet which includes all the food groups. He uses the example of the LottoNL-Jumbo professional cycling team and shows what they eat when they are training and competing.

For chapter I found most interesting was the 3rd habit – Eat Carb-Centered. I was also listening to a podcast which was advocating a low carb diet at the same time I was reading the chapter. I found myself agreeing with Matt’s reasoning and the examples he gave and I was struggling to see how the podcast’s ideas would help my training.

I have always struggled with the idea of eating a low carb diet as I thought it would compromise my training and in races carbs are always available. Matt uses the example of the Kenyan distance runners and shows how their diet is carb rich and needs to be because of the amount of running they are doing.

By the time I had finished the 5 chapters I was really encouraged that the way we eat is not far from what Matt is encouraging. It has certainly given me a blueprint of comparing and analysing various diets and nutrition plans that come and go in the endurance world.

In the final five chapters Matt deals with issues like Building Elite Eating Habits, Fine-Tuning Your Endurance Diet, Endurance ‘Superfoods’ before giving some great examples of Endurance Recipes and finishing with a chapter on Diet-Exercise Synergy.

I found the chapter on Endurance ‘Superfoods’ particularly helpful as it gave reasons why the 22 foods he highlights are helpful for our diet.

I would thoroughly recommend the book for anyone interested in how to improve their performance through what they eat. I love the fact that what Matt proposes is a healthy lifestyle rather than a particular diet.

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Summary of runs this week

I’ve decided to have a two week taper before the Highland Fling so this week is going to be my final harder week.

Monday – Club Fartlek session

There were 7 of us for the session but 3 were looking to do half of it. The full session was 1min (30secs recovery), 3 x [3min (90sec) & 6min (2min)] 1min

I was feeling okay and certainly worked hard throughout the run. I started near the back and worked my way past those in front. My stats ….


Wednesday – run before work

I was heading up to Inverness for a few days after work so set off just after 7am for a run before work. It was fairly cold but it was good to get out. I ran my normal loop past Dykebar hospital.

For the first few miles I felt I was flying along but once I headed back home I realised why! It was really windy and the second half of the run was definitely harder than the first half!


Thursday – Run in Alness with Katrina

We are staying in Hollie’s flat while she is away. We are looking after our grandson Seth for the day. As Laura and Micah are with us we were able to get out for a run before breakfast.

We chose an out and back to Invergordon as there is a cycle path the whole way. The wind was with us on the way out which meant we were right into on the way back.

Katrina is running really well at the moment as she builds up to the Stirling Marathon. We are off to the park now with two of our grandsons!



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LOVEultras 001

Right from the start of running ultras in 2006 I have enjoyed sharing my training and races on this blog and through videos.

I have decided to introduce another media to share my thoughts. I have decided to call these videos ‘LOVEultras‘ and they will be available on Youtube and here.

I’m not sure how many I will do and how often but here is a the first one where I answer the question, ‘Why did I start running ultras? I hope you enjoy them! I would be interested in any comments or feedback if you have time. Thanks

To make sure you don’t miss any the best way would be to subscribe to my YouTube channel then you will see them as I upload them.

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Linwood parkrun report

This week has been an easy week with a couple of runs on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ve had a bit of a head cold with snuffy nose so it worked out quite well!

I was keen to run the Linwood parkrun as I’ve done one this year. Also our good friends Neal and Caroline were running so arranged to go for a swim afterwards and have lunch at our house. We even ‘borrowed’ Micah for the swim which was great fun.

I didn’t feel particularly good during a warm up lap but decided to push as hard as I could for the run and see what happened.

I started with Neal who was pushing Harrison in his buggy and hoped I could stay ahead of him. We had had some fun banter on twitter before the run ….

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Neal’s reply ….

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I set off with the aim of keeping my breathing under control and running as hard as I could. Martin was out taking photos and took some at the end of the first straight.

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Neal not far behind

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Katrina starting well

Over the first lap I slowly caught up and passed a few runners and was happy that Neal was still behind me. I was feeling okay and concentrating on keeping a steady pace and effort.

Martin took some more photos at the end of lap 1.

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Neal working hard to catch up and I’m working hard to stay ahead!

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Katrina ran with Rhona and they helped each other to good runs

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Caroline was concentrating hard on her run too!

On the second lap I tried to hang on to a guy just in front but he pulled away a few yards. Then as we ran down the dirt section of the run I could hear a buggy behind me and knew that Neal wasn’t far away.

When we reached the 90 degree left turn I glanced back and sure enough I saw the buggy. Initially I resigned myself that he would be going past but then decided to make it as hard as I could for him!

As the second loop went on and he didn’t catch me I was more hopeful that I might be able to stay ahead but I know only too well about Neal’s sprint finish. In certainly helped me keep my pace up!

As we turned left for the final time I couldn’t hear him so hoped I had enough of a lead to hold him off to the finish. I did!!

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Sprint finish!!

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Neal hard on my heals

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Katrina finishing with a smile on her face!

Results …..

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Most impressive was Katrina’s 37 second pb!! which took her to 4th place in the age graded results. Well done Katrina! Caroline also ran a pb at Linwood so both of them are in good shape for the Stirling Marathon.

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Laura brought Micah over so we could take him swimming. So time for a photo …


Stats from movescount …

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Video of my Two Day Training Run on the whw

I thought instead of a written report I’d do a video blog of my two day run. It last 20mins.

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2 Day run on the whw

I really enjoyed my two day run on the whw. Saturday I ran from Tyndrum to Glencoe Ski Lodge with Katrina and then on Sunday Glencoe to Fort William.

I took some video clips along the way so I’ll post the video later  but for now a summary of my runs and some photos!

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Review of March

March has been a mixed month in that for the first part of the month I was concentrating on the Inverness half marathon but also trying to keep my longer off road runs going.

In total I ran 176.94 miles.

Here is a summary of runs …

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In graph form …

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In diary form with cycles ….

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Finally a summary of all my runs so far this year by types of runs ….

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This weekend I’m doing back to back runs on the whw. Saturday will be Tyndrum to Glencoe (with Katrina) and then Sunday Glencoe to Fort William. I’ll be practising a few things in preparation for the Ring of Fire Race in September.

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