Desiree Linden is currently running 125 miles a week — and she needs a lot of fuel to stay energised.
Here’s a look at her pre-Rio diet.
Linden’s average day starts with (what else?) caffeine.
“I’ll get up and have espresso and some toast with peanut butter, half a PowerBar or something,” she said. “Just to prime the system and have something so [I’m] not running on an empty stomach.”
After her first training run of the day, she eats a heartier breakfast.
“I’m a big fan of eggs — I’ll go through so many eggs in this house in a week. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, whatever it is. Toast, orange juice. Yogurt’s really good to get your protein.”
On a recent morning, she had a bagel topped with a fried egg and chilli flakes. “Not my healthiest meal but filling and delicious after a big mileage session,” she said.
“Throughout the day I’m kind of a grazer and I’ll just have snacks,” she said. “Fruit, trail mix, nuts, things like that.” Fresh cherries are a current favourite: “It’s a Michigan staple,” she said.
At lunch, Linden keeps it simple with a sandwich — sometimes turkey and avocado on whole wheat, sometimes just a classic peanut butter and jelly. “[After] lunch, I’ll have a second run, so I don’t want to have too heavy of a meal,” she said. “Those [factors] always go into the decision.”
Once training’s done for the day, it’s time for dinner. Linden and her husband try to switch up the menu every night. “We just like a lot of rotation for dinner,” she said. “If it’s beef one day we’ll have fish the next day, then chicken the day after that. Same thing with the vegetables and starches. If we have peas one day we’ll do something different the next.”
One of their recent dinners: A bowl full of squid ink pasta, summer vegetables, and shrimp.
She also leaves room for indulgences. Last week, on her birthday, she celebrated with two sweet desserts: A sugar cookie and a strawberry-rhubarb pie.
When it comes to race day, however, Linden’s diet becomes considerably less exciting. “For the marathon, it’s food for function, not for fun,” she said.
On the night before the race — and the morning of — she sticks with simple carbs like white rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes.
“The plate its really boring and bland,” she said. “A lot of white rice so you can get carbs, but it’s easy to digest and really simple. The rule is don’t get creative with anything new before the race.”
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