“I’m a runner on Team USA. Here’s what I eat every single day”


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Photo: Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

How exactly do you fuel for a 10-mile trail run, full-body strength training, and another workout in the afternoon? That’s a daily question for 26-year-old Team USA track and field athlete Colleen Quigley, who’s expected to compete at the 2020 Olympics.

Quigley is just as passionate about healthy eating as she is about running. After studying dietetics at Florida State University, she launched her own site to share ways to eat healthy, and publishes a weekly newsletter full of yummy recipes.

Quigley, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, has spent recent weeks in full-on training mode with her teammates at Altitude Camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And it’s paid off—on Saturday, Quigley won her first national title, beating out fellow Team USA track member Shelby Houlihan in the Women’s Mile at the USTAF Indoor Track Championships.

So what exactly does a competitive runner eat to keep up the pace? The track star kept a one week food diary exclusively for Well+Good—complete with photos and a run-down (ha!) of her training schedule. And spoiler alert: It all sounds pretty delicious.

Obviously, Quigley’s routine likely looks a bit different from her fellow Team USA runners’…and because she’s running so much more in a day than your average runner, her diet and routine is definitely different from what most of us could or should do. But if you’ve ever been curious to get a look inside a pro runner’s day-to-day sched, consider this your sneak peek.

Scroll down to see what track and field athlete and Olympic hopeful Colleen Quigley ate for a week.

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Photos: Unsplash/Kiara Avsenik; Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Sunday

Schedule: 10 miles of trail running for a morning workout; 30 minutes swimming for afternoon workout.

Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal. “I topped it off with nuts, seeds, a banana, and almond butter.”

Lunch: Egg scramble with onion, carrot, sweet potato, red cabbage, basil, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes. “I had this with a slice of avocado toast and kombucha.”

Dinner: Pasta with chicken. “Tonight I made my very favorite pasta dish, yogurt fettuccini. The sauce is made with yogurt, grated Parmesan, egg, and salt—so easy and delish! I had it with grilled chicken thighs, grilled sweet peppers, and kale salad with a lemon-miso dressing.”

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Photos: Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Monday

Schedule: 9 miles of trail running followed by one hour of lifting in the gym; 4-mile afternoon run, followed by some easy stretching.

Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal. “I had my coffee and oatmeal—again topped with nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and banana—before my morning run. I had a protein bar when I finished running and before hitting the gym.”

Lunch: Coconut curry soup. “For lunch, I had soup, with sweet potato, chicken, and rice. Then I took a 30 minute nap and answered some emails.” (Sounds like an ideal post-lunch activity, TBH.)

Dinner: Thai quinoa salad. “I got this recipe from the Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow cookbook, which my teammate Shalane Flanagan wrote. I added chicken on top for extra protein.”

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Photos: Colleen Quigley

Tuesday

Schedule: 9-mile morning run, followed by 12 strides (controlled 100 to 200 meter sprints) at the track and a 1-mile cool-down; 1 hour of full-body strength training at the gym.

Breakfast: Smoothie bowl. “I switched things up today and had a smoothie bowl topped with chia seeds, banana, and homemade granola.”

Lunch: Avocado toast. “After my morning workout, I had avocado toast on whole wheat bread with two eggs and Parmesan cheese melted on top. Then, I went and got a sports massage—which is definitely not the relaxing type!”

Snack: Trail mix.

Dinner: Steak. “For dinner, I had filet mignon on the grill, topped with goat cheese. On the side, I had a kale, butternut squash, blackberry, walnut, and pumpkin seed salad, with grilled asparagus and pita bread.”

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Photos: Unsplash/Deryn Macey; Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Wednesday

Schedule: 17-mile run on the trails (completed in 1 hour and 52 minutes); afternoon treatment of dry needling on IT bands, glutes, and back.

Breakfast: Coffee and overnight oats. “I soaked my oats, nuts, and seeds in almond milk overnight so I could wake up and just pull it out of the fridge.”

Lunch: Coffee, whole-wheat pancakes, eggs, and avocado. “After my long run, I had a victory feast of pancakes topped with yogurt, blackberries, and homemade granola. I had two eggs and half an avocado on the side—and more coffee, too.”

Dinner: Homemade pizza. “After lunch, I had a nice long soak in an Epsom salt bath to help my tired muscles recover. Then, I got dressed and met up with my teammates. We taped this week’s episode of The Bachelor and made homemade pizzas and watched it together. I don’t watch it at home, but during training, it’s our weekly tradition. My pizza was made with pesto, onion, bell peppers, chicken and goat cheese—so good!”

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Photos: Stocksy/Jill Chen; Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Thursday

Schedule: 9-mile morning run on the trails, followed by 8 strides (controlled 100 to 200 meter sprints) at the track; 1 hour of strength training at the gym; 4-mile afternoon run, followed by some easy stretching.

Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal. “Ah, my tried and true oatmeal, with all my favorite toppings: nuts, seeds, a banana, and almond butter.”

Lunch: Avocado toast and egg scramble. “I made my egg scramble with onion, carrot, celery, purple cabbage, radishes, mozzarella cheese, and cilantro.”

Snack: Smoothie.

Dinner: Leftover pizza. “Still so good the second night.”

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Photos: Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Friday

Schedule: 10-mile run on the trails at a slower, recovery pace followed by stretching and foam rolling; 30-minute swimming workout in the afternoon.

Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal. “Today, I topped my oatmeal off with nuts, seeds, chia, and a few chocolate chips. I also added a sprinkle of my homemade granola.

Lunch: Avocado toast and eggs. “I made my avocado toast with whole wheat bread and added fried eggs on top.”

Afternoon snack: Carrots and hummus.

Dinner: Chicken and veggie stir fry. “I made with with onion, carrots, celery, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, kale, chicken, brown rice, avocado, and soy sauce—it was loaded with veggies.”

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Photos: Colleen Quigley; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Saturday

Schedule: Hard workout on the track, including a 3.5-mile warmup, stretching, and drills of 8 miles with 2 minutes of recovery between each mile—at an altitude of 6,000 feet.

Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal. “Yep, this again.”

Lunch: Pancakes and omelette: “A big post-workout recovery brunch! I had my pancakes with strawberry compote and syrup, and  the omelette was made with onion, sausage, and bell peppers. To drink, I had a juice made with beets, apples, and ginger.”

Dinner: Beef tacos. “Besides beef, I added grilled veggies, pineapple salsa, cilantro, and guac to my tacos, and ate them with a side of grilled broccoli and kale and farro salad.”

If you want to see what more people eat, check out a CrossFitter’s food diary and a SoulCycle instructor’s food diary.

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