There are two types of runners. Those who run to eat, and those who eat to run. Regardless of what type you are, chances are you like to indulge in a slice of pizza every once in a while. Mmm that delicious cheesy carbohydrate-loaded goodness… too bad it’s unhealthy, right? Wrong.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (all it takes is a pizza-loving runner) to look at these facts and conclude that pizza is indeed beneficial to your health.
Let’s start with a couple of facts;
Fact 1: Runners eat more pizza than the average human being.
Fact 2: Runners are healthier than the average human being.
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I have a recipe for home-made pizza that will make you run faster, stronger and longer. Before you get too excited, this doesn’t mean you will get to eat pizza every night – because this recipe contains ingredients that are actually not edible.
A pizza you can’t eat? What kind of cruel joke is this? Let me explain…
To make the perfect home-made pizza, I choose my favourite ingredients and combine them together to create any flavour I want. In my opinion, a lovingly baked home-made pizza will beat a standard BBQ meatlovers from Domino’s any day of the week.
Similarly, as a self-coached runner, I choose my favourite workouts and combine them together to create a training programme that suits my taste. To me, the basic components of a training programme can be likened to the ingredients on a pizza – a philosophy that I have given the very original name of “Runner’s Pizza”.
A runner’s pizza has five key components: the base, the meat, the vegetables, the sauce and the cheese.
The Base – Long run
The base is the most essential part of the pizza, it doesn’t add much flavour but it holds everything else up. Pizzas have a single base – not two and not none – just like the perfect training week. One long run per week is required for building up your fitness base. If you want to build your base further you can make a stuffed crust. This might be when you’re training for marathon and include a medium length run in the middle of the week.
The Meat – Hills
A crucial ingredient of pizza is the meat, although vegetarians probably think otherwise. Protein helps build strength and resilience just like a tough hill workout. There’s a few different ways to incorporate hills into your weekly routine. I often include hill repetitions or a stair workout once a week or incorporate hills into my long run.
The Vegetables – Intervals
There are so many choices of vegetables, and even fruit (think tomato, pineapple and avocado) that are available to be used as pizza toppings. Like vegetables, interval workouts are good for you. It is where you can really get creative and try new combinations. Kilometre repeats, track workouts, fartlek or short sprints are some of my favourites.
The Sauce – Easy run
Sauces enhance the whole taste of the pizza and makes you appreciate the other ingredients more. Some people include more than one or none at all. It’s also up to you how many easy runs you include during your week. An easy run allows your body to actively recover and ensures you have time to enjoy the simple act of running.
The Cheese – Rest Day
What kind of pizza doesn’t have cheese?! This is one of the most important ingredients as it holds everything else together. In this way, a rest day performs the same function as cheese. It also ensures you have time to recover physically and mentally from a full training week. I like to put mine on Fridays so I can go out and enjoy my evening as well as rest up for any weekend races.
So there you have it, a runner’s recipe for the perfect pizza. Try it yourself!