Five Simple Ways to Tackle Your Off-Season Nutrition

Off-season nutrition can be a tough nut to crack—but it doesn’t have to be! Let our nutritionist Becca Blumberg walk you through it step by step.

Written by Becca Blumberg, edited by Pavlína Marek

The off-season is here and many athletes wonder how their day-to-day eating habits should change. There are many ways in which things may shift as you cut down the mileage. Athletes often find eating to become a chore during heavy training; now is the time to find joy in food again. Try some of the suggestions below to enliven that appetite!

1. Focus on quality

top 5 veggies for runners
One of the most important parts of a good off-season nutrition plan is keeping the good stuff in. Continue to eat plenty of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. This will give your body what it needs to recover and repair after all the hard work you put in over the past training season. Aim to include more plants in your diet. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that will aid with the repairs and are healthy for the heart and the brain.

2. Tune into your hunger & fullness

During the season, you may have been ravenously hungry at times or forced yourself to eat, knowing you needed to fuel up for a workout. Now, it’s time to tune back in and focus on what your body is telling you. Aim to eat when you are pleasantly hungry, and go PAST neutral to pleasantly full when you stop. As a bonus, this will help you to be better tuned into your body’s needs during key workouts and races in your next training cycle.

3. Enjoy your favorites (or try something new)

You may have avoided a favorite food or two while training because you knew your body doesn’t like it quite as much as you do. You may have stuck with tried and true standards, avoiding anything new. Now’s the time to enjoy a bit more variety without having to stress about how your stomach will cooperate during tomorrow’s run. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new race-day favorite!

4. Hydrate

It’s easy to forget this important step when you’re not outside, working hard in the summer heat. However, hydration is important year-round. Keep sipping on water and other calorie-free beverages all day long. Try hot herbal tea for a warmup on a cold winter day.

5. Normalize weight gain

pre-run nutrition - tofu scramble
Most of us gain a little weight during the off-season as our activity tapers off. This is totally normal and acceptable. If you continue to eat a high-quality diet and listen to your body’s clues for hunger and fullness, it will come right back to down as you start racking up the miles again in the spring. Your body deserves a break and this is just a sign that it is getting what it needs to rebuild.

The off-season is a great time to reconnect with food by trying old favorites as well as new things and backing off the pressure to eat to perform. Hopefully, this helps to keep you going until your next training block. If you have any questions or would like to connect, feel free to reach out to Becca at with any questions.

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