Big on Post-Race Splurge Food? You’re in Good Company

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Elite runners' post race splurge food. Big on Post-Race Splurge Food? You’re in Good Company

Do you love splurging on post-race pizza? And do visions of doughnuts get you through the toughest of tough track workouts? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Some of the greatest names in running are well-known for their indulgent post-race celebration meals.

So if you’ve ever wondered if you’re in good company while chomping down on something, um, less than nutritious after a big race effort, relax. Here are some running greats who also celebrate in style:

Usain Bolt

If there’s one thing that sprinting legend, Usain Bolt, is best known for outside of his running career, it’s probably his love for fried chicken. And while, in more recent times, he often turned down junk food in favor of more nourishing options, a more youthful Bolt wasn’t afraid to indulge.

When asked about his favorite post-race celebration meals by HuffPost, Bolt’s answer was short and to the point: “As long as it’s fast food, I’m fine.” But, contrary to popular belief, Bolt says that it’s a question of logistics rather than a particular personal preference. “I think that’s the only time I get [it], because most of the time it’s always late [when we finish] so we always stop at a fast food place,” he explains.

Desiree Linden

Two-time Olympian and winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon women’s race, Desiree Linden, has a simple, yet refreshing attitude about fueling for performance. “Pre-race is food for function. Post-race is food for fun,” she says.

And while Linden describes her own pre-race fueling strategy as boring and bland, her post-race celebration meals are quite the opposite. “I like a massive burger and beers. Just keep them both coming,” she smiles.

Bart Yasso

According to the now retired Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine, Bart Yasso, a vegetarian diet has, in a big way, contributed to his lifetime of steady running performances and a higher quality of living. But he is also quick to add that balance is key. “Balance tends to be critical in all things, including what we eat”, he says.

And while he hasn’t eaten meat in “a very long time”, there is one thing that prevents Yasso from becoming a full vegan: Pizza. “I practice veganism about 90% of the time. I sometimes think that my recovery food of choice, pizza, is what prevents me from becoming full vegan!” he quips.

Shalane Flanagan

American long-distance runner and record holder, Shalane Flanagan, and chef Elyse Kopecky, recently brought out a cookbook for runners, called Run Fast Eat Slow. And while this New York Times bestseller focuses on presenting wholesome, nourishing foods in a flavor-forward way, Flanagan is just as human as the rest of us when it comes to post-run celebrations. Just like Linden, Flanagan has a soft spot for post-race burgers and beers, although she mostly limits herself to one of each.

Meb Keflezighi

After his emotional victory at the 2014 Boston Marathon, Olympic silver medalist, Meb Keflezighi, celebrated with extra helpings of sweet treats. “I’ve been eating a lot of sweets,” Keflezighi admitted about a week after the event. “I indulge myself with dessert and I have a very, very sweet tooth,” he added.

But he also knows where to draw the line. While he continued with his well-deserved sweet binge for another week after his Boston victory, Keflezighi pulled in the reins and went back to his very strict training diet right after that.

Mo Farah

And while Keflezighi celebrated for two whole weeks after his Boston victory, Olympic gold medalist, Mo Farah, only allowed himself a single splurge meal after winning Olympic gold. In an interview with BBC Goodfood, Farah said that he had his first burger in a year after his Olympic victory. “It really felt like a prize in itself but I only allowed myself one because it was back to the regular diet very quickly”, Farah stated. “The season wasn’t over, you see, and I couldn’t afford to go off the rails with other races coming up”, he further explained.

Balance is key

So while it’s somehow comforting to know that even the best of the best don’t live on broccoli florets alone, it’s important to keep in mind that the opposite is also true. These running greats treat their splurge meals as exactly that: The occasional splurge.

So if you’ve been waiting for the green light to go ahead and live a life fueled by junk, this is sadly not it. The key, as we’re sure you must have guessed by now, lies in living a life of balance. Nourish and fuel your body as best you can for most of the time, and treat the soul to a mind-blowingly good splurge meal once in a while. We’re sure you’ll find, in the long run, that both your body and soul will thank you.


  1. Bart Yasso, Living a life on the run, Runner's World UK, Hard copy magazine
  2. Carly Ledbetter, Usain Bolt Confirms That Unbelievable Rumor About Chicken McNuggets, Online publication
  3. Claire Thomas, Rocket fuel: what is Usain Bolt's diet?, Online publication
  4. Chris Chavez, Behind the Body: How marathoner Desi Linden trains for 26.2 miles, Online publication
  5. SELF Staff, Olympian Marathoner Shalene Flanagan's Favorite Post-Race Treat, Online publication
  6. Caitlin Chok, What Fuels Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi?, Online publication
  7. Roxanne Fisher, Eat like an athlete - Mo Farah, Online publication