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  • Jen Vickery

How Should Runners Eat Each Week

If you saw my last blog, I talked about the gut health struggles of runners and some basic solutions, including the 4 Week Gut Protocol program. Today, I’m going to share another tip that’s part of the solution - eating at least 30 different plants each week.


Running & Gut Health

Experts agree that the right balance of gut flora can improve running performance. Gut specialists also agree that fixing the gut microbiome is the best approach to fixing all aspects of runner’s gi distress - whether it’s cramping during/after the run or spending hours in the porta-potty line before race!


Your microbiome is responsible for:

  • Digesting your food

  • Providing vital nutrients and enzymes

  • Involved in metabolism

  • Alters the way you store fat

  • Balances your blood glucose levels

  • Release hormones that signal hunger and satiety

  • Protects you against pathogens

  • Controls hormones

  • Trains your immune system


Now that you know how important your gut is, let’s talk about one of the main ways to help - increasing the variety of plants you’re eating!


Learn why eating at least 30 different plants each week can improve gut health as a runner.

Why should runners eat 30 different plants each week?

Studies have shown that people who consume at least 30 different plant-based foods each week have more varied gut bacteria, which means an overall healthier gut microbiome as a result.

Further, Researchers at the American Gut Project found that people who ate more than 30 different plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome compared with those who ate 10 or fewer.

The research also showed that people who hit the 30 mark had more bacteria (the stuff that makes up the microbiome) that produce something called short chain fatty acids. Don’t let the word fatty scare you - these short chain fatty acids have been shown to reduce your risk of bowel cancer.

How to eat 30 different plants a week?

It’s easier than you think! Plants are more than just fruits and vegetables, although it does include those too! It also includes legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.


  1. Plan ahead! This seems obvious with the rise of meal planning, but actually thinking about the number of plants and including them for your weekly grocery shopping and meals makes it easier.

  2. Smaller amounts, more variety. When you grocery shop and you’re thinking about variety, aim for less quantity and more variety. If you’re having apples and peanut butter for a snack one day, maybe just have that one or two days a week and then have almonds and strawberries another few days and carrots with hummus another, then you’re at 6 (or more depending on the hummus!) different plants just with one snack for the week.

  3. Take it one week at a time. Start by totalling what your variety is now. Once you have that number, aim to increase it by 2 or 3 different plants each week.

Want support to fix your gut health?

Join my 4-week Gut Health Group - just fill out this form here and I’ll get you all the details!

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