How Kimber Mattox (a pro obstacle course racer) Fuels Her Running

The following is a post about professional obstacle course racer, Kimber Mattox is from USATF certified coach, Jason Fitzgerald's blog Strengthrunning.com.

Kimber Mattox Fueling

Kimber Mattox is one of the most versatile female distance runners on the planet. Her accomplishments are so far reaching and wide that I’m confident she’d be successful at any race distance. A former All-American at the University of Oregon, she’s already…

  • Won the 2014 Warrior Dash World Championships (and placed second in 2015)
  • Scored a victory at the 2014 Xterra Trail Run World Championships – winning by 3 minutes
  • Posted a 9:51 personal best in the 3,000m steeplechase (this is like running a 10:35 2-mile – with obstacles and water jumps)

She’s not just a professional runner – she coaches cross country and track and teaches Human Physiology courses at the University of Oregon as she trains with Team Run Eugene.

Her classes include anatomy, human physiology, exercise physiology and athletic performance. The nerd in me is geeking out about this stuff! So cool.

I recently connected with Kimber and asked about her diet – how does she fuel her workouts, strength training sessions, and overall high workload?

Learning from the world’s best is something I love to do. They’re the best for a reason and we can all learn from her example (like we did a few months ago with Ariana Hilborn’s diet)

And what I love about her approach to nutrition and diet is that she keeps it simple:

  • There’s no calorie counting, “scoring” or macronutrient calculations (who has time for that?!)
  • She focuses on whole, real food (but takes liberties because of her high workload)
  • She eats like a runner with a focus on high-quality carbohydrate

You can also see her focus on nutrition by the companies she’s chosen to be affiliated with. Her sponsors are:

As we’ll soon see in Kimber’s food log, there’s no meat for these two days. She told me that she’s mostly vegetarian and will occasionally eat fish. But when she’s traveling or it’s inconvenient, she’ll eat chicken or turkey.

Kimber’s found what works for her (likely through plenty of trial and error) and she’s also flexible – two traits that I admire.

I encourage everyone when it comes to nutrition to experiment, focus on the fundamentals like we mentioned before, and above all be flexible.

If diet and nutrition spikes your interest, join our free nutrition e-course.

You’ll get recipes, audio seminars with Anne Mauney MPH, RD and helpful lessons on crafting your own ideal diet for running.

Alright, let’s take a look at Kimber’s diet!

Kimber’s Diet on a Workout Day

Below you’ll see how Kimber eats on a day that she runs a hard workout. Kimber told me:

These were both what I would consider pretty good nutrition days, but of course some days my nutrition is not as good as others.

Overall, I try to focus on real, whole foods as much as possible, but with work and travel I often rely on packaged products to fill in the gaps.

Luckily, I’ve found some really great nutrition products that can give me healthy nutrition on the go.

For this week my mileage was around 90 and it was in preparation for both the Warrior Dash (3.5 mile obstacle race) and a trail half marathon the following weekend.

I’m often times training for a variety of race distances and types this time of year, so my training is varied.

Let’s look at what Kimber ate on a day she ran a hard workout:

Pre-run (6am): Small apple, ¾ cup Greek yogurt with BeetBoost mixed in, Runa Tea Clean Energy Drink, 6-8oz water

Workout: 3 mile warm-up, 3x2mile tempo + strides, 3 mile cool-down

Post-Run: Oatmega Bar, banana, 12oz water with Enduropacks electrolytes, vitamins (Enduropacks multivitamin, calcium, vitamin D, Proferrin)

Lunch: Roasted veggies (broccoli, cabbage, acorn squash), tempeh, ¼ avocado, a grapefruit, raw carrots, a couple handfuls Pop chips, 8-12 oz water

Snack: small scoop of pumpkin seeds, Oatmega Bar, 8-12oz homemade kombucha

Second run: 5 miles easy

Dinner: Stir fry veggies (broccoli, carrots, snap peas), ¾ cup low fat cottage cheese, 1 tsp flax seeds, ¾ cup snap peas, bowl of puffed corn cereal, 12 oz water

Snack before bed: 1 cup frozen yogurt, Enduropacks glutamine supplement

Throughout the day I sip on water infused with Enduropacks electrolytes.

Now let’s look at how Kimber eats on a very different type of day.

Kimber’s Diet on an Easy Day with Strength Training

Here you’ll see that Kimber still runs twice per day (with slightly less overall mileage) but includes a challenging strength training session in the gym.

Pre-run: Oatmega Bar, 8oz Runa Guayusa Guava Tea, 8oz water

Run: 9 miles easy

Post-run: Banana, 8 oz water with Enduropacks electrolytes

Strength training: Strength training session

Post strength training: Oatmega Bar, grapefruit, 8 oz water with Enduropacks electrolytes

Lunch: Roasted veggies (zucchini, cabbage), tempeh, ¼ avocado, apple, raw carrots, 8-12 oz homemade kombucha

Snack: whey protein shake with 12oz water, apple

Second Run: 5 miles easy

Dinner: Spaghetti squash, roasted zucchini, salmon, ½ mango, 1 ½ cups Wonderfully Raw Cheezy Herb Truffle Snip Chips, 12 oz water

Snack before bed: ¾ cup Greek yogurt

Throughout the day I sip on water infused with Enduropacks electrolytes.

What can we learn from the diet of a profession runner?

If you’re like me, then you LOVE this stuff. Studying the workouts, diets, and training strategies of the world’s best can help us plan more effectively for ourselves.

Of course, we wouldn’t want to simply copy Kimber’s diet. She’s found what works for her and not all of us want to eat mostly vegetarian.

But this case study provides quite a few valuable lessons for all of us – no matter our diet preferences.

What do you notice? What foods does she include (and what foods are noticeably absent)?

Are you surprised by anything she eats? 

How could you adapt this diet to fit your needs?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

And also… thanks Kimber!! Me and of course the entire Strength Running team appreciate you sharing this diet information with us.

Best of luck with your upcoming races and training. We’ll be cheering for you!

If you want to keep up with Kimber’s racing, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

And if you struggle with nutrition, this will help!