What I like so much about Clark's books is how they exude her passion for teaching everyday champions how to use food to help achieve their best. Clark mentions in the preface of the book that many of her clients have their training down but don't really have any idea how to use nutrition to improve their stamina and endurance. Clark provides this missing link. But her books aren't just full of food stats and figures. When you read her books, you really feel that she understands not only the elite runner, but the needs of the everyday runner as well. This is evident through her tips for how to deal with eating healthy in our busy, hectic lives—from making meals, to choosing healthful foods in our fast-food society, to providing dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes.
Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners is divided into four sections:
1. Everyday Eating for Marathoners
2. Balancing Carbs, Protein, Fats, and Fluids
3. Fueling Long Walks and Runs
4. Weight and Marathoners.
Each section covers 4-5 topics related to the section. For example, Section 2 contains "Carbohydrate Confusion" "Protein for Marathoners" "Fats and Your Sports Diet" and "Water and Sports Drinks." Clark has an exceptional knack for taking the most technical jargon and putting it in easy-to-use layman's terms. While Clark lists all the "right" foods to eat she also realizes that many of our cupboards may not contain these items. This is evident in her suggested list of nontraditional breakfast foods:
• left over pizza
• left over Chinese food
• mug of tomato soup
• potato zapped in the microwave while you take your shower
• tuna sandwich
• peanut butter and apple
• protein bar
Clark says "any food—even a cookie (preferably oatmeal raisin, rather than chocolate chip) is better than noting" when talking about the importance of eating breakfast. She also provides a great chart showing the Iron, Fiber, and Fat contents of some popular breakfast cereals (i.e., Cheerios, Wheaties, Fiber One, Cap'n Crunch) so you can mix and match them to meet your specific training needs.
It's providing this type of information that makes her book so helpful and user friendly. She provides similar tips and useful information for lunch and dinner foods such as her "Quick Fixes: Dinner Tips for Hungry Runners" where she suggests what should be in a marathoner's cupboard (cereal, spaghetti, brown rice, etc.), refrigerator (low-fat cheddar, mozzarella and cottage cheese, low-fat milk and yogurt, etc.), and freezer (whole-grain bagels, whole-wheat pita, broccoli, etc.). I find the "Popular Snacks During a Long Run" list she provides very helpful too (dried figs, energy bar, tootsie roll, diluted juice, diluted (defizzed) cola, etc...)
I've read a lot of nutrition-related books and often (when I finish) I put them back in the bookcase never to be cracked open again. Clark's books however are never in the bookcase. They're full of dog-eared pages, coffee stains, and (embarassed to say) peanutbutter and jelly stains from constant use.