Trying to get on track with your training plan? Then it’s a good idea to think about what’s on your plate too. Why not try some of the recipes in Anita Bean’s new book, The Runner’s Cookbook?

Whether you’re training for this year’s London Marathon (and beginning to panic), or just trying to get the new year off to a good start by going for the odd jog, you’re probably asking yourself the same question: “What can I eat before a run that isn’t spaghetti bolognese?”

As well as Lycra, smugness and hi-vis fitness jackets, bowls of pasta are synonymous with running culture - but there are alternative running-fuel ingredients, and sports nutritionist and former bodybuilding champion, Anita Bean, is committed to proving that.

The health writer has put together 100 recipes specifically geared towards the needs of runners - regardless of speed and ability - in her latest collection, The Runner’s Cookbook.

“A lot of athletes and runners come to me with the same questions because they don’t really know what they ought to be eating - there’s a lot of conflicting information,” she explains. “Do I really need to take gels during a run? What’s the best way to fuel for a 5k or a marathon, or a half a marathon? What should I be eating straight after a run? Those are the kind of questions I really wanted to address.”

Part nutrition guide, part cookbook, the recipes are simple (“You don’t need advanced cooking skills”), come with extensive nutritional information, and are tailored to a typical runner’s lifestyle - meaning they’re generally quick to whip up, and will keep you going and going and going.

Mexican bean burgers with avocado and salsa (makes 4)

Want something hearty and filling that won’t scupper your training regime?

“These protein-packed burgers are really easy to make and are a super tasty way of adding plant protein to your diet,” says nutritionist and former athlete, Anita Bean. “Red kidney beans are a brilliant source of prebiotic fibre that helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. You can substitute chickpeas, borlotti beans or black beans if you prefer.” Give them a go...

1tbsp light olive or rapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing 1 onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 200g cooked vegetables (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash) 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained A pinch dried chilli flakes 1/2tsp paprika 50g day-old wholemeal bread 1/2tsp ground cumin Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season 4tbsp oats or sesame seeds Wholemeal baps For the salsa: 1 large tomato, skinned deseeded and diced 1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped 1/2tsp finely chopped fresh chilli (or to taste) 1 small clove of garlic, crushed 1tsp olive oil 1/4 red onion, finely chopped 1tbsp lemon or lime juice To serve: Rocket and a large avocado, sliced l Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for three minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a further minute.

  • Place the onion mixture, vegetables, beans, chilli flakes, paprika, bread and cumin in a food processor and blitz until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Alternatively, place in a large mixing bowl and mash together with a potato masher or fork until well combined.
  • Shape the mixture into four large patties. Put the oats or seeds on a plate and coat the burgers.
  • Place the burgers on an oiled baking tray then brush with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until they are lightly browned and crisp on the outside.

In a separate bowl, make the salsa by combining all the ingredients together.

  • Place burgers in toasted wholemeal baps with rocket, slices of avocado and tomato salsa.

Cocoa and almond energy balls

(makes 16)

Knowing what to snack on when you’re training can be tricky. These tasty balls tick all the right boxes... “These compact little snacks are perfect for fuelling during long runs over 60 minutes. Wrap in cling film or foil, pop in your pocket or belt, consume one after about 30-40 minutes into your run, and then every 15-20 minutes,” says Anita Bean.

125g ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates (or use standard dried dates soaked in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, then drain) 100g ground almonds 75g rolled oats 2tsp almond or peanut butter 1tbsp cocoa powder To coat: Cocoa powder, sesame seeds, finely chopped pistachios, finely chopped mixed nuts, desiccated coconut, or chocolate chips Place the dates in a food processor with the almonds, oats, nut butter and cocoa powder, and process for two to three minutes until you have a very stiff paste. You may need to scrape down the mixture from the sides of the bowl a few times.

Take a small amount of mixture and roll it between your hands to make small, bite-sized balls. Choose your coating, spread it onto a large plate, then roll each ball around until nicely coated.

Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

Turkey pilaf

(serves 4)

What to eat after a long run? If you’re after something wholesome and hearty, you’ve come to the right place.

“This simple one-pot dish, made from turkey, rice and vegetables and served with yoghurt, really ticks off all the food groups. It provides an ideal mix of protein and carbs along with antioxidant-rich vegetables - just what you need for rapid post-run recovery,” says food writer and fitness expert, Anita Bean. “You can substitute chicken breast or thigh fillets for the turkey, and frozen broad beans or green beans for the broccoli.”

2tbsp light olive or rapeseed oil 1 onion, chopped 1 leek, washed and sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 400g turkey breast steaks, cut into 1cm strips 2tbsp medium curry paste 200g brown basmati rice 500ml chicken stock (or 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 500ml boiling water) 1 head broccoli, broken into florets 100g frozen peas A handful of fresh parsley, chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

To serve: Plain Greek yoghurt

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the onion and leek and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and turkey and continue cooking for a further two to three minutes.

Stir in the curry paste, rice and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.

Stir in the broccoli, continue to cook for five minutes, then add the peas and continue cooking for a further five minutes, adding a little more stock or water if necessary.

Stir in the parsley, season to taste and serve topped with a spoonful of plain Greek yoghurt.