Nineteen Nutrition Questions With LYDIA O'DONNELL

Lydia has been coaching runners for over six years. With a long history in athletic

competition, in distances from 1500m to the marathon, Lydia has a drive for inspiring and educating others to be the best athletes they can be. Lydia has personally worked with over 1,000 athletes from around the world and of varying ability. The connection between mental health and running is where Lydia is most passionate and determined to share the importance of exercising for the mind. Lydia is constantly evolving her training methods and believes that the key to progressing as an athlete is to enjoy your training and put your passion for the sport first.


1. Your go-to pre-race meal?

Extremely boring, but I would always have the same thing. Two pieces of toast with jam, and half a banana. And a coffee of course!!


2. Favourite recovery food?

This totally depends on what time of the day it is – if it is morning I will always have eggs on toast. Current fav breaky is hard boiled eggs, on avo, marmite, toast and topped with a pile of salt. If it is post an evening race I love pizza.


3. A food or fluid you can’t be without during a race?

During a marathon I think I would pick water over anything!!! I always use gels but if I had to choose it would be water.


4. The best piece of nutrition advice you have been given?

Eat like an athlete. Understanding that we need to eat to fuel our exercise, not exercise to fuel our hunger.


5. Foods you cannot stand?

I actually hate bananas. I eat them every now and then, and definitely before a race, but I can’t stand the taste of them. I also dislike peanut butter…controversial I know.


6. Three foods you could not live without?

Easy. Pasta, bread, cake.


7. Favourite local café?

Ohh Melbourne has so many!!! Probably Terror Twilight in Collingwood.


8. Favourite foodie destination (can be worldwide)?

Bali!!! They have the best, healthy cafes in the world. And it is extremely affordable.


9. What’s the first thing you consume in a typical day?

Soy milk coffee. Every day.


10. What is your favourite weekend breakfast?

I have to go with eggs….toast, avo, spinach, halloumi…the goods.


11. What is your go-to lunch?

I am obsessed with Tuna wraps at the moment. Tuna and salad in a wrap with cheese and toasted.


12. What is your ultimate dessert?

Dessert. My fav meal of the day. It is extremely hard to pick one. I do love Tiramisu though.


13. Favourite recipe book?

I don’t think I have ever owned a recipe book… maybe that says something about my cooking haha


14. Sweet or savoury?

51% Sweet. 49% Savoury.


15. Favourite fruit or vegetable?

Fruit: Watermelon. Vegetable: Eggplant


16. Food you used to dislike and now love?

Wine…does that count?


17. A dish that is made frequently in your household is…

Pasta…usually a pesto pasta with spinach, pine nuts, red onion, goats cheese… the best.


18. Cooking – love it or hate it?

Depends on my mood. But most of the time love it!


19. A top tip you would give other fellow runners (doesn’t have to be food related)?

Figure out what works for you. We are all different and the way we work is different. Find out what food makes you run fast, what training makes you fit and strong, what motivates you to get up and go. Be patient working through it but once it clicks you will know.


Education & Professional Groups

Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition

Master of Dietetics

Accredited ISAK level 1

Member of Dietitians NZ

Associate member of Sports Dietitians Australia

© Last updated 2020 by Cushla Holdaway.