Running Nutrition Matters – Eat Right to Run Better!
Optimal running nutrition is essential for runners to perform at their best. Runners need energy to meet the demands that running puts on their bodies. Carbohydrates provide this energy as our bodies’ main fuel source. It is stored in the body as glycogen. Glycogen reserves become depleted during a run if the runner is not consuming a diet high in carbohydrates, especially on runs that last for more than an hour. Runners should choose from complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and pasta. Refer to this food chart for an indication of the carbohydrate content in most common foods.
Runners can easily become dehydrated as so much fluid is lost through sweating. When dehydrated, muscles will become sore and you will feel tired. It will become difficult to run and cramping often occurs as well. Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Hydrating fluids include all decaffeinated and non-alcoholic drinks. On the day before a long run, you will need to drink more than the recommended 8 cups a day. Drink about 1 cup every hour throughout the day and drink water regularly during a long run. If you will be running for more than an hour, drink coconut water for hydration or sports drinks to keep your energy levels high.
Protein is important for good running nutrition. Runners need protein to slow digestion, build strength, and repair muscle tissue after exercising. Try to include protein in every meal. Some good sources of protein are: red meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese and eggs.
As unpleasant as it sounds, we all need fat in our diet and runners are no different. It slows digestion and it provides needed energy and fat-soluble vitamins. However, we can reduce the fat in our diet by choosing leaner meat, chicken and fish and by choosing low-fat dairy products more often. Learn more about how our bodies burn fat. If you are considering taking supplements, check out why green food supplements are a wise choice. Are you a vegan or considering becoming vegan? It is possible to be a Vegan Athlete and continue to run long distances.
Runners tend to eat the same foods before, after and during a run as part of their running nutrition ritual. There is a reason for this. They have tested the food or snack and it works for them! Some of the most popular foods among runners are: pasta – especially the night before a race or run pretzels – great low-fat snack the night before a run to provide sodium that may be lost during the run Homemade Hummus – a healthy source of protein and fiber oatmeal – to provide long lasting energy bagels – great as a pre-run food for energy or post-run for recovery peanut butter – a cheap, filling source of protein and fiber bananas – easy to digest and very filling oranges – great during and after a run to quench thirst and enhance recovery pizza – quick and delicious recovery snack coconut water for hydration and recovery