It can be baffling to know what to eat whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting out. It sure depends on the duration, frequency and intensity of one’s activity, however, when you are equipped with right information, that’s when the performance goes up to the next level.
Here are some nutrition tips that you can benefit from better recovery and improve your athletic performance:
- Pre Training Fuel– An ideal pre-run snack would combine complex carbohydrates with low fat and moderate-high-protein foods. Fuelling your body pre-run with complex carbohydrates can assist in efficiently manufacturing and burning energy known as adenosine triphosphate, short for ATP, which is what powers your run. Complex carbohydrates are generally higher in fibre and lower in simple sugars, providing longer-burning energy.
- Pre Training Supplement – Pre-workout supplement is ideal for an enjoyable and extended training session. Athletes who choose caffeine to boost their performance should do so an hour before the training session. Make sure you are adequately hydrated to mitigate the risk of feeling de-hydrated during the training sessions or even final runs.
- Meal Post Training – One of the most important advice/tip for runners is to ensure the right food is consumed post training. This meal is not only crucial to refuel the body but also to help recover for next workout. So, refuel with both protein and complex carbohydrates and replenish your electrolytes with additional foods and fluids.
- Food on Days Off – It’s better to reduce your carbs intake and eat more of balanced menu of healthy foods. In short, don’t go crazy on food you love because your body will not be firing through your glycogen stores as you do on training days.
For endurance runners/athletes, it is important to know their best sources of protein, carbs and fats.
Carbs should be low GI such as oats, whole grains pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice or basmati rice, green vegetables and fruits. Fruits are high in fructose (natural sugars) so better be consumed during the day and along with post workout meal. High quality protein sources are whey protein shakes; fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel and herring; chicken, lean turkey and lean beef. If you are a vegan then tofu, low fat cottage cheese, casein shake, legumes and beans.
Fats are important for better heart health, joints, better cholesterol levels etc. but choosing right sources of good fats is the key to success. Good fats can be obtained from fish, flex seeds, chia seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, egg yolks and avocado to name a few. During endurance one needs smart choice of food and drinks to restore and maintain electrolyte balance. Post-endurance fuel should include recovery shakes, made with whey protein, hemp seeds, oats, and added electrolytes. As much as it is important to train hard it is equally important to nourish our bodies with the right form of nutrients and proper hydration for recovery.
I hope this blog takes your daily runs, athletic performance or preparation for your marathons to the next level, even if you are just a beginner.
Enjoy your training and stay well!
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