As a runner, you’re going to need to eat healthy in order for your body to have the extra endurance needed for this intense training. Did you know that you’ll be burning an extra 100 calories for each mile that’s run? Also, you’re going to need some extra protein to give your muscles the energy they need, as you push yourself to reach whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
I’ve summarized a few tips from Scott Gray, a fitness enthusiast and freelance writer:
- Carbohydrates – Stick with Complex Carbs which provide slow and steady fuel.
Whole Grains, Whole breads and Unrefined Pastas will give you the endurance you need both during your run as well as after. Which is why you’ll hear runners frequently mention that they’re “carb-loading”.
- Protein – Protein is essential for tendon and muscle repair. Choose high quality, lean proteins, such as: chicken, tofu, eggs, nuts and fish.
- Fats – Now don’t go cray-cray. Candy bars and gallons of ice cream don’t count. Stick with monounsaturated fats. Olive oil, flax seed oil and canola oil, as well as avacodos are the best choices for healthy fats.
- Balanced Meals – Good balanced meals should consist of 20 percent fats, 60 percent complex carbohydrates and 20 percent protein. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Rule of thumb: the more colorful the veggies, the more nutrients it has.
- Water – People. This is “muy importante”. Drinking H20 is essential for all people, but even more so for runners who will sweat more than others. The recommended daily amount is 2 liters or 8 cups per day. Let’s be honest, that’s a lot of water. Be creative in how you get your water intake… add a lemon slice, drink flavored waters (with little to no sugar added) water down some fruit juice and add some ice. Remember, you want to stay hydrated for the safety of your vital organs as well as your muscles. Being well hydrated will positively impact your overall running performance.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Even the best intentioned health expert may not be able to pack all of the needed nutrients into their food on a daily basis. And don’t go the route of the bottled supplements. they’re never a good idea. Check with your doctor to see if a supplement is right for you.
- Other items: – Snacks: Be sure to monitor your energy level. If you’re feeling sluggish after a run, nutritional snacks are a great way to help you re-energize. Fresh fruits, vegetables, smoothies, nuts, yogurts, and protein or health-food bars can assist in gaining your energy back. Pre-training Nutrition: At least one to two hours before your run, drink one to two cups of water plus 25-50 grams of carbs. Consider a banana, bagel, wholegrain toast or an energy bar.
By eating smaller meals with a few healthy snacks throughout the day, Scott Gray says that this will ensure that your blood levels stay steady and that your metabolism runs high, which will in turn assist in your body’s fitness level improving. Your success as a runner walks (or rather runs) hand in hand with not only your fitness level, but also what you feed your body.